30/03/2017 - 18/04/2017
This was a trip to the South Pacific on the other side of the International Data Line. I have previously visited these countries. Countries visited were Fiji, Nauru, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. I have now visited all of the WHS and TBT regions in these countries except for the TBT Eastern region of Fiji.<br /> <br /> In Nauru, I visited the detention camps for asylum seekers and refugees. I talked to some of the guards and refugees. I learned that some of the camps are open, and the refugees get a check every two weeks from the Australian government. This is a complex situation. I also spoke to the Director of Immigration for Nauru who I had "met" during email chats on my visa. <br /> <br /> In Tonga, I appreciated the traditional society with its deep Christian roots and visited all of the historical sites. I enjoyed the domestic pigs wandering around. I marveled at a funeral with a marching band of 30 to 35 members. I learned about Rugby sevens during a talk to the owner of a bar and restaurant on Vavau. And I had some good conversations with American Peace Corps volunteers. They were hard working idealists. <br /> <br /> In the Solomon Islands, I enjoyed my time in Choiseul. Taro Island was a great place to meet locals. I chatted with a woman who was using an 80 year old Singer sewing machine similar to my mother's Singer which would be almost 70 years old. I also talked to people installing the solar power installation for this community of 400 people. It was a challenge to get to Rennell Island with its famous Tegano lake, a World Heritage Site. In both Taro and Rennell, you land on a grass strip in a Twin Otter. This is fun, and always a real flying experience. Nice there are no security checks on the domestic flights.<br /> <br /> In Vanuatu on Espiritu Santo, there were WWII artifacts to see including a crashed fighter plane. Near Port Vila is Chief Roi Mata's Domain, a World Heritage Site.