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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Visitor: Part Three

After the volcano debacle, I felt the need to reclaim some of my pride, some of my dignity.  Sure I couldn’t make it and I crumbled like a stale cookie dipped in warm coffee.  Look, I am not unfamiliar with failure.  But I had to do something to make it up to H.

I guess, for me, I was deeply disappointed in the change of path regarding the volcano on Savo. It used to be a lovely three hour walk up a steamy river bed surrounded by huge cliffs.  The walk was a great little adventure with eight metre bamboo ladders and walking over logs.  It felt fun but still doable.  The walk we did was purely unfun and although I know I could have made it through, I just didn’t see the point. However, the walk fell prey to the classic Solomon Island excuse "land disputes".  Well, I get it.  People want to be compensated properly for their land...I'm not going to make a judgement call on whether its right or wrong.  But it is disappointing.

Anyway, enough of my whinging. I know most of you, especially the kiwis, are thinking “whoa, man up!”.  You are right…I should man up.  Moving on…

On our way out from Savo, I arrange for our patient boat drivers to take us to the little volcano, a place that I had heard of but not yet been too.  We see a nice pod of dolphins dancing in the waves near the boat on our way there.  The sun is kissing the water and the island of Savo looks like something out of Jurassic Park.   We zip around quickly to the other side of the island to see the small volcano.

After climbing our way through one of the nicest villages I’ve seen in the Solomons, we make it to the small  volcano.  There it is, a small cone, coming out of the hillside.  A hot stream glugs and splutters near the path and we make our way down for a bit of a foot bath.  The water isn’t as warm as I thought it would be but it’s enough to know that something volcanic is going on.

Villagers come up with piles of food to place at the base of the volcano.  They use it as an oven or motu.  Our guide lets us play in the stream and look at the bubbling mud.  OOO Bubbling mud!!!

Although it’s probably not as cool as the other volcano, H seems happy and that’s all that matters.
Then we trek our way back to Honiara on the boat.  As we get closer to Honiara, I feel the relaxation I’ve felt start to come under strain.  The truth is I prefer the villages to Honiara.  I dislike all the pollution, rubbish, smog, the harassment from men…I like the calmness of the villages. 

Anyway, we come home for the few last days in Honiara.

The next day is spent shopping (for Helen) while I come back to work.  We sit at the rain tree and enjoy some yummy pizza.  I love the Rain Tree cafĂ©; its calm and quiet and you get to sit by the sea.  What I hate about it is that it takes two hours to get you your food.  No, seriously. Two hours.  I watched the waitresses take over an hour to serve pancakes the other day because they had to go out get the ice cream. 

It’s a typically Solomon Island place that is great on weekends, killer if you are on a tight schedule.

We wake up early for H’s last morning in the Solomons.  It’s off to Bonege Two for a quick morning snorkel.  Now, over the last few weeks there have been rumours and security alerts about crocodiles and bull sharks around the Boneges.  Mostly, I think its crap.  I think you have to be tremendously unlucky to see either of those creatures here.  But still, I can’t help but think about the crocs and sharks as we enter the calm waters…alone.  The beach is literally empty, there is no one about.  So, we make the first tentative swim out to the wreck.

The water is filled with jelly fish.  I get small, annoying stings all over my body, as does H.  As we get into the front part of the wreck, H lets out an enomorous scream underwater and, using my stupid instinct, I make a break for  the shore, waiting only slightly for H.

We arrive safetly on the shore.

“Oh…I’m sorry Sara, a jelly fish stung me on my mouth!  It hurts and I couldn’t help it!”

“I think you might need to pee on my face.”

Ugh.  After a few minutes, H doesn’t have anything worse than Angelina Jolie lips, so we decide to head out 
back into the water.

We stay out for a little while.  Snorkeling and diving in the morning is preferred in the Solomons. The water is calm and clear and the night fish and day fish are punching their time cards, so you get to see both in the water at the same time.

We leave Bonege 2 behind for a bit of mango breakfast on the balcony at Casa Turchese.

H has a lovely morning of resting and then its off to the airport.  As I wave her goodbye, I feel really sad.  H is the only adventurous soul to come see me here and I loved every minute of it.  I hope she enjoyed her time here too.

H’s departure also signifies the beginning of the end for me here in the Solomons. I’m looking down at three more weeks left to make a difference, do my job, enjoy my diving and create mayhem. 

But the truth is: I’m tired.  H’s visit was the longest holiday in more than a year.  I haven’t seen my parents in over a year and I won’t see them for another six months. My altruistic side got the best of me and I used my holiday helping out in CHCH and I feel spent.   Being here isn’t the holiday one might suppose.  Sure, its not 
stressville either but after awhile, it does grind you down.

My stuff is starting to break down.  Pinkie, my faithful Sony Vaio laptop, is showing her age.  Ants are climbing in and out of my hard drives.  My boardies (swimming shorts) are starting to decay with over use.  My trusty snorkel mask is cracking.  

I think in life one of the critical things is to know when to leave.  No one wants to be the last drunk at the club or that person who is holding on to that bad relationship because they can’t let go. Timing  is important because you gotta know when you have done enough and it’s time to move on.  For me, that time is in about three weeks.

Everyone has an expiration date here and I’m about ready to curdle.  So here is to the last three weeks of Solomon Island time.