I’m the only one in the office and my boss comes up to me like “Hey Suzi, can you do an away job for me start of Feb?” At this point, I don’t know where it is but I sigh internally and agree, because, that is my actual job. To go to places and train people. I respond with “Sure, lock me in.” He says great and goes to get up to organize it. Oh, I should probably ask where it is. “Vanuatu.” I start chuckling and thigh slapping, like, good one boss… you got me. No, it turned out it really was in Vanuatu.
Picture this. Picturesque rolling mountains. White sand and turquoise water as far as the eye could see. The waves gently break onto the pristine beach, bringing with it calm and tranquility. I take a sip of my orange delicious booze filled cocktail and I think to ma-self… what a wonderful wooooorld. Oh someone is coming, it’s my Vanuatian butler, with no shirt on, waiting patiently to refill my cocktail and fulfil all of my other whims. He leans in toward me and whispers “Suzi, so hot… like a sunrise…”
Right so we’ve begun our descent… I have a window seat. Winning so far. Rolling mountains? Check. White beaches? Check… hang on. It looks like we’re flying over tent city? There’s tiny shacks and people with no shoes on and dirt roads everywhere. We land and I get to the door of the plane. The humidity grabs me by the shoulders and head butts me in the face like WHAM Welcome to Vanuatu, bitch. The land of chafe. The airport is a small shed with broken windows and patches of bare concrete where the laminate has come up and no one’s bothered to stick it back down. This sets the precedent for the rest of the trip. I wait 10 fucking hours to get out of customs and the customer is waiting for me. Master Greg. Greg is the loveliest guy ever and has come to collect me in his ’82 Landcruiser. “Sorry, that window is broken and the aircon doesn’t work,” he says as I get in and receive third degree burns on my arse from the pleather. The aircon really is broken, it’s just blowing 45-degree wind in my face.
The town itself, just shit everywhere. Rubbish and potholes the size of Ipswich on the roads and no police so you literally feel like you’re going to die every time you drive somewhere because there’s no road rules. But the people, legends. Everyone I met was so amazing. I stayed at Master Gregs’ friends’ motel. They were lovely, and the motel room was on par with every other Golden Chain. I had two major issues though during my time there. 1) was the actual job, which I won’t bore you with details. But I will say this. It’s hard to train people where English is not there first language and also, an Australian built system operating in a different part of the world with different currency and different tax is hard. You need a good tech, and I did and will marry him one day. I’ve never met him before but I’m confident. 2) the food. A tropical island should have an abundance of fresh veggies and fruit? My first breakfast I had a choice of mini toast or cereal. I chose cereal with fruit. It was off. I ran out of time. I starved. Lunch time Master Greg’s wife took me to a sandwich shack that should have been called “Salmonellaville” so I went the safe option and got veggo only. It was off. So I starved.
Overall? I just remember being hungry/hangry for three days. Even waiting at the airport to go home, I was starving so I went to buy something that you literally couldn’t fuck up or it be accidentally off. A croissant. But it wasn’t. It was a regular bread roll someone had baked into the shape of a croissant. I couldn’t help but laugh. I also accidentally fucked up my currency conversion when buying Little Miss a souvenir and paid $80 for this bean filled lizard (YOLO) which ended up also costing me my patience when I got stuck at Australian Customs for not declaring said beans (Not YOLO… we don’t need another international drug smuggling incident circa 2004…oops). Aside the fact I had to work 14 hours a day the whole time I was there, I probably wouldn’t go back. Unless it was a five start resort, the food wasn’t off and I did get my own butler, BUT… still a pretty fkin cool experience.