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    • Day 2

      Kosrae to Pohnpei

      July 19, 2003 in Micronesia ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

      Continental Micronesia | KSA/PNI
      Economy Class
      N14250 | Boeing 737-800
      ATD/1315 | ATA/1417

      Transit passengers were allowed to disembark at the airport. There were no other aircraft on the tarmac.

      In the check-in hall, there were several vendors. Most of them sold tangerines (I later found out that they were widely regarded as the best around), chili lime sauce, and various trinkets. One also had a mangrove crab on sale for $8, and another sold jars of local shellfish preserved in a lime juice-based brine. Even the Captain and First Officer disembarked to buy tangerines. I took the chance to chat with them, and they said that they flew all six sectors through to Guam. The Captain said that this wasn’t too tiring because the skies and airports were uncongested and there weren’t too many hassles to deal with. As with Majuro, the hall was filled with people. Over the PA system, a CO staff was asking for volunteers to offload themselves because the flight was oversold.

      I made my way back to the departure hall (which had only two check-in counters), past security and back onto the aircraft where I lined up to use the lavatory. Inside the galley, Evelyn was cutting slices off a quarter of a watermelon, and she offered me some, which I gratefully accepted. As soon as I got back to my seats, I warned the large guy at the window that the plane was likely to be full. To my surprise, no one claimed the seat between us, and I could count about ten empty seats when the door was closed. I wondered why they were making announcements in the terminal asking people to volunteer to fly another day, and I guessed it was because of weight restrictions. This was confirmed later – a day after my arrival in PNI I learned that quite a number of passengers were denied boarding at KSA, including one of my client’s staff who was boarding there.

      The aircraft taxied to the other end of the runway, turned around, and the pilots revved up the engines while the brakes were still on. This caused the aircraft to shake quite a bit. They then disengaged the brakes, and the engines roared as we began the takeoff roll. Takeoff was very powerful and we were up in no time. I later found out that because the runway at KSA is short, even the smallest amount of rain would cause some CO pilots to overfly KSA. There was a slight drizzle that day, and the pilots must have been concerned. This probably also explains the denied boarding at KSA. I also learned from someone at PNI that CO recently told KSA that they must improve the runway, otherwise they may consider withdrawing service. Apparently, Chuuk was given this same ultimatum a few years ago and they now have a much better runway.

      Flying time to PNI was about 56 minutes. The flight attendants came round with snacks. Ron distributed the mini pretzels and he gave a chuckle about my “slumming it” comment when he handed me my pack. Evelyn took my drink order, and she laughed heartily when I asked for watermelon juice. In the end I settled for yet another diet coke, and I didn’t get the whole can this time.

      We descended through significant cloud cover, and it was a little bumpy. Like KSA, Pohnpei was very mountainous and lush. It was beautiful. We made a hard-ish landing, and when Ron made his welcome announcement he admonished us to be careful when opening the overhead compartments because our hand carry bags “would definitely have shifted after that landing”.

      I disembarked from the aircraft onto a wet tarmac and walked to the terminal. There were several dozen people on the roof of the terminal looking at us. Because a large number disembarked here, immigration was slow to process all of us. The immigration officer was very polite and he took the time to ask me how to pronounce my name. He even asked for my permission to stamp my passport (erm… of course you can, after all how many people have FSM immigration stamps in their passports?) I don’t think he had encountered a Singapore passport before, so he took a bit longer with mine. Despite the short delay in getting past immigration, this was a refreshing change from the usual surly and sometimes downright rude immigration officers one often meets in the US. After that, I went into the baggage claim area. As with the other airports, the baggage claim consisted of a metal counter about six feet long. Only a limited number of bags could be loaded on, and many people crowded round it. I learned later that some bags were not delivered, but the owners of those bags were not able to report it before the aircraft took off again. They did get their bags the next day, though. As I did not check-in any bags, I went through customs and into the arrival hall. There was a cheery chaos there because so many were arriving for the conference. There were people greeting the delegates, and instead of leis (as is the practice in Hawaii) they presented them with a headband of flowers. Even though I wasn’t a delegate, I still got one. I waited for my client’s staff to come out into the arrival hall, and once we were all accounted for, we packed into a van to get to our hotel.

      While in PNI, I found out that one of my client’s staff used to be a GUM-based flight attendant some time ago. She told me stories about her time with CO when they flew 727s on the island hopper, including how Micronesian passengers sometimes chewed betelnut on board and spat them out into the airsick bags, hairy landings in heavy rain, and pilots having to abort landings because of wild pigs on the runway.
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    • Day 2


      July 19, 2003 in Micronesia ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

      Our first afternoon and our first full day were spent scouting out Kolonia and doing dry runs of my presentation in the conference room.

      On my first evening, I ate dinner at the restaurant at Cliff Hotel, where I was staying. I ate a steamed crab, which Pohnpei is famous for. While eating, Craig Reffner, a friend of a friend, came by and sought me out. We got to know each other while I ate. On my last evening in Pohnpei, I went to his house for a home cooked dinner. Craig gave me a lot of insights into the islands, the way of life, and the issues they face. Apart from Craig, I also interacted with a hotel staff who brought us sakau, a guy who gave me a ride in his truck when I hiked to Sokehs Rock, and a former Peace Corp volunteer who married a local.

      The infrastructure in Kolonia was a mixed bag:

      - The roads in Kolonia were badly potholed and waterlogged, but there is one nice sealed cross-island road maintained by the US military for strategic purposes.

      - Many of the cars are imported used from Japan, and they have steering wheels on the right. There wasn't a lot of traffic and most drivers steered their cars to avoid potholes. It took me a while to realize that people were actually supposed to drive on the right.

      - The most impressive building in town was FSM Telecom, but the roads in front were in poor shape. I popped in to purchase a $20 calling card to call Jeff. It did not work. Other people also reported the same issue.

      - We attended the opening ceremony for the conference in a brand spanking new gymnasium built by the Taiwanese in the hope of securing favorable fishing rights. The opening ceremony began in the afternoon. When we stepped out after sundown, it was pitch black with no street lighting.

      - There were a number of rusted out ship hulls in the bay.

      - There are no vets on the island. Once a year, a vet will come in from Guam. Some expats take their pets to Guam for treatment.

      Foodwise, I was really surprised to see how cheap the meals were. A set lunch at the nicest restaurant cost only $5.50, and with it we got either fried lapu lapu fish or chicken, rice, a side of tuna sashimi, a cup of vegetable soup from a can, and shredded cabbage with thousand island dressing. However, meals utilizing produce not from the islands (e.g., beef) were much more expensive. I also stepped into a grocery and found a depressingly small amount of fresh vegetables on display. According to Craig, only the hardiest vegetables - namely carrots and cabbage - are imported because they can survive the boat journey over.

      Without doubt, the star of the show was the mangrove crab. I ate a number of crab meals, both at the hotel restaurants and at meals provided as part of the conference. The crabs were huge and succulent.

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    • Day 3

      The Village

      July 20, 2003 in Micronesia ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

      On our second day, my clients staff Tony, Cheryl, and Michelle trooped out to The Village, which is a high end resort, for lunch. The views from there were quite impressive. My friend Scott, who used to live on Pohnpei, asked me to look out for a three legged dog at The Village that was once his. I was happy to report back to him that the dog was healthy and happy.

      On the way back to Kolonia, we stopped at a village that was known for its handicrafts. A purchased a couple of souvenirs.

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    • Day 5

      Nan Madol

      July 22, 2003 in Micronesia ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

      The standout sightseeing highlight of this trip was, without question, Nan Madol, a fort-like series of stone structures just off the coast of Pohnpei and about two hours by boat from the main town of Kolonia. It was built around 800 years ago in a remarkable feat of engineering, as the basalt used in its construction is not found anywhere nearby. The people who lived there apparently did not leave artifacts, so there are a lot of unanswered questions about the origins and purpose of the place.

      I went to Nan Madol with my client's staff - Tony, Cheryl, and Michelle on a half-day trip. The small boat took about two hours through waters that got somewhat rough once we went past the reef barrier. Approaching Nan Madol was one of those surreal "whoa" moments; I needed a few moments to take it all in. But then something black and slimy distracted me... sea cucumbers... thousands of them in the knee high water where our boat anchored. I grabbed a couple and started a squirting war!

      We spent a couple of hours exploring the ruins. We didn't really know much about the complex and what it was used for, but it was still an awe inspiring trip.

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    • Day 5

      Sokehs Rock

      July 22, 2003 in Micronesia ⋅ 🌧 26 °C

      I spent a sweltering afternoon hiking up a ridge to an overlook with a view of Sokehs Rock, Kolonia Town and the airport. Along the way, I came across several rusting old tanks from World War II.

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    • Day 530

      Spotting Kosrae (Tofol)

      December 23, 2016 in Micronesia ⋅ 🌧 26 °C

      I love pulling islands out of the sea. After 5 days and 511 nm I arrived at #Kosrae, the #jewel of the #FederatedStatesofMicronesia I hear there's treasure hidden here somewhere. #sailthepacific #sailing #imonaboatRead more

    • Day 1

      Neiwe, Federated States of Micronesia

      May 13, 2018 in Micronesia ⋅ ⛅ 86 °F

      A Coconut Tree inside of a coconut? I know it not the same as The Virgin Mary on a pretezel.. But??

      Amy Slife  For Bubba it is the Virgin Mary - Coconuts, coconuts, coconuts!!!


    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Federated States of Micronesia, Mikronesien, Micronesia, Federasi Mikronesia, Mikronesië, Maekronehyia, Föderierte Staaten von Mikronesien, ሚክሮኔዢያ, Estatos Federatos de Micronesia, ميكرونيزيا, مايكرونيزيا, Estaos Federaos de Micronesia, Mikronesiya, Микронезия Федератив Штаттары, Maykronisya, Мікранезія, Микронезия, Обединени Щати, Mikironesi, মাইক্রোনেশিয়া, མའི་ཀོ་རོ་ནེ་ཤི་ཡ།, মাইক্রোনেশিয়া তিলপারাষ্ট্র, Mikronezia, Mikronezija, Микронези, Micronèsia, Микронезин Федеративни штаташ, Pederadong Estados sa Micronesia, ویلایەتە فیدراڵییەکانی مایکرۆنیزیا, Mikroneziya, Mikronézie, Микронезин Федеративлă Штачĕсем, Mikronesiens Forenede Stater, Dewletê Mikronezyayê Federali, މައިކްރޮނޭޝިއާ, Mikronesia nutome, Μικρονησία, Mikronezio, Microneesia, Mikronesia, Estaus Federaus de Micronésia, میکرونزی, Mikoronesii, Micronésie, Micronèsie, Mikroneezje, An Mhicrinéis, Na Meanbh Eileanan, માઇક્રોનેશિયા, Steatyn Conastit y Vynneeys, Mikuronesiya, Federalne Države Mikronezije, מיקרונזיה, माइक्रोनेशिया, Mikwonezi, Mikronézia, Szövetségi Államok, Միկրոնեզիա, Pederado nga Es-estado ti Mikronesia, Federata Stati di Mikronezia, Mikrónesía, ミクロネシア連邦, მიკრონეზია, Микронезия Федерациялық Штаттары, មិក្រូនេស៊ី, ಮೈಕ್ರೋನೇಶಿಯಾ, 미크로네시아, مایکرۆنیزیا, Statys Kesunys Mikronesi, Foederatae Micronesiae Civitates, Mikuronezya, Federaol Staote vaan Micronesië, Mikronezi, ໄມໂຄນິເຊຍ, Mikronēzija, Mikrônezia, Микронезија, മൈക്രോനേഷ്യ, Микронезийн Холбооны Улс, मायक्रोनेशिया, Persekutuan Mikronesia, Mikronesja, မိုက်ခရိုနီးရှားနိုင်ငံ, ایالات فدرال میکرونزی, Eben Oning, Micronesia Liân-pang-kok, Mikronesiaføderasjonen, माइक्रोनेसिया, Micronesië, Eʼeʼaahjí Tónteel bikáaʼgi Kéyah Yázhí dah Ndaaʼeełgo Ałhidadiidzooígíí, ମାଇକ୍ରୋନେସିଆ, Микронезийы Федеративон Штаттæ, ਮਾਈਕ੍ਰੋਨੇਸ਼ੀਆ ਦੇ ਸੰਘੀ ਰਾਜ, Fedaraeted Staits o Mikronesya, Federalne Stany Mikronezji, مائکرونیشیا, Micronésia, Mikrunisya, Mikoroniziya, Micronezia, Mikoronesiya, Микронезия Федератив Штаттара, Stati Fidirati di Micronesia, Federatit States o Micronesie, Mikronezïi, Mikronezėjė, Feterisitete o Micronisia, Féderasi Mikronésia, மைக்ரோனேஷியா, మైక్రోనేశియ, ไมโครนีเซีย, Mga Estadong Pederado ng Mikronesya, Mikolonisia, Mikronezya Federal Eyaletleri, Микронезия Федератив Штатлары, مىكرونېزىيە فېدېراتسىيىسى, Мікронезія, Mikroneziya Federativ Shtatlari, Mi-crô-nê-xi-a, Smala-Seanuäns, Réew yu Bennoo yu Mikronesi, Микронезин Ниицәтә Орн Нутгуд, Orílẹ́ède Makoronesia, 密克羅尼西亞聯邦, 密克罗尼西亚, i-Micronesia

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