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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Exodus

Over the next couple of days, Honiara begins to clear out completely of expats and locals alike.  The office only has a handful of people left and its pretty quiet.  Everyone is ready for Christmas break.

Before that happens, the three amigos, Tessa, Marco and myself go out to dinner at a French couple’s house, Celine and Arneau.  It’s a great meal and a good time; French, Italian and English are all spoken liberally throughout the meal.  My French is still shaky but I get the drift of most things.    

One of the wonderful things about holidays is access to vehicles left behind.  I was lucky enough to grab one; a lovely little Toyota Hilux, which I love so much, I am considering orchestrating some kind of “accident” of its owner.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

Anyway, Honiara is EXTREMELY difficult to navigate around in at night time.  There are no streetlights, no road markers, no signs…nothing.  It’s pretty much a road (and often times barely that) and that is it.  Pedestrians walk in the centre of the road and are typically impossible to see due to the dark clothing.  It’s amazing I haven’t hit anyone; I worry about that all the time.  There are many small panicky moments with the Hilux; it is much bigger than anything I have ever driven before and I am a horrible backer upper. Or at least I thought I was; I’m actually better than I thought!

The week is spent saying farewell to my new, dear friends.  At the airport while dropping off my friend Tessa, I experience a whole new level of queuing…literally we wait for two hours to get her checked in.  Now, I know that things go at a slower pace here than back in good old New Zealand or the U.S. but really…I mean seriously the line wasn’t that long and there were three people at the desk.  Seriously, they could use some kind of efficiency experts here or something.  One couple I knew took forty minutes to get through (due to excess baggage).
(Editor's Note: In the original posting, I had a very large rant about certain expats.  At the time, I felt I just needed to vent some perceptions that I had.  However, it has come to my attention that some people, who were never considered when writing this post, took it personally.  I have never intended to hurt or offend anyone with this blog; the work the expats do here is amazing and I am honored to be counted amongst these people.  My sincerest apologies to anyone who felt as if I was personally attacking them or their lifestyle, it was never my intention.  I have deleted this rant not only because of other people but because on reflection, I felt myself that it was an unfair and overly critical assessment. For that, I apologise. Hey, nobody's perfect, especially not the author of this blog!!!!)

Anyway, the rest of the week was all about trying to deal with the transition of moving from my little hotel room in Sanalae, working and hanging out with Steve, a volunteer from Choiseul.  Steve’s experience is VERY different than mine; don’t worry, he is writing his guest blog as I write mine, so more on him later. 

I’m sad to be leaving Sanalae; the people are so lovely there and I learned so much.  Like washing all my clothes by hand.  Or how to make sticky cabbage soup.  Or how the people who worked there walked and talked with me about what was going on in their village or settlement.  So thank you Sanalae; it’s true, you were just for the time being.  And it was a wonderful, interesting time of transition. 

Until the next bloggie, hope you and yours are happy, healthy and loving where you are at.