11th July 2014 – Port Vila, Vanuatu
Through open windows, and creaking doors, They stared at me, like a naked leprechaun falling from the sky. Eyes like uncut diamonds, piercing into my camera, They seemed to ask, “Man blong India, why yu come by?”
I read somewhere that the children of Vanuatu are extremely photogenic. And I found that out the easy way – by taking lots of pictures of them. They are naturally curious of everyone they see, and I think especially with me, because it’s not normal for them to see an Indian tourist. Oh, there are plenty of Indians here, just that they own a lot of the establishments in Vanuatu and travel in fancy cars. But a travelling Indian, who wore flip-flops and vests and lugged a camera with him everywhere? Nah, I was the first dork these kids came across, I guess.
Note: I strongly recommend that when photographing people on the street – even if it is only children -, you should first ask them for permission. But in the case of some candid shots, like the one above, you may not be able to. Then, just walk over, show the photograph you just took, and ask them if they like it. I did, and the boy’s reaction was priceless!
The rest of the day went by, with me trying to learn Bislama, the national language of Vanuatu. Bislama is a pidgin/creole version of English, that originated from the south pacific plantation workers in Australia in 1800’s. So, although the words are in English, they are very localised. So ‘belong’ becomes ‘blong’, and thus, I become the ‘man blong India’. And apparently, i always ‘Dring, smok, dring, smok”!
In the evening, I met a Polish traveller, named Maciej, in the hostel, to whom I was showing my project 365. Turns out, that this is his 3rd round-the-world trip. Oh, I am so humbled now! We decided to rent a car tomorrow, and drive out to see some outskirts of Efate Island. I told him about my driving skills, and how I preferred to be on a motorbike than a car.
He offered to drive.