Growing up in a DIY (Do it yourself) family environment gave me a range of unusual skills and experiences such as bee keeping, concrete making, bus painting, screen printing, fibre glassing, baking and sewing. OK the last two are not that unusual, or at least they weren’t back then. More important than the actual skills I learnt was the attitude I developed towards giving things a go…. or DIY. Through financial necessity there were many times that I had no choice but to do it myself (sewing for my children, changing car tyres, ) but this was counter balanced by the number of times my bullish pride lead me to attempt things that were probably best left for a professional (plumbing and electrical work, painting the house roof ) – but I succeeded anyway.
Combine this DIY mentality, a hospitality background, duty free alcohol and a holiday….and inevitably I came up with DIY cocktails in our room before going to dinner using some local ingredients. Equipment was limited so all cocktails were built in the serving glass and measured by instinct. All ingredients were stored in the fridge removing the need for ice.
The Mango Almond Madness was a twist on a Pina Colada using a tetra pack Mango Juice that was almost a purée and canned Almond Milk that was creamy and tasted like marzipan.
The result was a thick creamy drink with the consistency of apple sauce. The richness of the mango and almond flavours were offset by the generous measure of Bacardi.
We booked a day tour around Efate and our guide Max stopped at Matarisu Village Road Market to get morning tea. This roadside stall had the produce from several families for sale and Max selected us some dark green oranges and two fresh coconut.
We ate the oranges, which were very sweet, and Max opened one of the coconuts for us to share the juice and I had a thought. On the way home we stopped in town and Rob got a sharp knife as we only had a wine knife in our room. Back to the motel and Rob followed Max’s instructions for a DIY opening of the second Coconut and Voilà – the freshest Pina Colada.
I must mention that these coconut are full of a beautiful clear liquid, not the thick cream that you buy in cans, and there was enough for three Pina Coladas in one Coconut. All before dinner on our private balcony overlooking the lagoon, this is paradise. I would recommend this style of Pina Colada as being totally superior to the creamy, blended concoctions served commercially.
On our second to last day in Vanuatu we spent the morning travelling from the jungle to the beach with Adventure Fun Buggies in a two seater buggy driven by Rob. We negotiated local tracks lined by smiling children until we reached a secluded beach for a BBQ lunch. All this fresh air and a big night previously saw me have a short Nana nap in the afternoon in preparation for our trip to Ekasup Village for an evening of local food and culture. I woke up still tired and decided a special cocktail was what the DIY Doctor would prescribe.
And yes…it was nice.