Thursday, September 02, 2010

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I posted 2 blogs on the same day, you should go back and check out the blog on the volcano!

We spent almost a week on the island of Tanna, where the volcano was. We also took a walking tour of the hot springs around the anchorage. A 15 year old boy was our guide and he was very informative. At one spot where the vents occur, he reached down and found some very soft clay which he painted his face with. There was red, white and a bluish colour that he could use to decorate his body. The water in places was hot enough to cook with. At one spot he explained that during the rainy season the other vents were covered up with water so all the hot water in the area would fill up this cut in the rocks and come spilling over, mother nature at her finest.
We sailed all day to come to an anchorage called Dillon’s Bay on the island of Erromango, which means, land of the mangoes. All the trees are in bloom now and you could tell that when the fruit ripens there will be mangoes everywhere, to bad we will have to move on before that.
Yesterday we were treated to a lesson on how to prepare laplap. I had seen it mentioned and thought it was a doughy substance that was cooked over a fire. I was wrong. First they prepare the insides of the dish, there were three different laplaps. The first was mashed up bananas, with rosettes of spinach type leaves inserted in the banana goop. The second was a mixture of yams and sweet potatoes, the third was pumpkin and taro. The women put down vines in a criss cross manner, then they lay banana leaves on top, they sprinkle the banana leaves with coconut milk and then add the fillings. Then they add more coconut leaves and then they fold up the edges of the leaves and tie the vines making a big banana leaf package. The package is about .75 meters square and weighs up to 7 kg.
While the women are preparing this the men have built up a fire rocks are piled in the fire and super heated. Once the laplap is ready the men scatter the stones, put two of the banana leaf packages on the fire and cover them with stones then add the third laplap on top. Then the place banana leaves and other vegetation on top of everything to keep the heat in finishing off with a woven pandanas mat which was weighted down with stones and firewood. The food is then left for over an hour to cook. We were invited to stay and sample the wares. It was a long wait, well after our normal eating time but it was worth it. Everything was delicious, the spinach leaves in the banana goop was scrumptious.
It was wonderful to experience this, sharing in the Ni-vanuatu’s lives was a privilege. That is what keeps me cruising.

These guys are using pronged sticks to move around the red hot rocks, they put on their flip flops for the job, normally they are barefoot.

We also took a walk up to see the sandalwood groves and the swimming hole up the valley. We had to ford a stream, Mike and I took off our shoes and gingerly made our way across. We both wore them on the way back, it was very slippery. I seem to remember doing the same sort of thing when we lived in Tungsten, the water was a lot colder then!