This was our first trip to Vanuatu and the first time that Craig and I have booked a holiday that was just about the two of us in almost 12 years, so you could say that we were more than due to have some quality 'one on one' time. And perhaps it really was the best time to get away. I was still numb from all of my grief and in dire need of some TLC and headspace, and this holiday did feel genuinely like a complete exhale and a total spiritual reboot in so many ways.
We stayed at the Eratap Beach Resort which is a boutique style, eco-friendly and completely authentic beach resort that is focused on low numbers, no children and complete five star beachside luxury. From the moment that we arrived and our accommodating host placed a cocktail into my hand as we entered I felt my shoulders drop and my stress begin to just melt away. We had just arrived in paradise, a real paradise with crystal clear waters, gentle ocean breezes and an award winning chef in the kitchen who provided us with nightly seafood feasts that were some of the best dishes that I have ever eaten in my life.
The food? Completely gourmet and absolutely delicious. The drinks? Different cocktail specials every night and an extensive list that I indulged completely. The beach? White sands, azure and turquoise sparkling waters and the most incredible snorkeling you could ever imagine with clown fish, angel fish and even a giant red octopus; it was so damn good that I couldn't believe it was actually real. The resort? Pristine, perfect and completely seducing with it's swaying palms, tropical grounds and uber friendly staff. We felt like kings from the moment that we arrived and were treated like superstars for the duration.
We kayaked, snorkelled, swam, hiked, ate, drank and lounged about for five days. We took two journeys outside of the resort which were both provided free of charge by the resort, one to visit the local village of Eratap to see their homes, school and church, and one into Port Vila for a spot of souvenir shopping. The rest of the time we did our own thing, ate whenever we wanted to because the restaurant was open until 11pm every day, and pretty much felt like we were there on our own because there are only 12 villas on the premises, so their were really only around 20 guests on the grounds at any given time. Heaven, totally and utterly divine in every way, we loved it and we were so sad to leave when our stay finally came to it's inevitable conclusion.
Anyway...one quick 4.5 hour flight back to Melbourne from Port Vila and a fairly short drive from Tullamarine and we were back in Enfield. Unfortunately, it was not the happy return that we had been expecting and we were quickly slammed back into reality when we realised that both of the kids weren't well. Zoe could barely speak and was sporting a raging head cold and a very sore throat, and Seth who seemed okay on Friday night when we got home very late, arose on Saturday morning saying that he felt unwell and by 7pm on Saturday night we had him at the hospital Emergency Room after he had a febrile seizure and passed out in our lounge room.
He had been vomiting on Saturday and his temperature had gotten dangerously high, then his blood pressure plummeted and teamed with his dehydration from vomiting, he went down for the count (thank God Craig caught him) and they had to put him on drip at the hospital, administer anti-nausea tablets and run some blood tests just to make sure that he didn't have anything more sinister going on. It was pretty stressful, and it was really not good to be back in the emergency ward of a hospital again so soon. However, all is well and Seth was released from hospital at 11pm on Saturday night with the all clear and slept like a baby at home until 9.30am this morning.
Today I have been able to play nursemaid to both of the kids, and although I wish that we had returned home to happier circumstances, I am also tremendously relieved that we were home to take care of them and the entire situation ourselves. It is wonderful to get away and I am glad that Craig and I got to share such a wonderful experience of complete tranquility in Vanuatu; but for now.... it's back to reality and back to work tomorrow, because nothing - not even paradise - can last forever.
Release Date: 2000
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 119 mins
Every man and his dog seemed to hate this film, Leonardo DiCaprio had done a string of highly successful movies in the years preceding, and I think that everyone was just expecting far too much from this movie. The Beach was never meant to be a blockbuster, and despite what all of the critics have said about it, I think that the story was interesting, the acting was great and that Danny Boyle's directing was solid.
Filmed in the paradise location of Ko Phi Phi Lee in Thailand, the story tells of an idealistic lifestyle that awaits backpackers that are willing to travel off the beaten path and escape the rat race in exchange for a solitary life. However, even in the midst of tropical bliss, there is always a price to be paid.
With a strong cast, boasting the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton and Robert Carlyle, there really is a formula for good quality drama, and although The Beach isn't a life changer, it is entertaining enough to warrant a viewing.
FINAL SAY: I still believe in paradise.
3 Chilli Peppers