13 Feb 2016
Today we find ourselves way far down in the South Pacific in New Caledonia. Touring was easy and fun today on a guided open-air railroad (that uses the street.)
We saw the world’s largest lagoon, learned about the world’s second largest barrier reef and third largest nickel producing county.
New Caledonia still has many ties to the past. It is a French Colony currently debating whether to opt for independence.
11 Feb 2016
In a survey made in 2006, Vanuatu was found to be the country with the happiest people on earth. Maybe it’s because they were hard-core cannibals until recently.
Playing the bottles is fun.
Vanuatu has some of the most accessible active volcanoes on the planet.
220,000 people live in Vanuatu. None live on Mystery Island. They think it has bad spirits. Even the locals don’t live here.
Strangely they speak 113 languages giving it the most languages spoken in a country per capita in the world.
Out of nowhere a plane landed. Pretty strange for an island with no people that you can walk the entire perimeter in 20 minutes.
09 Feb 2016
Fiji is known for its beauty and peacefulness making it one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. It wasn’t always that way.
Explorers of old called it the Cannibal Islands and stayed as far away as possible because it was, indeed, Cannibalism Central. That is why it was relatively unknown for centuries.
Today I took a nice tour with the family. Our guide, Ryan Kafoa, was terrific.
We visited a small, but typical village. The Chief is the absolute boss of the village. Not surprising he lives in the most prominent place and his house is both larger and higher than all the others.
Breadfruit is an important food staple throughout the tropics.
Next up was a visit to a typical local school. Like most places around the world, the kids wear uniforms. They were a friendly and happy bunch.
The Garden of the Sleeping Giant was originally founded by TV’s Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) to house his vast orchid collection.
The Sri Siva Subramaniya temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern hemisphere.
Numbers – Population is 900,000. There are 333 islands. 600,000 live on this island. One third of the populations is fourth generation Indian.
From 1879 until 1916, 60,000 Indians were brought in as indentured workers to work the labor intensive sugar cane industry because they would (they had no choice) as the locals had a slower way of life.
08 Feb 2016
Today we stopped at Yasawa Island somewhere in the South Pacific. But for one small luxury bungalow hotel here, there is no commercial development; nothing but pristine beauty. That, alone, is ample reason for the stop.
It seems that there are 15 words in the Fiji language for heaven and yasawa is the first.
Expedia rated their beaches in the top 10 in the world.
Both The Blue Lagoon movies were shot in this area.
02 Feb 2016
Today we visited the Republic of Kiribati. Don’t worry. I had never heard of it either. It became independent from the UK in 1979. It lies at both the Equator and the International Date Line. About 100,000 people live here.
The island we visited is quite spartan with no running water, sanitation, or electricity.
Some interesting factoids:
Due to climate change it will probably be uninhabitable in 60 years and under water shortly after that. (It is only a few feet above sea level).
The International Date Line was moved so that their little country wouldn’t have to accommodate 22 hours difference between the East and West.
They were the first country to welcome in the new millennium.
Their cruise ship economy has been booming because of the Jones Act. That forbids foreign ships from traveling between American ports without stopping at a foreign country. Therefore many trips around the Hawaiian Islands stop here because it is the closest foreign country, although it is still a couple days away.