Capital | Honiara
Population | 571,890 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 28,450 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Independence Day, 7 July (1978)
Currency | Dollar (SBD)
Time Zone | UTC +11
Best Time to Visit | July to November (the drier season)
Connecting with the Culture | Riding a boat across Marovo Lagoon. Chillin’ on Uepi Island for a few days and snorkeling in the lagoon. Seeing Malaita’s lagoons where artificial islands support hundreds of villagers. Visiting skull caves- macabre and fascinating shrines to ancestor worship. Watching a shiver of reef-sharks hunting fish in a frenzy of boiling water. Diving over the WWII wreckage from the famous Battle of Guadalcanal.
Read | Ples Bilong lumi- The Solomon Islands, the Past Four Thousand Years by Sam Alasia et al. Lightning Meets the West Wind- The Malaita Massacre by Keesing & Corris relates the story of a district officer’s killing by Kaiwo tribesmen in 1927.
Watch | Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, a frim war film based on James Jones’ 1963 novel about the WWII battle of Guadalcanal.
Eat | crayfish and coconuts, mangoes and other tropical fruits (the islanders were eating sweet potatoes long before it was fashionable).
Drink | Honiara’s own Solbrew beer- ‘lets get fresh!’
In a Word | Apinun! (good afternoon!)
Characteristics | Spear-fishing from outrigger canoes; deep-sea fishing; snorkeling and scuba diving; fresh fish at Honiara market; tide shifts under stilt-house villages; getting around by boat; incredible friendliness.
Surprises | Great T-Shirt art, skull caves and ossuaries; blonde-haired Melanesians; the sound of falling coconuts; weird wares in trade stores; night-time coconut-crab spotting; racing flying fish in trade boats; very early morning mass; crowds gathering at grass airstrips.
NEWS ABOUT THE SOLOMON ISLANDS:
Solomon Islands Women Lead Own Financial Future
(HN, 4/1/12) - A rural-based volunteer women’s organization in Solomon Islands is leading the way for women to manage their finances, learn to budget for household items & save for their family’s future. In the capital of Honiara, visiting Australian Governor-General, Ms. Quentin Bryce AC CVO launched 2 financial literacy booklets produced by the West Are’Are Rokotanikeni Association (WARA). The pamphlets, `Women & Money' and `Women & Banking' is funded by the Australian High Commission direct aid program & the International Women’s Development Agency. More than 60 members of WARA participated in the launch at Parliament House with Ms. Bryce saying she was inspired by the success of WARA, "It's very encouraging to see how many Solomon Islands women are devoting their own lives to changing their lives & the lives of others for the better.” The association 1st began its savings & lending program in 2004 with 100 women; & now more than 600 members have saved approximately SBD $400,000, of which more than SBD $66,000 has been withdrawn for school fees, income generation activities & health costs. (Read more at the Solomon Star)