Our first day in Kolonia, Pohnpei was a walking marathon. After living for four years on a very FLAT atoll where the hot sun shines 360 days of the year (which doesn’t make for comfortable walking) the misty hills of Kolonia are a definite treat. The island is basically a rain forest with every kind of lush plant you can think of. Such a wonderful change from just palm trees and pandanus plants.
Our mission the first day was just to reconnoiter. Find the grocery stores, the internet, the laundry and the hardware stores. Our new friend Ben guided us for part of the day and we explored on our own the rest of the day.
Pohnpei, like a lot of the Pacific Islands, was once occuppied by the Japanese. The Japanese took over a lot of the Pacific Islands prior to their gearing up for World War II. Consequently, a lot of the war was fought in these islands. As you walk around it is not unusal to come across relics of those times.
A couple more interesting structures were the old Public Works Testing Lab. For my former fellow employees from Orange County…. you think you had it bad!
And this beautiful church caught my eye.
On our first day we actually ran into someone we knew! The sister of a very good friend of ours in Majuro now lives here. Her husband, Steve, happened to drive by us and recognizing us from Marjuro, stopped. He settled us in his car,gave us a quickie tour of Kolonia and dropped us back at last shopping spot with the promise to meet with us again tomorrow.
We finally got back to the boat by dinnertime. Our next adventure was a visit to a neighboring yacht. The owners were away, but the Captain, Ron, an Aussie, plied us with a wonderful gin and tonic and introduced us to one of his new island friends, Cumer, a Pohnpein.
It truly is a small world. Cumer attended college in La Grande, Oregon at Eastern Oregon University. I was born in La Grande, Oregon. My grandfather was a Professor at EOU and both my parents went to college there!
During the evening’s discussion Doug brought up his chance meeting with a guy from Pohnpei a year ago in the Honolulu Airport. The reason he remembers this guy, besides having a drink with him while waiting for the plane, was that the guy had lots of dive gear he needed to unload. Doug described this guy to Cumer thinking he may know him. Not only did he know him but it turns out it is Cumer’s brother, David! Do you believe in fate?
Day two in Kolonia was another walking marathon. We returned to the grocery store where we had spotted some nice lettuce for our Green Smoothies then headed for the main park in town, Spanish Wall. The wall is what is left of Fort Alfonso XII, built in 1887 by the Spanish during their brief occupation of Pohnpei. There we met up with Steve and Ami. Ami works for an agency that promotes social changes in the islands. This particular event she was MC-ing today was the introduction of Champion Condoms. Like most places in the world, there is the problem of AIDS, STP’s and unwanted pregnancies here. There were the obligatory speeches, food and some local entertainment. I especially enjoyed the dancing.