Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Tropical Paradise


Something a little different this week–very different actually! Haven’t written anything lately and have barely even thought about writing. Instead I went to Vanuatu to see my son married on the beach at Erakor Island.

van 062Vanuatu’s not all that far from Australia and the flight, if you’re lucky enough to get one that goes direct, is about the same time as the trip across to Perth, around 4 hours. We went that route on the way over, arriving in Vanuatu at 2am, but on the way back we had a stopover in Sydney for around 3 hours.

Arriving at 2 am we were very glad we’d arranged an airport pickup and were met at the motel by the night watchman who showed us to our apartment. After a lot of research we opted to stay at the Coral Motel and had no regrets–it’s a budget priced motel, not a resort, and the whole experience of staying there, on the main road of Port Vila, was a very different one to that of staying at a resort. We enjoyed the hustle and bustle, sitting on our balcony watching the locals heading off to work and the mini buses going to and fro picking up passengers.van 122

We had a good look at a couple of resorts as well, visiting other family members. Erakor is spectacular but the one room I saw inside was very small compared to ours and more than twice the cost. It’s all about the beach of course and that, and especially the water, is just beautiful. The wedding went off without a hitch and the meal was delicious; the chef, coincidentally, is from our part of the world and the resort is owned by Australians. A lot of the businesses are owned by Chinese, we were told, and I’m not sure many of the locals actually own very much. They are employed though, in every area that we saw.

Possibly the most surprising thing about Port Vila was the abundance of mini buses–if you walk anywhere along the main road a bus will stop for you. They’re more like taxis than buses, in that they’ll take you anywhere, but there are taxis as well, and they charge a lot more. The mini buses charge 150 vatus (around $1.50 USD) to take you just about anywhere–we had only one driver who demanded more, saying it was 150 vatus only for black people and we had to pay 200! We didn’t argue–well, not much, but were careful after that to make sure the fee was sorted and paid up front. No-one wears seatbelts there and you often see small trucks with people loaded in the back and even perched on the sides.

All in all, it was a fascinating experience and one I can certainly recommend. If you plan a trip there make sure to go out on a glass-bottomed boat to the reef and go prepared for a swim!

Sanctuary is free on Amazon from 26th to 28th October (USA time). UK readers link here. It’s a futuristic novel I wrote for young adults but is suitable for all ages.

Not Guilty is free one day only, 28th October. UK readers here. This is non-fiction, based on a trial in Australia in 1910, of a mother accused of murdering her three children.


Author: cmsgardnerblog

I'm a writer of fiction and non-fiction, for teens and adults. I live in Central Victoria, Australia and my books are available at Most are also with D2D as ebooks.

9 thoughts on “Tropical Paradise

    • Mostly fun, Ruth, apart from airports and flights. Not a great lover of flying, although I’m okay once the plane is level–then it’s just plain boring for the most part. There is some pretty spectacular mountain ranges between Sydney and Melbourne–the rest of the time is was clouds.

  1. so lovely to meet someone on wordpress who is taking the same journey – not unfortunately to tropical paradise – but into self-publishing. congratulations on your son’s wedding. is that a thing? congratulating someone on the wedding of an offspring? well, it is now. I look forward to reading your adventures.

  2. On my to-do list: visit as many islands around the world as I can. I was born on an island, and Vunauatu is one of those islands I’ve always wanted to visit (then there’s Seychelles, Bali, Madagascar, Mauritius and so many, many more!)

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