Just passing through

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  • Published 20060905
  • ISBN: 9780733319389
  • Extent: 288 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

I MET A hippy on the road to Port Vila. His pale dreadlocks set him apart from the other whitey tourists who more commonly sported braided hair and irregular tans. It was Saturday morning and I was walking home from the market, laden with island cabbage and coconuts, grinning and drenched after a twenty-minute downpour.

“How’s your journey?” he asked, although he was the one with the backpack. On the strength of his greeting, I invited him up to sit on the balcony to watch the sea change colour, to eat the first raspberries of the season and to hear him talk about island-hopping by cargo ship. Travellers rarely come to Vanuatu with limited funds, helping unload kava from the MV Brisk and sleeping curled up on the captain’s mat next to the ship’s engine. He had walked from village to village, making and eating starchy laplap with the mamas and never turning down an offer from a chief to share some supremely strong kava, which is sometimes still made in the outer islands by masticating the roots of the favourite national pepper plant.

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About the author

Kelly Chandler

Kelly Chandler is a Melbourne-based writer and editor currently working in communications for the  not-for-profit sector.Her not-quite-non-fiction is published variously in the Death Mook,...

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