Honiara and Bellona
07.11.2008 - 22.11.2008
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Ah the mighty Solomon Islands, the funny Spaniards named it so thinking King Solomon hid his stash of gold here, alas not!
So this was to be my full on cultural shock stop, it pretty much lived up to it and all in a good way. Spent the first four days in the capital Honiara which first impressions led me to believe it was a bit of a dive, however underlying this is a few gems (amoungst the rubbish and litter, shame it was the most beautiful City in the South Pacific 20 years ago). On the 5th day I flew in the rubber band engine plane to Bellona, the only Polynesian Provence in this Melanesian country, the island is about 8kmx2km, home to 1500, has no electricity and running water only after substantial rainfall. The island was also the last to convert to Christianity in the late 30’s and therefore stop killing each other (a good thing as they had gotten to the stage of killing women and children which was a taboo, so I guess they would all be dead by now!) My accommodation for the week was in a cave, serious, sharing with bats, geckos, small crabs and birds, some may not like this friendly shared accommodation, however I was ok with it, actually the biggest fear was a crab crawling up my bed sheet, didn’t happen though! The view was just phenomenal, the pacific ocean, not the calm serene Fijian pacific ocean but the huge blue deep crashing waves pacific ocean, most dramatic and kind not swimmable accept for a coral pool which filled at high tide. On the 2nd day the rain water ran out so washing took place in the ocean for the remainder of the time and fortunately the cave gave access to a small pool of mineral water, awesome!
Without a doubt I must have eaten the freshest fish whilst here, no kidding, Brian the owners son (one of many!) went diving in the ferocious ocean at about 10am, by 12:30 the catch was making its way into my tummy! No oven, grill or BBQ, just a fire whipped up by him, served with kasava, simple but VERY tasty! I also ate plenty of crayfish which are native to the waters, to think we pay vast amounts for lobster and crayfish in the UK and there they catch them like the Irish dig potatoes!
The Solomons have an amazing culture with traditions and Kastoms coming out of their ears and I feel very lucky to have learnt and experienced many of them, which I do hope I can remember for many years to come…..a great stop…..oh until the end when Solomon Airlines f****d up royally and caused me to miss international flights, trains, theatre tickets etc just because they are inept! Anyway, water under the bridge now!
Oh also the hottest place i've ever been to, possibly 39 c in Honiara!