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December 2009

Reader’s Poll 2009 THE VOTES ARE IN!!!

Go Farther with Kava


REGULARS

EDITORIAL

NERD’S CORNER

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LETTERS

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FEATURES KAVA POLL 2009

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The votes are in and counted and the results are out.

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE We love to hear from you. Your feedback is what keeps us going. We love to hear of a great new nakamal, or a nakamal that needs to be put up the ratings because it is under new management, or has had a facelift. We even like to hear from you when you think a nakamal needs to go down the ratings because its kava is olsem wota nating. It keeps our ratings reliable. Kava toktok and the letters section are the most enjoyable to put together every month. It’s where we get to hear your stories. What is kava without storian? This month’s newsletter was particularly fun to put together as it is all based on the information you gave us. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the first ever kava poll. We were pretty interested to see the results, and I’m sure you will be too. Not having to write as many articles also gave us an opportunity to focus on the presentation of the newsletter. We would like to hear your feedback on that too. The Wan Blo Team wishes everyone has a great Christmas and New Year, and we’ll see you again next year. We’re going to have Xmas and New Year’s off so expect the next issue around February next year. Cheers, Wan Blo 100

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READER’S POLL 2009 READER’S TOP 5 2009 01 WHARF, TOWN 02 DARK CORNER, MELE 03 REYNOLD’S, NAMBATU 04 LAS FLAET, EAPOT RD 05 SHEFA BAYVIEW, MONFORT ST

“haggard and foul. keepin' it real” Wharf is one of those nakamals that divides people. You either love it or hate it and if the results of this readers poll are anything to go on, it seems that lots of people love it. You can have a nakamal that is clean, hygienic, quiet, with lots of spaced out seating or you can have Wharf. Busy, with people rushing to get on the next ship, trucks driving past, loud, with everyone squashed in together. You can’t help but storian with your neighbor. But to be honest it’s not the ambience that people come to Wharf for. It’s the consistently strong Kava. Wharf has a reputation for kava “fresh from the farm”. In this case, fresh from the islands. You would struggle to find a night where the kava doesn’t knock your savants off.

Wharf—Dark and dirty and Nambawan in 2009.

Wharf Nakamal, love it or hate it, it is the nambawan in your Reader’s Poll in 2009.

“It’s the epitome of village kava drinking 150 vatu from town. Even the chooks are quiet” You drink kava at Dark Corner for where it is. As the sun begins to go down over Vanuatu’s largest village, this space becomes an oasis of calm. Nestled in the darkest corner of Mele village, a small hurricane light dangling from a tree signifies a quiet retreat. Its natangora house is surrounded by fresh green grass and somehow this space 3


Reynold’s—your reliable kava friend Dark Corner—a kava haven of calm

achieves a peaceful harmony in a normally bustling village. The pigs walk at a slower pace here, the buses do not pass this way and the children play more quietly. The kava is clean and strong. Fresh pawpaw and water are provided to wasem mouth. Unfortunately Dark Corner is currently shut and no one knows when, or if, it will re-open. But as this is the poll for the best of 2009 it still earns a place. Perhaps this rating will encourage the owners to reopen in 2010.

03 REYNOLD’S, NAMBATU “quiet, nice ambience, and friendly staff - some of whom even remember my name” Reynolds is your reliable, kava friend. If you want to go somewhere that is consistent, head no further than Reynold’s, Nambatu. Reynold’s consistently ticks all the boxes. It is clean, has enough kakae 4

for even the pickiest of eaters, the staff are friendly and it boasts enough undercover area to host a parliamentary sitting. Which is handy because it is across the road from Parliament House. And let’s not forget the kava. Like everything else at Reynold’s it is consistent. With the multitude of windows the hardest choice is often working out which window to choose your kava from. But you can spend many a night trying kava from each window and debating with your friends who is serving the best. And then disagree and do it all again. And for all you kale lovers Reynold’s also sells Tusker to provide the perfect finish for the nights. But that is the Reynold’s philosophy. It attempts to cater for every type of kava drinker, and is unlikely to leave you disappointed.


04 LAS FLAET, EAPOT RD “some of the best strong kava, seating and food around” Las Flaet is the complete package, run by a lovely French lady and her daughters, this nakamal attracts a diverse and multicultural range of customers. On any one night, you can be privy to a seemingly endless cavalcade of kava lovers, from the labourers and receptionists who work in the surrounding industrial area, to pilots, to backpackers, to volunteers, to wealthy pastoralists and locals. And what are they all here for you may ask? Quite clearly,the kava. The kava at Las Flaet in unlike any other in Vila, its smooth, its clean, its very strong and for something a bit different, its chilled. Whether love it or hate it, chilled kava is different and sets Las Flaet apart from the pack.

But the Las Flaet experience is something more than just the kava. The design and layout is a sight to behold. Perfect for wet or dry weather, the range of seating options in different areas of the premise ensure that you are free to pursue whatever activity interests you, whether that be hearing the kava, or storian with friends. And the kakae at Las Flaet is second to none. Anything and everything you could possibly want is available; crabs, stick meat, twisties, sausage sandwiches and even chocolate glazed donuts! But be warned, due to the popularity of the kakae, it sells out very, very quickly. However, don’t worry too much, there is always tusker at the ready to wasem mouth and create that much loved kale.

05 SHEFA BAYVIEW “a good clean place that’s got open clean air, a view, good food, feels safe and now has chilled kava. It’s the only one I recommend”

Las Flaet—the complete package

Shefa Bayview—the only place to watch the sun set

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If you want to watch the sun go down over Vila Bay while enjoying the calmness imbued by a kava, Shefa Bayview Nakamal has always been the place to go. Situated high above the water, with an unimpeded view of the horizon there isn’t a better place to watch the sunset. But since the change of management in the middle of this year Shefa Bayview has been more than beautiful views, good kakae and availability of cold Tusker. They now boast some seriously strong kava. And their kava is consistent. Not only that, their kakae range has increased, cleanliness has improved and the whole place has had a facelift. It’s no wonder Shefa Bayview is in the Top 5.

NERD’S CORNER While we were excited at the prospect of finding out what you thought were the Top 5 of 2009 we were also nervous. Would your results compare to those of Wan Blo? Were we just totally off the mark? When we compared them to the Wan Blo 100 results for the year we were heartened by the fact that four have never crept outside the Top Twenty: Reynolds; Shefa; Dark Corner ; and Las Flaet, In fact Dark Corner has been in the Top Ten every month. The biggest difference was Wharf. It debuted at nambawan in our rating system and then disappeared. But it should be nambawan in your opinion. Perhaps we’ll see it reappear next year in the Wan Blo Ratings. Of course, like all statistics, this is best displayed in illustrated form.

45 40 35 30 Las Flaet

25 Reynolds

20 Shefa Bayview

15 The Dark Corner

10 Wharf Nakamal

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How the Reader’s Poll Top 5 compared to Wan Blo Ratings

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LETTERS Dear Wan Blo 100, "Bad things about kava are ... people who don’t drink kava."

but instead submitted by a typical NOKD, I have forwarded your email on for them to reply. Do expect a more detailed reply in next month’s newsletter. Yours sincerely, The Wan Blo 100 Team

"If you can follow these rules then you are invited as a NOKD member to the nakamal." "makes it a good place to hide noisy groups of NOKDs." I'm sorry to see you don't ascribe to the theory of inclusive kava, as evidenced by certain comments above. I am tempted to tell you all to man up a little and not be such kava snobs, lest you alienate what I suspect is a lot of your readers... do try and remember you are running a public newsletter where not everyone is as obsessive as you are. I already try to respect the rules you've set forth, however I don't like to be preached to from on high about my kava habits by a bunch of anonymous elitists. FYI I will drink kava when I want, where I want, as occasionally as I want, without having to receive a golden farken invitation... Rgds, Your typical NOKD Dear typical NOKD, Thank you for your opinion. It’s good to hear that, as kava drinkers, we have succeeded in our goal of becoming “anonymous elitists”. After all, you wouldn’t want just anyone to provide these reviews. As this article was not written by a member of the Wan Blo 100 Team,

Dear Typical NOKD, I am pleased to see my article provoked debate and discussion. Thank you for your passionate response! it is also great to know that (according to you) this will have reached a large base of NOKD subscribers. I’m also pleased (and a little surprised) that this not-so-great acronym has caught on! Now to address some of the issues you raised. Firstly let me tell you that this article was in fact written by a NOKD (more of an OKD than a NKD). As a NOKD yourself you said you observe the 'golden rules' of kava drinking. But on the nights that you are consuming the brown liquid, you must admit that you have experienced some anti-kava behaviour displayed by groups of friends. You know the NOKD who talks too loudly, flashes a camera in your face and sends other groups of quite kava drinkers moving further and further away and sometimes out of the nakamal entirely! Now while you may not be one of these NOKDs, surely you can see the value in highlighting this damaging behaviour for their benefit. It is a slippery slope - you don't want to be the one to tell them to be quiet, so you stop inviting them when you go to the nakamal and soon tensions become high. Well you should be thanking us - all you have to do is 7


leave a copy of the article lying in a strategic place for them to discover, they will read it, self reflect and you can thank Wan Blo 100 for solving all your delicate kava relationship issues. And finally it is true! You don't need a golden invitation - of course you are free to go and enjoy kava anytime! I did not intend to make it an elitist or exclusive event - quite the opposite, this article was written in response to those who cannot or do not wish to consume large quantities of kava but did not want to miss out on the social occasion. But there comes a time in every NOKD life when they are choosing not to drink kava on a particular occasion and they are sitting with their kava drinking friends in a dingy hovel backed up against a rubbish heap with a half dead dog at their feet and they realise.. what the hell am I doing? This article was written to suggest places to go and enjoy a pleasant nakamal atmosphere, good food, non-kava drinks and nice views whether or not you are drinking kava.

Tank yu tumas Mr Cynical Dear Mr Cynical All adverts will be included on a case by case basis. Please attach pictures of said paw paws. Your sincerely, Wan Blo 100. Dear Wan Blo 100,

Regards, The Original NOKD. Dear Wan Blo 100, Thank you for attaching that spam advert for the scooter with your voting reminder. I also really, really love Wan Blo 100. Mi gat 2 red papaw blong selem. I don’t think they will last till the next Wan Blo 100 as they are very ripe already. Could you please send out another spam email offering them for sale. 8

Tank yu tumas, Mr Cynical

Dear Mr Cynical, Are you sure they are red pawpaw? Whatever they are, they look they will last until the next newsletter. Wan Blo 100 PS We get the point. No more emailing of adverts.


Wan blo 100