Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Visitor
Sex? female
Profession/occupation? medical student
Home country? Australia
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? reading an article
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? December 2005
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? no
What was your first impression after arrival? So many black, black Islanders!
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? everybody so relaxed, nobody ever appears stressed
What did negatively surprise you? the rubbish lying around everywhere
What took longest to get used to? being dirty and sweaty
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? going out dancing at night
What should you have brought along? more gifts for people
What did you do to prevent malaria? mefloquine
Place and province where you spent most of your time? New Georgia, Western Province
Other places/provinces where you stayed? [-]
Where did you stay? Backpacker rooms, Lodge
How long did you stay at each location? 6.5 weeks
How much did you pay for each? SBD 55/night
Where did you usually eat? market food, or at lodge
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? SBD 20-40
What local food/beverage did you like most? fish and chips
What local food/beverage did you like least? their lettuce tastes odd
Mobile phone services
If you brought along a mobile phone, which services did you successfully use? [-]
Comments? [-]
Money matters
What did you use to get cash at banks and/or automatic teller machines (ATMs)? Have you been able to make cashless payments for certain goods/services?
Travellers Cheques in AUD to get cash and pay for goods/services
Comments? Sometimes had to pay large amounts in cash, for e.g. trips.
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? walk, bus exists but is very unreliable
Where did you work? Helena Goldie Hospital
What was your occupation? medical student
What were your working days and hours? 7.30am (non-compulsory Lotu), then 9-12am, or 3pm, depending on schedule
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? inexperience and sometimes lack of supervision
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? dive, walk, lounge, snorkel, swim, sleep, read, chat to people
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? February 2006
How long was your stay? 7 weeks
How do you judge the length of your stay? just about right
What did you learn from the locals? patience, calm, stoicism, contentedness, curiosity
Your advice to prospective visitors? get involved in everything. talk to the locals. don't hesitate. dive.
What did you miss most when back at home again? the relaxed pace. lack of red tape. the view. the smiling black faces. the kids.
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? feeling clean. dressing up. family and friends.
Would you go back for another stay? yes
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? AUD 4,500
Additional comments? Don't stick with the ex-pats and other med students too much, without getting to know the locals. Feels safer and more comfortable but you'll miss out on meeting some amazing people that you may never forget.

Possibly unfamiliar terms:
lotu   (pidgin) religious service

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