A month after Cyclone Pam, tourism has never been more important to Vanuatu, writes Amanda Gillies.
The road to the cruise ship is dusty and long, pitted with potholes deep and jagged enough to burst an unwary tyre. We came close.
We park behind three dozen taxi vans, their drivers hovering near the passenger doors. They offer welcoming smiles. They want business. Ten metres up the road, a dozen police offers keep watch. They MEAN business.
It's not yet 6am but it's all about business today. Because this is pay day for Port Vila. The locals have just eight hours to make money. For many it's their first opportunity to do so since Cyclone Pam struck, almost a month ago.
The Pacific Dawn has on board almost 1950 tourists - most of them Australians.
The local people want their money, and they're not ashamed, not too proud to say so, because they're now desperate for it.
Port Vila relies on tourism and this is the first cruise ship to berth since Pam. By 7am local women, affectionately known as the mamas, have set up market stalls, seaside and hillside, despite the latter being cordoned off by police, deemed too dangerous because of rockslides. But the mamas simply cannot afford not to have a stall, May Laban says she's prepared to be arrested: "I have my rights. I need to survive."
Their stalls are primitive. The roofs are blue tarpaulins, the supporting poles bend at unnatural angles, there's dust and flies everywhere. But the tables are filled with vibrant sarongs, imitation Ray Bans, glass turtles, wooden masks, grass skirts, hand-painted T-shirts.
The mamas are smiling, always smiling. Sarah Paton lost her crop, her home was so badly damaged, she had to spend her savings to fix it, yet she smiles softly as she tells me about it.
When I ask if she will give the tourists a good price, she giggles: "No no no. My prices are going up. I need to make a profit. I need to survive, you understand." I do, and so do the tourists.
The ship arrives at 8am, on time. It's huge, dwarfing the sometimes crude, overcrowded small boats that greet it. It glides, almost gently, past them.
The ship's tourists, are welcomed with a powerful warrior song and dance by bare-chested, face-painted local men.
The gangway is lowered, the international wallets opened. For the next few hours the market road is mayhem, loud, busy, overcrowded, hot, sweaty. Goods are admired, tried on, rejected, selected. Deals are done, money gratefully changes hands. It's madness but clearly fun for both tourists and mamas. They are all smiling.
And that fits Vanuatu's new motto, the new social media hashtag: #vanuatustillsmiles.
In spite of everything - 11 fatalities, livelihoods lost, homes destroyed - this island nation refuses to be defeated. They're determined to survive.
And with that, we hop back in our car and leave the dusty, vibrant markets and cruise boat behind.
There's a smile on my face too now - it's infectious.