Several months back, we added loads of new countries to the pages of In The Know Traveler. The good news was that we expanded our coverage of fantastic destinations from around the world that could easily be found through our destinations page.
The bad news was that some of the countries were added only because they sounded great to us, not because we had any information about them. Such is the philosophy of a traveler!
One such country is Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a series of small islands in the Pacific that speaks 113 distinct languages and gave me reason to stop and think, "I need to go there." So we added Vanuatu. Of course, then I stopped and thought again, "Holy crap, how can I get good information on Vanuatu for our readers?" There is not much available and I am not planning a trip there in the short term. Then I got good news. I read "Getting Stoned with Savages," by J. Maarten Troost.
I am not much of a book review person, so I won't pretend, or try to be cutesy. It is a good, fast read filled with memorable personal adventures of the author while he and his wife lived in Vanuatu and Fiji. However, these stories do not mean to inspire vacationers. They are glimpses into these unique cultures through the eyes of someone from the outside, doing his best to battle enormous centipedes, unpredictable weather, shark infested waters, a growling stomach for cannibalism, and the potent differences between kava"”the interesting sounding and popular hallucinogen"”found on Fiji and Vanuatu.
I must have liked it. I was willing to sit under a sizzling Yucatan sky to finish the last twenty pages and come home with third degree burns instead of putting it down to pick up some SPF 45. Now it looks like I have to start planning a trip to Vanuatu and get some real experience.
Written by Devin Galaudet
For more on Vanuatu on ITKT