Kiwis' holiday from hell in 'happiest country'
"Last month, six of us went on an epic holiday to Vanuatu. Yep, that's the place in the South Pacific that got hammered by Hurricane Pam in March. And no, we didn't cancel our holiday - I mean, these things always look worse than they are, don't they? And you have to help these places get back on their feet, right? And after all, Vanuatu was recently rated as the "happiest country in the world", so what could possibly go wrong? We ended up staying at a lodge on Tanna, one of the southernmost islands in the Vanuatu archipelago, famous for its accessible volcano. We had a family bungalow right on the beach, lovely place, owned by a New Zealand businessman. Then - after a horrendous incident allegedly involving the businessman's son - one of the local lads on the island is stabbed, run over and killed. This prompted an understandably volcanic reaction from the Tanna islanders. The only warning we got was a fellow guest telling us that men with machetes and petrol cans were on their way, and we had 10 minutes to get out, maybe less. A world record-breaking packing frenzy later, we watched brown smoke rise into the air from the back of a Toyota pick-up: us, our tearful kids, a few other ex-guests, and one shaken, utterly bewildered Kiwi." (jimbomcnulty Via Guardian Witness.)
Eric was selling a boat on Trade Me and was contacted by scammers in China. After leading them on for a few days this is the last email he got from them: "I have just completed the payment and I expected PayPal to have notified you to this effect. Check your mail folders, either your [inbox or spam] I sent $565,000 in all. I added $5000 but $4500 will be sent to my agent in CHINA through western union at post office, the extra $500 is to cover the western union fee or any charges. PayPal said they will not release the fund until you email them the western union detail for verification, and also to enable my pick-up agent to come for pick-up and inspection. [Full contact details of his "agent" who is a courier in Jian] Please get the necessary details sent to PayPal (Money Transfer Control Number) MTCN and sender's name and address used to send the $4500 so that they can release the whole fund into your account." Of course the Chinese authorities don't have any interest in stopping this sort of thing even though they could get the guy using the above details. Even more interesting is how they thought I was stupid enough to think a courier could put a 44ft long catamaran in the back of his pick-up van!
No red light for prison truck's K Rd calls
Just in case you took the pictures in Sideswipe of the prison vans outside Karangahape Rd hot spots seriously, Mike clears things up: "The two prison transport trucks you have featured in the past two days are parked where they have because the doctors' surgery used by the department is there, not because they are frequenting the liquor store or strip clubs."
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