Having now definitively made the decision to leave New Zealand, I feel I need to take one more Pacific Island trip before I go. Who knows when I’ll be back on this side of the world again?
Vanuatu has always piqued my interest, I’m not really sure why. I think just because it’s such an enigma; it seems so untouched and rich in culture. I signed up for a bunch of different flight deal websites that send you emails when there’s unusually low fares on sale. Don’t do it unless you know you’re ready to go somewhere because it’s highly addictive and you WILL book a flight…. I’ve been tempted for months. So when one popped up for Vanuatu, $420 return, I had to do it.
Being a temp has its pros and cons, but one of the major pros is be able to take time off basically whenever you want because you’re paid hourly. I figure I can swing a week off work without going broke. Unfortunately, my partner Chesney has a real job and is on a salary, and has maxed out his annual leave. Probably doesn’t help that we’ve both announced that we’ll be quitting our jobs at the end of July…. so this will be a solo adventure.
Ches drives me to the airport to catch my 9:45pm flight, which will get me to Vanuatu at 12:15am their time (just 1 hour behind Auckland). As it’s a red eye I am fully expecting to board, nap, and arrive feeling relatively comfortable. Instead, a group of about 40 men who seem to be on a big holiday visiting home (carrying a bunch of electronics and children’s toys) are rowdy and loud for literally the whole trip. People keep changing seats and 3 different dudes sit next to me over the duration of the flight – I have no idea why.
Dinner is served, featuring what I would consider a plastic yoghurt cup of water.
Also, the customs card has a strange question on it.
I have my fancy noise cancelling headphones, which are life changing by the way, but even they can’t drown out the boisterous laughter and excited shouting from the group, which does not settle.
You think people who clap when the airplane lands are bad? There’s full on screaming.
Tired and ready to get to my destination, I drag myself through customs and try to find a bus or taxi. I always allow myself the luxury of a taxi whenever I arrive somewhere new because I find it’s unnecessarily stressful to figure out a bus route or navigate a metro system upon arrival. Worth the 20 bucks or whatever it costs.
I find one taxi, but the driver is sleeping. Someone tries to wake him for me but he’s out like a light. I probably don’t want him to drive me anywhere in the dark if he’s this sleepy anyway. I see a backpacker couple who are staying near where I’m staying, and arrange to split a taxi with them into town.
I get to my hostel by 1am and pass out. The price of getting cheap flights is often inconvenient travel times – but I’m certain it’ll be worth it.