Honiara – Public Facility
Posted on February 24, 2016
Honiara – Public Facility
After two days of straight traveling which began in Denver, Colorado and ended in Honiara the Capital Island City of the Solomon Islands, I had finally arrived for this international flying adventure. One of the first pilots I met was another American named Dillon. Dillon is one of those guys that has the ability to grow the perfect hipster beard. I made sure to antagonize him about his magical beard growing ability and my apparent ‘beard envy.’ A fellow instructor pilot. Dillon explained his hatred for instruction after accruing some 1600 hours in the occupation. For him, his next step was turbine time and he was more than willing to travel to a 3rd world island to do so and of course for the adventure.
So this story begins really with my curiosity to see a new place and Dillon needing to get some vitamins before he deployed back onto his Taiwanese tuna boat. I am always eager to see a new place when I arrive, the same excitement that has been riddled in me upon entering 27 other countries. We leave the company compound which is nestled abeam the shore line overseeing the boats that are docked across the distant water horizon. After about a quarter of a mile walk to the main road. There are Taxi’s waving at us white people. To my amusement and surprise, Dillon points to the other side of the street where the ‘buses’ are. Hah, Dillon has learned the sacred truth of Taxi drivers everywhere. Well…Taxi Drivers are Taxi Drivers… So instead of paying the equivalent of 7 USD, we were now only going to pay 40ish Cents to go to downtown!
So the term bus is interesting in Solomon. Here the Mitsubishi version of what I always referred to as a ‘Hippy’ bus is the primary vehicle for transportation which goes and stops at the designated bus stop areas. They are all manual transmission and most of the time while riding in these vehicles you can hear the wine of the over stressed beetle buses. However, one out of every twenty buses you may just be lucky and get ‘the mega’ bus, Dillon explained.
“Holy shit, get on, my first time on a mega bus Dude” We get on this bus and it is air conditioned and you can stand in the bus, and it has provisions to hold about 30 people. “Wow, this is actually rather nice” Well, that is what I thought until two stops later when 50 additional people decided to join us to downtown. So now all of the standing room was taken. Dillon and Myself where sitting down on the right side of the bus furthest from the left side entrances. When the bus filled, I was graced with the presence of an older lady with her arm extended past my head holding the window rail. There was hair, lots of hair and apparently it is attractive to have natural BO aroma exuberating around oneself. I gleamed at Dillon as he chuckled with his perfect mustache and beard. I stared at him in anger as 4 inch female armpit hairs hovered within 8 inches of my nostrils. A little thing I like to refer to as friendly ‘Karma’ occurred about 30 seconds later. A little bald man wearing a pink polo with the collar popped approached Dillon and grabbed the handrail right above his head. Yes, yes, indeed the aroma was pungent as well! But this guy was friendly, he smiled with blood red teeth and deteriorating gums from his apparent excessive use of Beetle nut -chewing tobacco-. “Where u fromma?” He actually was very polite and I continued a conversation with the man for two reasons. The first reason was, the more I talked to him the closer he got to Dillon and touched him sometimes which obviously made him very uncomfortable. So as a friendly Karma reminder, I felt compelled to continue the conversation. The second reason was, I wanted to know if there was a local gym around that I could get my swell on at!
We get off the bus at the “Hyundai Mall” and I mentioned to Dillon I think our pink polo companion wanted to touch him inappropriately. He responded with the center finger gesture of friendship or F%$# you! I can remember exactly what the middle finger means in this country 😉
Anyhow, after some exploring towards the river away from town and away from any discernable rain cover, we got caught in a flash flood monsoon. We then headed back to the center of town which has many coverings that ALL of the local people hang under until the rain stops. Within 2 minutes of monsoon rain exposure my socks were squishy and my underwear became very restrictive with the added weight of the gallons of water seeping through them. Concurrently, I was in need of a public facility. Dillon at this time had the same notion of retreating back to camp. We walked near public restrooms and they had signs requiring payment to relieve oneself.. So we decided to hold it and continue. We had a discussion about this odd occurrence with the public restrooms. In a country where the average income and lifestyle is rather poor, why in the hell would they charge for -public- restrooms? The answer or solution to our discussion was soon to come.
Approaching a main intersection back in town where we knew there were tons of buses to begin the 6km trip back to Ranadi, the faaaaaar part of town where our base is located. However, we needed to cross the busy street. There were tons of people around but none of them where crossing. I pointed out a walk-way about 100 meters away that went up and over the road.
“Hey look, let’s just take that walkway over the road!” “Why is no one using it?” It was actually a rather nice structure, which would totally expedite our time to get to the buses that would scurry us back to base to finally get out of our water logged clothing.
So we drudged up about three stories of stairs. “Finally, almost there!”
“SHIT” “What?” Dillon inquires. “No, I mean Shit, tons and tons of human feces!” So we had just answered a few question that had popped up or rather pooped up. We found the reason no one uses the walk way bridge and also at the same time we had just discovered the unofficial public restroom. Instead of paying to use the restrooms or going into a Caffe’ and pay expensive prices for a meal, the locals had adapted and created a public place where one could relieve themselves near the center of town. It actually was rather impressive, up to 2 or 3 feet where these men -I suppose women too- had made towers upon tower of recycled food. It looked like a magical kingdom of Ant Hills except it smelt not so friendly. Needless to say we did not use the bridge to walk nor did we use the unofficial public restroom… We made it back to base with some knowledge and some disturbing smells and images.
So the moral of this short conquest is if you ever find yourself in down town Honiara and need to go real real bad -numero dos- and you do not want to pay. Simply go to the only overpass bridge and your solution is there!
Last edited by mrocksma on March 7, 2016, 12:19 am