Thursday, February 28, 2013

Random Information

First of all, yesterday we did experience our first Vanuatu earthquake.  The epicenter was 62 miles due west of us here in Port Vila.  It registered in at 6.1!  We felt the furniture move, but there was no damage that we are aware of.  Everyone here just takes it in stride.  The funny thing was that we were in the middle of skyping with Laurie Ann and Connor.  Connor told us to be careful that it was an earthquake that destroyed the dinosaurs!!!
Next something about the prices, they are high.  As an example, we bought a rice cooker for $63 and a blender for $74 American.  They were low end on the quality scale - the blender has only one speed.  Chicken breasts are $17 a kilo.  Two oranges cost $5.35.  Gasoline for the car is $7.34 a gallon - of course you buy it by the liter.  We got our Vanuatu driver's licenses for $111 a piece.

Now commercial construction, it is all cinderblock or corrogated steel.  This includes good residential properties.  Many of the people live in tin and tarp shanties.  They cook outside and are lucky, if they have any kind of outhouse facility.  Port Vila is the capital city and seems to be straight out of the 1950's.  The streets are narrow and full of people.  The little shops are crowded - not much space to move around. 

Shopping is also interesting.  There are many little stores that we have not ventured into.  There is also a Walmart equivalent.  Well, I say that loosely.  They have all of the kind of things a Walmart might have, but there is much, much less variety.  The best store, the one foreigners like to go to, is about the size of two Emigration Markets.  And - be sure to shop early in the month.  The cargo ships come in at the first of the month.  The shelves are really stocked well.  By the end of the month, there is much less to offer.  For example, they ran out of potatoes on the 19th of February.  And - if you see something that you like, stock up.  The Chynoweth's told us that one time they found good canned peanuts, but they have never seen them again.  Bakeries have only bread - no cookies or other dessert items.  And - no really good chocolate!!!!


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