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After a good night's sleep we were up early for a breakfast ashore of coffee and French pastries at "Au Leche Mignon", before taking a stroll around the "Au Bon Marche" and the fresh produce market. Although we thought the fresh produce was very inexpensive in Fiji, we were astonished at the prices here in Vanuatu. A single lettuce for the equivalent of 50 US cents, eight lettuces for $2USD, a 1Kg bag of tomatoes for $2USD, a medium sized paw paw for $1USD and on it went. Just incredible!

While sailing around the South Pacific Islands we've found at least one quirky aspect of each area. In French Polynesia it was the mesmerising, gyrating hips of the Tahitian dancers. In the Samoan Islands it was the funky buses with their upbeat music. In Tonga, particularly Neiafu in the Vava'u group, it was the creative and fun names of the various businesses. In Fiji it was the friendly "bula" we received everywhere we went and here in Vanuatu we are completely intrigued by the local language.

Located 540Km northeast of New Caledonia and previously called the New Hebrides, Vanuatu is made up of 80 islands, separated by 900Km from Anatom Island in the south to Torres Island in the north. Since the days of the early explorers, Vanuatu has remained a timeless archipelago, steeped in tradition, regardless of the fact that, prior to independence in 1980, it was simultaneously governed by both the British and the French. As a result, it has a fascinating mix of cultures, including the language, known as bislama, the lingua franca spoken through the archipelago, in addition to English, French and over a hundred vernacular languages or dialects. As such, we have decided to give you all a glimpse into this language over the coming weeks so you too can "toktok" bislama.

Lesson One: Common Expressions:

"Hello" - "Halo"

"Good morning" - "Gudmoning"

"Please" - "Plis"

"Thank you very much" - "Tank yu tamas"

"Where are you going?" - "Yu go wea?"

"I Want..." - "Me watem..."

"My name is Elaine" - "Nem blong mi Elaine".

Yu save toktok bislama?

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