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Two Years & Twice Around the World...  
Weno Store - Chuuk
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
Store, Weno, Chuuk, April 8, 2003

Federated States of Micronesia Flag FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA: Chuuk

April 8. WENO We woke up and packed our things before hauling our boxes down to the post office to mail all of our handicrafts. The service was always friendly but also very relaxed which made us nervous but so far all of our packages from the US Island Postal service had made it home so we were hopeful that these would as well.  We had our last breakfast at Café Ole and when we left the waitress asked how long we were staying. When we told her we were going to Chuuk that morning she shook our hands.  

Our hotel dropped us off at the airport and it was the slowest and most painful check in yet.  They had two security checkers and two people at the counter for business class customers but in regular coach we had one guy doing both the security check and seating assignments.  He did a pretty good look in our bags but was nice about it. 

The hand baggage security check was nuts.  Not only did they open everything, turn it anything electronic, flip through books, etc. when we entered the waiting area but we were "randomly" selected along with every other white passenger boarding the plane for a second security check when boarding began.  They turned on all of the same electronics that they had turned on 20 minutes earlier and flipped through the same books they'd flipped through 20 minutes earlier.  It really crossed the line into being ridiculous.  

The flight to Chuuk was only an hour.  Boarding the Continental Island Hopper was always comic.  Everyone had changed seats with everyone else so many times that it was sometime difficult to claim your seat or you would set off and domino effect that impacted half the plane.  The window seat in our row was occupied by a little boy of maybe 10 who was separated from his father.  He didn't speak and English but smiled at us.  I felt bad we hadn't let his father take one of our seats once we realized this must have been one of the boy's only flying experiences.  I made sure he buckled his seatbelt before takeoff.  He clutched the arm rests and got wide eyed as the plane took off, finally giggling when we were in the air.  He was just as enthusiastic about our landing.  It was a short runway in Chuuk and that jet came almost to a screeching halt.

Our hotel picked us up at the airport which turned out to be funny because they were practically across the street.  It was hot so I was still happy not to have had to carry my backpack.  The rooms in the hotel were pleasant, not fancy but neat and clean.  However, the cable access deteriorated to just MTV, CNN, and ESPN, supplemented with videos of bad American movies.  

Our time in Chuuk was more limited and most of it would be spent diving so we got busy with our errands right away.  The first order of business was to get our license plate.  But, the guidebook was outdated and we didn't actually find the Police Station until after it had closed.   We were still able to stock up on breakfast supplies at a nearby supermarket.  The amount of plastic packaging was disturbing me more and more.  They had aisles of these new packaged snacks.  As if the plastic bags were a big enough environmental hazard they had to put them in hard plastic cans that look cool.  In a place that has no way to recycle they will become lagoon trash or get burned - both unpleasant solutions to the trash problem.

Weno, like all of the other "big cities" we'd passed through in Micronesia, was an industrial zone of Mobil oil tanks, cargo ships, hotels, stores, fish markets, machinery yards, etc.  We walked down as far the the Truk Stop hotel where the buildings started to thin out at the end of town.  They offered diving trips and had an appealing restaurant.  We hadn't eaten since Pohnpei so we camped in their lobby for about an hour waiting for the restaurant to open at 5:00.  It had a fairly good pizza and a nice view of the lagoon but what we didn't plan on was that the taxis in Weno stop operating at 5pm.  There wasn't actually a taxi service in town so you couldn't call a taxi.  It wouldn't have been such a big deal to walk back to our hotel since Weno is only about a mile long.  But, it is known for having a rowdy nightlife.  Even the locals didn't advise us to walk at night and the man the register at the restaurant actually gave us a ride back to our hotel in his car.     

April 9. WENO We took a taxi all the way down to the Blue Lagoon for lunch and worked our way back through town to run all of our errands.  Next to the Blue Lagoon we paid a visit to the Chuuk Coconut Authority.  There were a couple of men in the office that offered us some complimentary soaps but said that is all they had for sale at the moment.  The factory had suffered a fire and they were working on getting money together to get it back into production again.  They were hopeful that it would be back running in a few months.  

The Blue Lagoon was a nice resort but wasn’t very busy.  We ate lunch at the hotel restaurant over looking the lagoon.  The food wasn’t anything special but it was a nice place to relax.  The gift shop was the only place that we could find that sold the Chuukese devil masks but we didn’t see any as nice as the ones we had seen in the restaurants around town.  There was no way to call a taxi for a ride back to town so the hotel shuttle gave us a ride back up to the Truk Stop Hotel.  Rob had called the dive shop there in the morning and someone was supposed to be there all day so we could sort out our gear and dive schedule but we found the shop empty.  Across the street we bought some fresh local bread and walked a bit further up the street to stop back by the Police Station. We found the Administrative office open but they didn’t have any license plates handy and asked us to come back on Friday morning.  

We hit the post office next, then the visitors' center and museum. The museum wasn't much to get excited about. The visitors' center directed us to a couple of other handicraft shops in Weno but we didn't have much luck finding them.  After another attempt at finding someone at the Truk Stop dive shop we gave us and went back to our hotel.   Fortunately the dive master called that evening and confirmed that we were set to go diving the next morning.