We’ve passed the one-week mark and we’ve had a week of orientation interspersed with one public holiday, one power-cut, and two water-cuts already.
First impressions: Honiara is dusty and hot. Everyone keeps telling us the weather has been on the cooler side as we’re in the middle of the Solomon’s version of winter… but 30+ degrees doesn’t feel cool to me.
Also, Honiara is dirty. The worst offenders being rubbish and betel nut spit.
Surprisingly, you can get most Western things here you just have look in the right places and pay the expat tax for your nice expat things. A block of Whittaker’s is $7 NZD, a litre of long-life milk around the $3 NZD mark, and cheese about $30 NZD per kg.
There are even cafes and coffees.
Overall, pretty reasonable considering it all came on a boat but also not that great because Nid and I aren’t earning a real NZ salary.
Fruit and veg, on the other hand, are cheap. Fresh drinking coconuts are $1 NZD, huge bunches of bananas for $1-2 NZD, bunches of cabbage and bok choy for $1-2 NZD, and pineapples from $2-6 NZD depending on the size.
The groceries that aren’t cheap is the stuff that can’t grow or breed here which mean the expats here go bonkers for things like broccoli and cheese.
The people here are pleasant. The expats are numerous and very nice, and the locals friendly and more diverse than we expected. Some are very dark-skinned, others are lighter skinned, blonde, dark-haired, and some with scar moko on their faces.
Solomon Islands is made up of nine provinces/outer islands with Honiara being a kind of anomaly where culture has grown slack. When you ask a Solomon Islander where they come from, they’ll tell you the island and village they hail from. Still learning about all of this, but it has been insightful so far.
Tomorrow, Nid starts his job while Dan starts contemplating the meaning of life in the Sollies.