- Location: South Pacific Ocean
- Capital: Honiara
- Language: English is the official language
- Population: 523,170
- Total Area: 28,450sq km
- Currency: Solomon Islands Dollar
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 1.66 liters
- The most popular drink: Sol Brew, a local pale lager that has been described as having an aroma of apples and skunk, but somehow finishes nice and crisp. I guess if you’re hot enough from all that sun bathing, any beer will do.
You’d never guess by looking at the beautiful surface of these islands that they were once the location of some of the deadliest and ugliest battles of WWII. But dive into and under the crystal blue waters and you’ll discover the bones of the Second World War: the wreckage of once-mighty battle ships. Wreck diving has become very popular in the Solomon Islands and is the primary industry bringing in tourist dollars all year long. If scuba diving is your thing, I highly recommend you take a trip to these inspiring islands.
When asked to describe the people of the Solomon Islands, my friend was quick to answer, “The friendliest people you will ever meet.” The culture and society is one where affection is freely shown among the people. It is not uncommon to see males as well as females openly show true affection for each other and to visitors as well. Warm and welcoming are two more words my friend used to describe his experience with the people of the Solomon Islands.
Would you believe me if I told you the Solomon Islands are famous for their Tapioca Pudding? No kidding. The people love the stuff and you can find it almost anywhere you go. Another native dish which has quite an acquired taste is Poi. Poi is made from ground up Taro root mixed with water and fermented until it has a nice, acidic and bitter taste. Besides these two local favorites, many of the islands offer other ethnic cuisines from China and Europe, so you’re sure to find tastes that you love.
Like many islands throughout the Oceania region, the Solomon Islands share a love of the Kava drink, made from ground pepper plant root and water. It is not alcoholic, per se, but has a calming and sedative effect, and the root can make your tongue and lips numb. Another local favorite is Sol Brew beer, which is a pale lager. Locals and tourist both enjoy the beer. And more and more wines from New Zealand and Australia have found their way onto the bigger islands, but are enjoyed mostly by tourists.
Celebration and Holidays
A famous festival in the Solomon Islands is the Malaita Province festival, held in the province of its name and celebrated by everyone who lives there. Among the festivities are traditional sporting events, song and dance, and something called shark calling, which is an ancient tradition. Historically, sharks were often worshipped and a few Malaita Islanders still believe spirits reside in them.
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Jenna Bruce, Fairlee, VT
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