I guess you all know what our kids look like pretty well by now, and the house, and now the western province as well, but you may have no idea of what the city itself is like. I’ll try to show and tell you in the next few posts.
This is a fairly typical view of part of the main street, except you can’t see the dirtiness of the unpaved footpath so it looks a bit posher than it really is. The cars and lorries probably belong to the locals. Most of the 4WDs are probably expat vehicles. You can see a few of the nicer houses up on the ridge behind – a mix of expat and well-to-do locals live up there. The shops, in all likelihood, are owned by the Chinese. If you went in to one, you would probably see a Chinese guy sitting at the cash register but a local would serve you. A sign in the window might say ‘local girl wanted to work within’. They would sell cheap electrical goods with brand-names you don’t recognise, household items that break upon their third use, plastic beach towels, food items with use-by-dates from the time of Bismarck, Mickey Mouse clothing and hair accessories, and various other necessities of life.
In contrast, here’s local setup (this not to say that the Chinese own all the stores or that the locals run all the shacks; it’s a pretty big generalisation). The local guy in here will sell you tinned milk, bush biscuits, spam, corned beef, and a variety of other staples. The Chinese store might sell all that too but its kind of fun going to the shack shops.
These two cruisers were wrecked independently of one another and some force of the tides ended up parking them neatly in line. The kids are often here, sometimes even climbing up the rusted insides of the ships and leaping from the prow into the water at high tide. It’s a classic Honiara sight, in my view.
Some of the kids will wave happily if you attempt to photograph them. Others, not so much. I took this opposite our old house at Tasahe Ridge, where some Malaitans were running a fruit and veg stall (snake beans, pineapple, eggplant, small greenish tomatoes, melon, papaya, etc). I brought some beans and asked the parents if I might take this photo. The Malaitan kids here are incredibly cute. The blondeness takes a while to fade and in some cases never does.
Finally, I just wanted to include this one. I think my dad will like it.