So, I was rereading The Island last night, and I remembered these photos I took last time I was in Vanuatu. Okay, so The Island is set in Fiji, but I haven't been there since I was a kid. I remember being there for the coup (I don't recall which one) and waving to the army guy with the machine gun as we went to the airport. He waved back.
But any inspiration I picked up on the beaches in Vanuatu applies to Fiji anyway. Beautiful islands, beautiful beaches, and the endless glittering blue of the Pacific.
On his Fijian island, Lee collects sand dollars. So did I, in Vanuatu, but for much nicer reasons. My niece Meg was learning to count, so during the day we collected sand dollars and lined them up in the shower at night for her to count.
Remember how Lee finds a green sand dollar? Here's one, next to an orange star fish:
And these things were literally metres from our door. Get up in the morning, walk outside, and head straight into the lagoon.
And the water around Vanuatu -- so blue.
Here is the bungalow we stayed in for part of the trip. If you think the sand doesn't look as white and clean as it should on a tropical island, that's because this was on Tanna, and the sand here is black thanks to the volcano, Mount Yasur. At night you can drift off to sleep to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore and, in the distance, the rumbling volcano. You can visit the volcano as well, if it's safe, and walk to the top and watch the eruptions. Just magical.
So our bungalow wasn't five star accommodation like Shaw's...
...but who needs that when you have this view from the hammock?
You guys, if you ever get the chance to go to Vanuatu, take it! It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Bragging time: I got an awesome review on Joyfully Jay for Dark Space. You can read it here. Awesome reviews make me do a happy dance! You can see that h... no, no linking to that. I've still got my pride. Also, this particular happy dance was done in my oldest, shabbiest pyjamas.