Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Sex? male
Profession/occupation? Tourism consultant
Home country? Netherlands
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? A youth spent dreaming about the South Pacific
Did you go alone or in company? alone
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? January 2003
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? yes, but my working permit was facilitated by my employer.
What was your first impression after arrival? Wow, so this is Honiara!
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? Shy friendliness of people, their love of country music, religion, interest in "the waetman".
What did negatively surprise you? The betel nut stains, the ex-rebels in their large trucks, the rubbish "olabaot".
What took longest to get used to? The heat.
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? -
What should you have brought along? A CD or MP3 player
What did you do to prevent malaria? I took pills the first 3 months.
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Honiara, Honiara-City
Other places/provinces where you stayed? Western Province, Rennell-Bellona
Where did you stay? United Church Resthouse
How long did you stay at each location? 6 months
How much did you pay for each? about SBD 65 per night (paid for by employer)
Where did you usually eat? In the evening self-cooked vegetables, tuna, chicken, or simply a sauce bought on the market
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? SBD 20
What local food/beverage did you like most? SolBrew, samosas, coconuts, "fish & chips", etc.
What local food/beverage did you like least? Rice
Mobile phone services
If you brought along a mobile phone, which services did you successfully use? none
Comments? Did not get any coverage
Money matters
Used ABN Amro Bank debit card to get cash at ATMs
Comments? -
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? Just a 5-minute walk from United Church Resthouse
Where did you work? Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau
What was your occupation? Tourism consultant
What were your working days and hours? 8:00 to 17:00
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? Remaining patient.
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? Playing darts with the locals, meeting Swiss and local friends, socialising mainly.
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? July 2003
How long was your stay? 6 months
How do you judge the length of your stay? too short
What did you learn from the locals? To be patient
Your advice to prospective visitors? Go! Just DO it!
What did you miss most when back at home again? The people, the islands, boat trips.
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? The cool weather, the abundance of everything, the privacy.
Would you go back for another stay? Anytime!
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? EUR 4,000
Additional comments? Solomon Islands is a poor country so travel experience or a very open mind is recommended. Stay away from expats and make local friends -- it will make your experience so much better. Get out of Honiara as often as you can, the country is so beautiful and Honiara is so ugly!

Possibly unfamiliar terms:
samosa: a snack (pastry shell with stuffing, see Wikipedia)

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