Travels

Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands

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He sun has returned to our lives. It's amazing how you can change the way you see things with rain and sun. And that we living in A Coruña should be used to not seeing it, but precisely because of that, perhaps when we go out we need it so much. If everything already changes from one person to another, by the personal situation of each one, by the mood, by the way of seeing and enjoying things ... the sun makes life happy. Brisbane has dawned like this, with an extended day.

We return to the Brisbane Airport International Terminal by taxi (38.80 AUD !!), where again the organization and efficiency leaves us back in love. Security controls where they tell you not to take off your shoes or watch ... come on, let's stop being silly. There are no queues at all. Large rooms with all kinds of shops and facilities, and, of course, a large and well-deserved breakfast to start the day (27.20 AUD), can not be missed.


 

The flight IE 701 of Fly Solomon to Honiara will not ruin our day today and leaves with exquisite punctuality towards the capital of Solomon Islands. !! We can take the link with the domestic flight! Bieeeeeeeen.

It's a shame yesterday's cancellation, well for World War II lovers like us (especially Isaac), Guadalcanal kept true relics and history from a fundamental place in the Pacific War between 1937 and 1945, where Japan came to dominate Malaysia, Burma, part of Indonesia, the Philippines, Indochina and Hong Kong. However, his longing for expansion in 1941 by attacking Pearl Harbor woke up, until then, the United States asleep and with it the beginning of two key battles at two strategic entry points: The battles of GUADALCANAL (SALOMON ISLANDS) and TARAWA (KIRIBATI)

The naval battle consisted of a sequence of combined attacks by sea and air It lasted more than four days, mostly in the surroundings of Savo Island, in front of Guadalcanal. Today, true underwater remains are preserved in that area. The battle lasted 6 long months.

It would be on November 13, 1942 when a first flotilla began the raids. This was the first time that the US military entered a real war and its coordination left much to be desired, according to historians.


 

But without a doubt, the hardest part of the battle of Guadalcanal was the first 4 days of a sequence of combined attacks by sea and air, where both opponents they lost countless ships, with the goal of getting the Henderson Field aerodrome. To this was added the harsh weather conditions of storms and the difficulties with the radio of the American ships in their communications procedures.


He final score It was more than 8 sunken Japanese ships, as many Americans and many victims on both sides. However, it was not until the end of World War II that the United States would realize the importance and scope of this strategic victory. Henderson Field remained operational with attack planes ready to persuade Japanese transports that intended to approach Guadalcanal with their cargoes.


 

The Japanese resistance in lThe Guadalcanal campaign would end on February 9, 1943 with its evacuation. And sadly, the end of the conflict with Japan would be with the episode of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb whose Memorial we saw in 2008 (really shocking) in Hiroshima itself and the Atomic Bomb 3 days later in Nagasaki.

With this intense reading, we are landing precisely at Henderson International Airport. We almost regret not being able to delve deeper into Gudalcanal over history, although Mar, who came from Salomon, told us to flee both Honiara and this island, since she has no more than 4 vestiges and little to do. I don't know if we will agree, but we can't verify it. At the moment we observe Honiara bordered by sea of ​​an intense blue at this time of the morning, and close to an island that should be the famous Savo where much of the naval battle took place and that today is a wonder for divers for its vestiges.


 

Entering, on foot (as in all these islands) in the international terminal we begin passport and immigration controls. Here they are tedious, forming big tails. Immense stamp put (we will run out of pages in the passport at this step). We are officially in Solomon Islands. !! We did it !!

Didn't we want sun and heat? Well Take 33 degrees and 98% humidity. What a chicken broiler. This is the change we were looking for. The route has been worth it.

Step from the international terminal to the domestic terminal here is not immediate since it is about 100 meters. Still we arrive on time for check-in to Seghe. Isaac's backpack here weighs 17 kilos ... the maximum is 16 for these flights, but they don't tell us anything. Almost there. We take the opportunity to buy some postcards and some waters (40 SBD)


 

But like all this it would be very easy and too many things were already going well ... "The flight to Seghe ... CANCELLED". The reason is that we were in a small 7-seater plane that will not be able to land there due to a storm that is falling late. They postpone it for tomorrow at 7:30.

ORGANIZING ON THE MARCH:

The truth is that after reading this morning about Guadalcanal and its relics, this cancellation has come to us with pearls. We will have this afternoon to take advantage of it and get to know Honiara, the remains, her life, her people ...

Here we have another contact. Her name is Christina, and we have crossed many emails before coming, to be able to access her somewhere in Guadalcanal. Together with his father Wilson and his mother, they run a small business whose office is their home, their workers a computer, and their employees Christian, a guide, Harol, a car driver and Wilson himself, a truly charming person. Mar told us that there are almost no agencies or tourism here, and so we corroborate it.

Fly Salomon behaves, providing us with all kinds of information and compensation for one night's accommodation (which Air Pacific did not do so). After calling Christina, Harold comes looking for us to approach the Mendana Kitana Hotel (the best hotel in all of Honiara, of Japanese ownership) where we are received by Wilson.

Wilson, of medium height, dark and plump skin, is one of those humble and honest people who connect quickly. He has moved to see us and help us with anything. We tell you that if there is the possibility of going to see the open museum of relics, for us it would be the best, but it is 1 hour from Honiara to the west. Quick organizes it, and proposes us while partially seeing Honiara with Harold. Of course, we accept, and leave things in the room to take advantage of daylight

Honiara has nothing to do with Port Vila. Solomon's capital, which curiously does not belong to Guadalcanal, but enjoys its own status, It is a continuous traffic jam on the only road that goes through it. Around it the life and business of the city is made, including the central fruit market that cannot be missed

Here crip left, following the customs of a British colony, unlike in Vanuatu, where the French had to be those who imposed driving on the right as in Spain


 

Honiara does not enjoy being the quietest city in the world, but it is safe for a foreigner. People treat you with incredible kindness. In 2006 the last suburbs took place after the election of Snyder Rini as prime minister, and resulted in the destruction of the Chinatown and the displacement of its 1000 residents. Here the Chinese cannot even see them, as was the case in many places in Africa.

The change occurs when we start to leave the city, where the inhabitants are much more likely to receive a secondary education, bank account and secondary services. On the outskirts we find wooden houses placed without meaning in the first place that has been possible, in the middle of the impressive vegetation from Guadalcanal


 

We have climbed to a high area from where you can see the more rural suburban areas of Honiara. From here we step back on our steps and we headed west, where we will try to reach the highlight of the day.

We are surprised to see so many fruit stands and all kinds of food on any side of the roads. So much more than anywhere else we've been before. There are also some craft stalls. 2 weeks ago, the great festival of all the islands of Melanesia and Polynesia was celebrated, except Tonga, who is still mourning the death of his King.

Especially We found an answer to a strange phenomenon, and the streets of Honiara are full of red spit. Why? It is not blood, but here instead of being fond of kava as an hallucinogenic product, they spend the day chewing and spitting Bethel nut, a kind of fruit that chews leaves the mouth of the locals completely reddish, in addition to creating hallucinatory effects


 

After about 40 minutes of road, where we can see up to bridges under construction since the old ones were demolished by the last floods, we arrived at ... !! the nothing !! However, Harold enters a kind of dirt road that we would never be able to locate if we go alone whose end has a name, the Vilu War Museum, which is still a small concrete block house and an open space behind where we intuit a multitude of relics.


 

The only person who runs the place is heading towards us. He is a man with dark skin, blond hair, completely red eyes as if he were gone and with almost unintelligible English. Here, in addition to 74 unintelligible Salomonian dialects, Pidgin is spoken as an official lagoon, another derivative of English with words as curious as Tanggio tumas (thank you) or plis (please). So, we start seeing the artillery that the Japanese used when the first American ships appeared next to the island of Savo (which we have also seen as we came).


 

This little character follows his explanation. He has no idea of treasure of INCALCULABLE value that it has in its lands. TOThere is no glass that separates you from the historical pieces, or an audio guide to explain, or long halls, or videos, or organized tours, even other travelers ...


... here are only the remains of a cruel history of 70 years ago and you and the power to teleport almost physically at the time of the Battle of Guadalcanal, in the middle of World War II


 

This great garden of history, has the best parts of both Japanese and American and New Zealand planes, from the Conflcito. We can observe from the Corsair of New Zealand, such as the Japanese Betty Bomber and the American Wildcat, although without a doubt, the one that has impacted the most is the Lockheed Lightning


We do not want to be done on the road at night, so we have put heading back, following the route along the coast again (You can almost touch the water) through many coconut and oil palm plantations, which are the most exported production of Solomon's economy with wood and gold. We can also see the tree that produces the Bethel nut


In the area of ​​Tetere Beach, important in the Guadalcanal War, you can also observe a very particular memorial, that of the Austrian Scientific Expedition that in 1896, after taking land, would be eaten by CANIBLES! We talked about Tanna's day. What stories we found here. What is beautiful is to see the sunset leaving a picture of a true postcard


Anyway, taking the opportunity to get some SBD at an ATM in Honiara (the change is approx. At 9.40 SBD per EUR), we go back into the suburbs of Honiara because we are going to meet a person with whom we have sent many emails these months ago. His name is Chirstina, Wilson's daughter, and welcomes us with a smile. If it wasn't for her, we might not have been able to solve this day. !! It is a lovely family !! Thank you very much to the three of you, and to Christian and Harol, for everything


The day seems not to go much further, and we return to Salomon Kitano Mendano, which, although it has very simple rooms, has the three best restaurants in the city, Captain Restaurnt, Raratana Terrace and Hakubai. We decided on the first one having a fancy dinner in the best company and with a glass of wine (530 SBD)


Ceremonies, totems and traditional values ​​is something that Solomon Islands and its Melanesian culture do not want to lose and therefore continue to maintain their incredible music and their ancestral dances, and performing them in the hotels of Honiara for the sight of all. Today has coincided here in the Kitano Mendana, and the truth is that they are really catchy.


 

At the moment I write in the room (internet 120 SBD) this story although Paula has already fallen, although I must be very tired because I notice that the room is moving ...

... THE ROOM MOVES MUCHOOOO !!

Paula jumps out of bed. The whole building moves from side to side. !! IT IS AN EARTHQUAKE !! Never in life have we lived one, and less of such intensity. Everything falls, the closet opens and our reaction is to cover ourselves under the entrance door frame. Gradually everything stops ... it lasted only about 40 or 50 seconds. People leave their rooms. Nothing has happened. Has been an earthquake 6.5 to 39 km from Honiara to the Southwest. UPGRADE: Full experience in the article "I. SALOMÓN: The giant wave of Honiara ..."


We believe it is time to leave the story here. We have already called the family to not worry if you read the news in the press thanks to the people at the hotel reception, since our mobile is like carrying a potato with lights in the backpack. Good evening everyone from the distant and "re-moved" island of Guadalcanal


Isaac and Paula, from Honiara (Solomon Islands)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY:66 AUD (approx. 57.39 EUR) and 690 SBD (approx. 70.31 EUR)

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