Honiara – Chinatown
After another beautiful morning by the water, I headed to the city center where I explored some off streets and looked for the main north/south bus, but as I wandered into a government building, I was advised to avoid that route. Instead, I walked atop a hill where I observed an open air memorial service at the large community church, then visited the National Library on the other side of the hill, only to find humidity damaged decades old archives and numerous diligent students seeking shade from the blistering sun. After browsing, I crossed the river and found lunch at the Chinese restaurant where I talked to one of the owners and learned about how a Chinatown came to exist in the Solomon Islands. Her personal story and the story of how others arrived and now can’t leave due to economic anomalies between available opportunities in China and the Solomon Islands was quite revealing. Most are forced to be wealthy shop owners in SI because returning to China without a Chinese education would mean poverty. Then I met with the British backpacker from yesterday to evaluate new housing options which he researched and agreed to rendezvous the next morning to get outside Honiara.
Restaurant staff are some of the best people to talk to because they need to be friendly, so it’s easy to start a conversation with them, and some are quite aware of their community. You can start by asking simple questions that indicate you’re a traveler (although that might be obvious in some cases, still ask so you can start the conversation.)