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Two Years & Twice Around the World...  
Nan Dowas - Nan Madol - Pohnpei
MARSHALL ISLANDS Majuro March 11 March 12 March 13 March 14-15 March 16 Alinglaplap March 17 March 18 March 19 March 20 March 21 March 22 March 23 Majuro March 24

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA Kosrae March 25-26 March 27-28 Pohnpei March 29-31 April 1-2 April 3-4 April 5-7 Chuuk April 8-9 April 10-11

GUAM April 12-23
Nan Dowas Temple, Nan Madol Ruins, Pohnpei, March 27, 2003

Federated States of Micronesia Flag FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA: Pohnpei

Mar 29. KOLONIA The sunrise was beautiful on our last day in Kosrae. Our bungalow was facing east and the sun lit up the ocean for a few minutes before disappearing again into some clouds.  We had a final relaxing morning in Kosrae before our departure to Pohnpei, finishing off our coconuts and fruit on the bungalow porch.

Driving to the airport it finally dawned on me why I had felt so strange riding in cars in Kosrae.  They were driving on the right hand side of the road but had right-drive cars.  In Majuro all of the cars had been American left-drive cars.

The flight to Pohnpei took only an hour. We had a young boy, about 10 or 12, sitting in the window seat of our row.  He was all smiles and giggles as we took off.  This may have been one of his first flights from the look of excitement on his face.  I had to make sure he’d done up his seat belt since he couldn’t see the flight attendant and the seating arrangements had separated him from his father.  As we came into Pohnpei I thought I could see the ancient ruins of Nan Madol speckled along the eastern coast.

We’d left Kosrae amidst sporadic heavy showers and were happy to find Pohnpei rain free when we arrived.  The Sea Breeze Hotel picked us up at the airport, by far the largest we’d seen in Micronesia .  The hotel was only a couple of miles from the airport and conveniently located across from the Chinese Embassy.  We were hoping to get our visas for China in Pohnpei so that worked out well. 

After checking into the hotel we went out in search of something to eat.  The map we had was a bit vague and attempting to go only a few blocks we found ourselves at the other end of Kolonia in about a half hour.  There were some festivities going on at the Botanical Gardens.  An onlooker told us it was people from Pingelap Atoll. They were having coconut shucking contests for the men and coconut shredding contests for the women.  The Micronesian women could become very lively when there was music around.  They wore their conservative moo-moo style dresses but could really get those hips moving.  One little gray haired lady was wiggling her way across the grass as the contests were taking place.  She wasn’t the least bit shy until she turned and found a TV camera pointed at her.

Since we were in between the lunch and dinner time periods there wasn’t anything open for a meal. A small store had drinks and snacks but restaurant openings were at least an hour away, at 5pm. The heat and humidity had me knackered so we caught a taxi back to our hotel to wait for its restaurant to open.

Mar 30. KOLONIA Sunday is a quiet day in Micronesia so none of the shops would be open.  We spent the whole day in our hotel watching cable TV and writing in our journals.  Rob had his fever relapsed so it worked out fine with us to have a day off.

Mar 31. KOLONIA On Monday morning we thought we get our passports turned in to the Chinese Embassy for a visa but after waiting for some time outside the embassy a diplomat informed us that they wouldn’t be open due to a cultural holiday.  He was also skeptical about our getting a visa due to the situation in Iraq .  That was discouraging.  It also meant that we had another day to kill in Pohnpei without much to do. 

We made it as far as Café Ole, a small café behind our hotel for a late breakfast.  Some of the shops were open but the museum was closed and Kolonia was looking pretty sleepy.   Rob still had a fever and while he rested at the hotel I went to the Telecommunications Authority, the one place that thankfully doesn’t ever take a holiday in Micronesia , and responded to emails.  The connectivity was surprisingly good, better than we’d had on the trip so far.  I was able to crank through about 10 emails in an hour.

Rob was feeling better in the evening so we tried to make it back to Café Ole for dinner but it closed early for the holiday.  The restaurant at our hotel was fine but the menu was limited so we opted for self catering at the local Wall Mart, no relation to the US chain, with some instant ramen and cheesecake.