Monday, November 11, 2013

Good-bye Gizo

11 November 2013
It was time to relax and do not much of anything after our week of intense diving and snorkeling.  We spent Sunday at a resort called Fatboys - not that the people there are large, but that's the name.  It's a fairly small and exclusive resort, but the restaurant is visible from the air (we saw it when we flew in), and the place is known for its mellow atmosphere.  And the fact that the restaurant is built out over the lagoon, so people can watch the fish and the snorkelers, and feel like they're in a boat on the water.

They're just a short boat ride away from the dock in Gizo.  We were the only passengers - the other two people were the captain and someone from the restaurant - and a very large red snapper, who was featured on the menu for lunch.

They normally have burgers on the menu for lunch, but they were out of beef mince.  (Yes, that's what ground beef is called in this part of the world - that Australian influence is apparent.)  So Richard had a big brekkie.

I had what is called a crayfish sandwich - crayfish being what many people call rock lobster.  I guess to differentiate between lobsters with big front claws and lobsters without claws.

Anyway, to make this FABULOUS sandwich:  Grill a lobster tail so it is cooked through and just lightly smokey.  Toast two slices of thick bread.  Put salad green and some slivers of hot pepper on the toast.  Pile on huge chunks of grilled lobster tail, and quartered cherry tomatoes.  Sprinkle with just a soupçon of grated cheese (optional) and pass under a broiler or salamandar to melt the cheese.  Serve with sweet potato fries, and some ketchup in half a clam shell to add to the tropical beach feel.

Wonderful with a fruit smoothie as dessert.


The staff couldn't be more friendly and helpful.  There were only two couples staying at the resort, and then the two of us over for the afternoon.  We talked with the assistant manager, the manager of the restaurant, a few other people - and they provided bread for us to throw to the fish swimming around below the restaurant.  It was funny, most of the fish were what we call sergeant majors (in the Caribbean, anyway).  Just a smallish fish, almost white with some yellow, and heavy black vertical stripes on the torso.  The guys asked what we call them, because they didn't know.  But guests always ask what kind of fish they are, so they've started calling them rugby fish - because they have the big stripes, like rugby shirts, and when you throw bread in the water, the fish all rush over to the one piece, like rugby players rushing to the ball in a scrum.  It was so funny - rugby fish!

After lunch, we walked over the pier to the beach, and just hung out.  A few chairs, a few hammocks - just got comfortable and read, napped, watched the water, watched the rainbows come and go as rain passed in the distance.  

I was relaxing in my hammock, engrossed in my book, when I realized that the waves sounded bigger and closer than they had for a while.  I looked down and sure enough, the tide was coming in (or maybe it was already in).  I glanced over to the beach chairs, and didn't see my flipflops.  So I got up and walked over, figuring maybe Richard moved them.  Nope, one flipflop was soaking wet and behind the table.  Other flipflop was nowhere in sight.  (Richard was also nowhere in sight, but I knew he was in a hammock on the bungalow deck.)

Oh no!  Not that I'm crazy about these flipflops, but I knew I couldn't walk to gravelly roads of Gizo without some kind of shoe on my feet.  So I started running around the beach, peering into the water to see if I could find my flipflop floating around.  Nope, no flipflop.  I went back and forth a few times, and then realized I should also look at the high tide mark on the beach - and sure enough, there was my poor little flipflop, deposited way down beach by the errant tide.  Whew!  I rescued that sad and lonely flipflop and reunited it with its mate, and they were happy.

The wood carvings in the rest of the blog are from the Rekona Lodge, in Gizo, where we've stayed all week.  We had a very nice stay here, and enjoyed it - would totally recommend the place.  They don't have a website, but you can find them on

I found a group of girls, maybe ages 12 or 13, hanging out - they happily posed for a photo for me.  The children here are so photogenic - plus I really liked the school uniform.  Especially after the extremely dumpy uniforms the girls in Australia are forced to wear - ugh, like old lady housedresses, just shapeless.  These at least are somewhat cute, in the pseudo-sailor style.  But the girls who aren't in uniform also were heading home from school - apparently the uniform is not mandatory.  This is definitely a low-income kind of place, and probably qualifies as third world.  So for some families, a mandatory school uniform becomes a hardship.  I'd much rather have a child in my class out of uniform than send them out of school for not being in regulation uniform.  But, well, not every school personnel feels that way.

We spent some time walking around, just people watching.  Gizo is interesting, because there are such a variety of people here - native Solomon Islanders who are very dark skinned, and the occasional blond/blonde Solomon Islander; people from Micronesia, especially Kiribati, with lighter brown skin and silkier dark hair, and more Asiatic eyes; the occasional tourist, like us, looking absolutely out of place; and people from various other places, like the Chinese merchants, who apparently don't spend much time in the street because they don't seem to tan at all.

We took our buddies from the dive shop for a drink (between their testing) and said our good-byes, then I went to pick up my Kiribati blouse, the siputa (or tibuta, according to wikipedia).  Unfortunately, my sweet tailor was very sorry but she had some big orders to get out, and the siputa/tibuta takes a long time to make, and she just couldn't even get started.  I told her not to worry, I'll just have to come back to Gizo to get one made for me.  She immediately laughed and asked when I'll be back, maybe next year?  I told her I didn't know, but it was such a pretty blouse, and we had so much fun on Gizo, we hoped we'd come back.  Ah well, it would have been nice, but I had fun on my quest, and I'll just have to buy some clothes in the next country, right?

We received emails from Solomon Air, our noon flight has been changed to 9:55 AM, so we'll pack tonight and leave early tomorrow morning for the airport - just another boat ride away.  This place is almost like Venice, except the islands are much farther apart - but boat travel is the norm.  We haven't been in a car or bus all week!

We've had a wonderful week in Gizo - this may have been the highlight of our trip in the Solomons!!!

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