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Vanuatu-Fiji Island Cruise Stop January 21-Feb 4, 2019

Vanuatu is an island nation situated in South Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago that consists of more than 80 islands. Most of the islands are of volcanic origin. The island was initially inhabited by Melanesian people. In the 18th century, Europeans started settling here. In 1880s, France and United Kingdom claimed certain parts of the country. Finally in 1906, they arrived on an agreement for jointly administering the country, through a British-French Condominium, as the New Hebrides. However, an independent motion was moved in 1970s and finally, Vanuatu became independent in 1980. It has a written constitution and follows the parliamentary form of government. In terms of culture, this island is extremely diversified. The number foreign invasions here have influenced the native culture. Yet, one can find the predominance of the Melanesian culture in the central region of Vanuatu.

Interesting and Fun Facts about Vanuatu

The official name of Vanuatu is 'Republic of Vanuatu'. The capital, and the largest city, of Vanuatu is Port Villa. The official languages of Vanuatu are Bislama, English and French. The currency of Vanuatu is Vanuatu vanu. The highest point in Vanuatu is Mount Tabwemasana, which has an altitude of 1,879 meters (6,160 ft.) and is located on the island of Espiritu Santo. Vanuatu lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Chief Roi Mata's Domain is a World Heritage Site in Vanuatu, consisting of three early seventeenth century sites, on the islands of Artok, Efate and Lelepa. In 1606, the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in the service of the King of Spain, arrived in the Vanuatu archipelago. The island of Efate was named by Captain Cook, after his patron - Lord Sandwich. Christianity is the main religion followed in Vanuatu. The traditional drink of Vanuatu is kava, which is made from the roots of piper methysticum. The national dish of Vanuatu is 'lap - lap', which can be either savory or sweet. It is made from a vegetable porridge, cooked in coconut milk. Vanuatu is acknowledged as a distinct terrestrial eco region, known as the Vanuatu rain forests. A lot of islands of Vanuatu have been colonized for thousands of years. There are archeological evidences dating back to 2000 B.C. The islands were home to Melanesians for over 2,500 years, until the 15th century when Europeans arrived which affected their culture. Vanuatu has a limited number of plants and animal species, in spite of its tropical forests. There are only 19 reptile species, found only on Efate, one of the important islands of Vanuatu. There are only three or four adult saltwater crocodiles in Vanuatu's mangroves. However, the island is rich in sea life with more than 4,000 species of deep-sea molluscs. According to the local tradition, tipping in Vanuatu is not practiced. The economy of Vanuatu depends largely on the agriculture, off shore financial services, fishing and tourism.

Agriculture is a major source of income for about 65% of the population of Vanuatu. More than half of the population in Vanuatu is native Melanesians and the remaining population comprises of Europeans, Asians and other Pacific islanders. There are no regular military forces in Vanuatu. The Vanuatu police have a paramilitary force called the ‘Vanuatu Mobile Force’. In the northern part of Vanuatu the affluence of family is measured by how much one can donate. In Vanuatu, pigs, especially the ones with round tusks are, considered a symbol of wealth. In most villages of Vanuatu there are clubhouses known as ‘nakamals’, where people gather to drink ‘kava’ (a festive drink, like alcohol). Education in Vanuatu is not compulsory; therefore, the school admissions and attendance are among the lowest in the whole of Pacific. Nearly 80% of the population lives in the rural or isolated areas of Vanuatu. Food shortages in Vanuatu are rare as most people grow vegetables in their gardens. The island’s cuisine includes fish, root vegetables fruits, and vegetables. Most food is either boiled or steamed. Fried food is not much encouraged.

Come join me on the Princess Majestic for this cruise-round-trip from Sydney, Australia.


You Can Go To The Ultimate Instagrammable Funhouse In California This November

It’s the coolest color trip.

The rooms first launched four years ago for Refinery 29’s 10th anniversary. It was also built to disrupt all the buzz around the world-famous NY fashion week. Ooh, edgy.

The Expand Your Reality Tour from 29Rooms will be in LA from November 8 - 17, and tickets are available for purchase now for $25 a person.

This is one place you're actually encouraged to step into the art. You can even wear the art too!

If you’ve ever imagined what life in 2050 looks like, we’re pretty convinced this is it. Every room you step into is a colorful adventure with neon lights, trippy optical illusions, and super Instagrammable photo-ops.

Even if you’ve been to 29Rooms before, it’s worth another trip. Every year, there are different themes, and all of the decor is interactive. It’s a sensory overload in the best possible way.

You can expect to find fourteen rooms with totally diverse themes. Room themes vary from a trendy art park to a long line of queendom, dreamy doorways, and the ultimate nostalgia teen bedroom. The creativity is out of this world!

Did we mention they have cocktails and snacks? All 29Rooms sessions are stocked full of yummy treats and sweet sips.

While all the rooms are drool-worthy, we love two of them in particular, Now Casting: Female Storytellers and A Long Line of Queendom.

As the name suggests, the female storytelling room is all about women’s empowerment, and we’re so here for it. Refinery29 collaborated with the award-winning short film-series Shatterbox to create a super Instagrammable western-themed movie set all about women’s talent and diversity on and off the screen.

A Long Line of Queendom is the ultimate rallying cry to black women’s femme fatale. Think Beyonce vibes. It’s a beautiful tribute to black culture, individual expression, and community in a super-cool Egyptian queen style setting.

29Rooms: Los Angeles

Price: $25 per person

Hours: Varies by date.

Location: Beverly Venue, 4315 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Why You Should Go: This traveling funhouse museum is an Instagrammable dream come true.


Traveling Solo-the benefits, the pros & the cons

I have traveled on my own since 1976. Sometimes I travel with friends, with groups, but usually I want to go somewhere and others don't have the time off or any money. So you have to make a decision, are you going to stay at home and do nothing or have an adventure. I usually pick the adventure.

But I always travel with safety in mind. If my plans include staying in a hotel alone, I need a hotel that either has a restaurant or bar on the premises or right next door to the hotel. I am usually back at my hotel right before dark or if it becomes dark, then I will find a taxi or Uber to get me. Plus, depending on the environment, such as in Mexico City, you are told to be back at your hotel by dusk-then I will be back in my hotel by dusk. You are told this for safety reasons.

Does it get lonely-sometimes, but not that often. You would be surprised how many other travelers out there are just like you. Men & Women-I'm not saying, don't do off with a man you just met in the hotel bar, but who knows where the conversation will lead you. Watch TV in your room, even if you don't understand the language. Download a Netflix film. Keep busy.

Touring-sometimes I take scheduled excursions on my own, sometimes I plan my own itinerary. It just depends on the city & the rules. If I'm in a Middle Eastern country, then I must take scheduled excursions-women traveling alone are not looked upon well. And when I stay in Middle Eastern Hotels, I must stay in American style hotels. I stayed once in a hotel in Cairo, it was very nice, but I had to go to the Hilton nightly for dinner-because only prostitutes eat in Middle Eastern restaurants alone.

Driving in foreign countries: Not for me-it's too hard. In Italy, they drive too fast. In Switzerland, there are too many mountains. In England, the round-a-bouts just about did me in, as well as driving on the wrong side of the road. But for you, driving is a new adventure to try. Maybe you will embrace it as a challenge!

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