I was/am so crushed when I read about Cyclone Pam and how bad it is affecting Vanuatu. I’ve made jokes with countless friends about how I (and they too) need to go to the Pacific Islands soon, before they all disappear due to climate change. Frankly, it has always been an innocent joke. I mean, I know that climate is changing and everything, but seeing the damages that Cyclone Pam caused just made everything even more real.
— 350 dot org (@350) 15 Maret 2015
(For more article on what the President of Vanuatu said in regards to how climate change is causing the disaster, you can read this and/or this. It reminds me of the incredible documentary of The Island President, which you HAVE TO watch, incase you haven’t!)
This devastating disaster made me decide to share my current wishlist, Pacific Islands edition, as well as to let everyone knows that my thoughts and prayers go to everyone in the Pacific Islands and the climate change threats they are facing.
(Also, this post is a continuation to a previous post that you can see here)
For obvious reasons. I mean, who has not seen the photos after photos of people vacationing in Vanuatu? The resorts, the clear-water sea, the variety of cultures and the volcano. In my mind, where I like to make everything to be more simplistic than it probably is, I like to think that Vanuatu is kind of like a tiny version of Indonesia. Basically, it sounds like the country has everything that a touristic country could offer.
As if I need to be more convinced, Wikipedia had a paragraph or two that shortly explained about the country’s cuisine. Interestingly, it mentioned that very little food is fried. I mean, what kind of diet heaven would the country be? That is definitely one huge difference between Indonesia and Vanuatu.
Furthermore, another thing that differs Vanuatu and Indonesia is what Lonely Planet had stated on their website. This is a tourists heaven!
There’s no bargaining, no hawkers, no pressure to buy. It is so refreshing.
I don’t know what’s going to happen to the country after the cyclone. When 90% of the buildings in your country were destroyed, you would be confused on what to restore or rebuild first. I mean, tourism is an economic sector that relies on infrastructure a lot, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the country would get back on its feet. My prayers and thoughts are for the country and its people. I hope they can recover fast and welcome me soon.
Okay. Who would not want to go to Fiji? Okay, maybe the Australians and the Kiwis who go there every single winter. But except for those bastards, who would not want to go to Fiji? It is one of the Pacific Island countries that spends a lot of money to promote tourism and frankly, why shouldn’t they when it is the main source of foreign exchanges?
I’ve met a lot of people who have been there and/or planning on going there. These people practically glowed everytime they talk about Fiji. I met one snobbish Indonesian kid once, he came from a filthy rich family and was sent to go to school in Australia. Guess what he was planning on doing for his summer breaks? Renting a yacht with a bunch of other disgustingly rich Indonesian kids and doing the Fiji island hopping. Throughout the conversation, I felt like punching him in the face, especially when he said, “you should come! It would be fun!” Right then and there I understood that life is unfair. I was practically drooling over photos of Fiji, turning green with envy at couples honeymooning there, comprising a shabby list of places I want to go in the future, without knowing when I would eventually go, when this kid was planning an island hoping summer – with a yacht! – in Fiji.
That conversation, which I had 4-5 years ago, has basically motivated me. I need to go to Fiji! I need to go there soon!
This is the only city scene in this list, which is really unlike me (I am a city person and I like to get busy doing sightseeing when I travel). Usually, most of my travel dreams consist more of cities, than beaches. The fact that Christchurch is the only city in this list means that this is one heck of a city – hopefully.
Well, the reason Christchurch, and all other places in New Zealand’s South Island – if I may add, is in this wishlist because I came really really close to visit it (them). I was in the North Island of New Zealand during the Christmas holiday of 2010. I was planning a trip to Christchurch, which would include a trip to cross the Cook Strait, when a strong earthquake hit on Boxing Day. According to the news, the quake was really hard, everyone in Wellington (where I was staying) felt it. I was dead tired because of jet lag, I could not feel a thing – thank God. That unfortunate experience makes me dream about Christchurch – along with other places in the South Island. I really hope I can go back to New Zealand soon and check this place off of this list.
To be honest, I kinda choose Solomon Islands out of the blue. I did not know anything about Solomon Island, other than it is located in the Southern of the Pacific. I believe that I found the country through researching about ecotourism. I did quite a bit of research on ecotourism during my masters and my current work. It is one of the stars in the ecotourism discourse. Lonely Planet even argues that it basically has everything that an emerging ecotourism country should have. It has beaches, but it doesn’t have the beach resorts. It has mountains and volcanoes that people could climb to, but it doesn’t have mountain villas. It has waves that people can surf on, but without the funky surfers-slash-hobos to make the ocean looks cheap. It has the colourful fishes to die for, especially for the snorkelling freaks, but without boats after boats that would crowd the snorkelling spots. The reefs are divers’ heaven, I read, but without anyone else diving around you.
If only I could visit the islands before all the resorts and the villas and the surfers-slash-hobos find out about this little gem of islands, I would certainly be the happiest girl in the world.
5. Bora Bora
Okay, I have to admit: my reason to put Bora Bora on this list is the shallowest of all. I basically want to see what Bora Bora looks like because every Hollywood celebrity has been (or seem to have been) there. It’s embarrassing but I really can’t help wonder how it is to vacation in Bora Bora just because some of my favourite celebrities have been there. I’m a big fan of Jennifer Aniston, for example (I religiously watched Friends way back when and I still watch it religiously whenever it is run on syndication on TV), and it seems like she goes there on a vacation every winter. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman seemed to go on their umpteenth honeymoon in Bora Bora. Eva Longoria seems to take sexy pictures of herself and her little bikinis in Bora Bora everytime a holiday is commencing. And I mean, where do the Kardashians go on their crazy family-wide holiday? Well, of course to Bora Bora!
Doesn’t it enough to make you curious? As shallow as I could ever be, it is indeed enough for me. I just probably need about US$1,000,000 to fund my trip there – what with the crazy expensive accommodation and dining and tickets and all the nitty-gritty activities that I would have to do to keep up with a celebrity-wannabe holiday. Maybe I would have to marry a rich Arab oil heir to make my dream holidaying in Bora Bora to come true. Or maybe win a lottery.
By the time I finished writing this post, the Pacific Island was hit by another earthquake and a tsunami warning was issued (see the news here and here). It was crazy and scary and it really shows how weird the climate has been (see where it’s weirdest through this). I just want to emphasise, again, that my thoughts and prayers are with the affected people of Pacific Islands. I really hope that every single country in the Pacific could cope with all the global weirding and we all are able to survive one disaster after another, at least until I get to visit the places that I listed in this list. I am selfish that way and I am not sorry.
And of course, I really wish that all the climate change deniers could be aware of these endless disasters and we could all do something about it. Long live the Pacific Islands!