We’ve passed the one-week mark and we’ve had a week of orientation. This has included one public holiday, one power-cut, and two water-cuts already – how exciting.
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 us.
Also, Honiara is a 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 NZD 7, a litre of long-life milk around the NZD 3 mark, and cheese about NZD 30 per kg.
Overall, pretty reasonable considering it all came on a boat but also not that great because Nid and I aren’t printing our own money at the moment.
There are even cafes and coffees, with a flat white going for about NZD 5.
Fruit and veg, on the other hand, are cheap. Fresh drinking coconuts are NZD 1, huge bunches of bananas for NZD 1-2, bunches of cabbage and bok choy for NZD 1-2, and pineapples from NZD 2-6 depending on the size.
The groceries that aren’t cheap is the stuff that can’t grow here which mean the expats here go bonkers for things like broccoli and cheese (cows used to be grown here thirty years ago, but I think they all got eaten???).
The people here are pleasant. There are heaps of expats in Honiara and they seem pretty nice. The locals are more friendly and 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, even if they were born in and have lived in Honiara their whole life. It almost seems like no one wants to be from Honiara. 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.