When Spanish explorers came across this group of Pacific Islands, they discovered alluvial gold and thought they had found the source of the biblical King Solomon’s wealth. Hence the name the Solomon Islands was coined.
I am unsure where to start when writing about my time in the Solomon Islands, as I like to keep my blog positive. But I was disappointed. The local people are great, and very down to earth. But I feel the ideology and greed of the more influential people is exploiting this country instead of building a long-term vision.
*Intensive logging is destroying the countryside, great scathes of woodland is being felled daily. Dirty brown tracks run through the countryside, and large tankers float off-shore awaiting the next tug boat full of timber. This industry has undoubtedly driven a significant economic boost for the country but at a cost.
In a similar vein, only a minimal number of shops and companies appear to be owned by locals. Instead a large flux of predominantly Asian investors are running Honiara’s economy, with locals continuing their less profitable traditional practices of fishing and selling local produce in the cities markets.
Now for some more encouraging and interesting pieces of information about this Pacific country – Hooray!
- The Solomon Islands has some fantastic snorkelling. The waters are crystal clear, and there is a multitude of colourful fish. Shark gracefully glide through the waters close by, the blue starfish are huge and there are even occasional crocodile – not convinced this is a good thing! Several divers regularly return to this destination.
- 10% of the population is blonde, this is the highest proportion of any non-European influenced country. The high incidence of blonde hair is due to a specific protein.
- One of the local dialects uses the same word for blue and green, the two most prominent colours, but has five different words for “fart”!
- Shell money is still used on certain islands, although it’s typically more of an offering during wedding ceremonies, rather than your weekly groceries.
* On a more positive note the logging practice is under review and has actually slowed recently.