Join Date: Aug 2008
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BR - that's a great write up. I have several carvings as well - an ebony gnuzu-gnuzu, kerosene wood slit drum, and several others. It is phenomenal work. And, like you, I found the Solomoners to be very honest in trading. They're great people.
I think you nailed it too in describing it. It is not, by any stretch, a "vacation" spot as you'd think about with the Caribbean. There are very, very few conveniences. No real "resorts", etc. It is wild. Utterly and truly wild. When you leave the main town areas (Honiara, Gizo, etc.), you step back 1,000 years. But that's it's beauty.
We took a 3 day trek across Guadalcanal, over the mountains and through some of the most amazing jungle you'll ever see. We walked through the razor grass, saw ants that were almost 1" long, stumbled upon "bush people" that had absolutely nothing but still invited us to sleep at their homes, came upon foxholes still bounded by barbed wire with hand grenades hanging from the wires. Just incredible stuff.
Also, the diseases you'd see and sometimes catch were insane. However, malaria is not really as bad as it's made out to be. Both my housemate and I had malaria (falciparum - the deadly one you mentioned) only once during the 2 years we were there. And we were not taking any precautionary medicines (we blew that off after 3 months or so). As long as you hammer the malaria the moment you get the symptoms with the heavy duty chloroquine, etc. you'll be okay. It's a hell of a headache, a crazy fever, and some interesting "visions", but it passes if treated. And a nice thing about the falciparum is that once it's gone - it's gone. It doesn't stay in the liver and come back later in life.
Anyway, it's an adventure - it's not a vacation. But it is definitely one of the best adventures you'll ever have.