A Private Sunset Cruise in Vanuatu at Havannah Resort
What do you say to a native-born from Vanuatu who asks: what is America like? Do you launch into a public relations campaign, talking about the home of the free, land of the brave, where any person allegedly can become president? Or, do you say America is facing severe socio-economic problems, is a leading contributor to global warming, but it’s still the best place to live. That our middle class is pretty much wiped out, fourth-generation farming families can’t afford to till the land, and for a land that was once settled by immigrants, that door has long ago been slammed shut.
Yet, our economy would collapse without the support of undocumented aliens. But we pretend they are not here. Our national debt exceeds $18 trillion, and we turn a blind eye to the revolving door between bankers and congress. People are much too consumed by materialism and commercialism to the point that it rules their lives. But by golly, we’ve got Big Gulps and Big Macs and chocolate chip cookies the size of a pizza.
I realize that my rantings make no sense to the young man I’m talking to during a Sunset Cruise in Vanuatu’s Havannah Harbor. His teeth are Chicklet perfect and his hair is braided in rows into a tight short ponytail. He cracks a grin as wide as the Montana sky and agrees but I’m fairly certain my words didn’t register. He’s happy, polite and trying to make me happy by pouring me a glass of champagne. Who am I to disturb his task at hand?
This catamaran captain doesn’t get many Americans at the Havannah Resort. He’s never left the country and doesn’t seem inclined to travel. People in his village of Mele work at gathering food, if they don’t grow their own, and they have feasts. They go to church on Sunday and “blong” to a smattering of religions such as Nagire Presbyterian, 7th Day Adventists, or Church of Latter Day Saints but there doesn’t seem to be any Catholic churches or a Synagogue in Port Vila that he knows about. They have a chief in the village who keeps peace. And, they wear normal clothes, which I know because I asked.
At the end of the harbor is a huge yacht anchored. I asked if he knew to whom the yacht blonged. A person named Michelin. See, now I have an image in my mind of that fat guy inside a tire. It would make sense since most people drive vans or pickup trucks. Our sunset cruise in Vanuatu took us near the yacht, where we pulled the motor and sailed back.
We didn’t talk much about life in America. Instead I turned the conversation to Kava. He says some of his friends have been known to crawl home on all fours after drinking a few. He got down on his hands and knees in the boat and showed me in case I didn’t understand. I’m considering asking one of the women on staff here to escort me down the trail to town to a Kava bar. Kava is purportedly quite foul tasting, which is why it should be downed in one gulp. I’ll report back later.