The Other side of Pacific
The first leg of the journey is complete. It has been a rousing feeling being for the first time in this part of the planet, the Federated States of Micronesia. As our plane glided through the turbulence from the looming typhoon over the Northern Pacific, I was energetic enough to grab hold of my camera phone despite a 7 hour flight time from Guam encapsulating those beautiful images of pure pristinely smiling lagoons and ocean surrounded by virgin coasts garlanding the beautiful sand and sunshine of the North Pacific Ocean.
I had never been to Federated States of Micronesia before other than doing an island hopping stopover on my way to Marshall Islands and Palau. The country is divided into four States; Kosrae, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Yap. I was anchored to Pohnpei, the heart of Capital and the township of busy island life. Although vastly different from the extravagance of skyscrapers and heavy commercialization in the developed world, Pohnpei is a small island with commercial activities limited to meet the needs of its people in a modest way. There is no comparison to bigger states because of its own unique geographical dimensions, the socio-economic conditions and its own way of life that offers necessities in equilibrium with nature. However the American lifestyle, particularly in politics, culture and culinary dovetails towards the greater influence of its former colonizing partner.
Nestled in a sloppy hill, the Rainbow Cliff Hotel provided basic amenities and took the best care of our stay; we were able to conduct business with ease with a homely feeling. There were places to eat; the one that most fascinated me was the ‘Arnolds’ that had many vegetarian options to look at. Accompanying me in this trip was two of my female colleagues with whom we were fortunate to meet the Governor of the Pohnpei State along with other senior national and state government officials as part of our work.
On specific recommendations from the locals to visit the nan-madol, we set off in a rental car during one of the late afternoons hoping to get a glimpse of the beauty of the world famous heritage site but unfortunately we miscalculated the distance and despite driving for an hour we were still far from the site and had to come back in time for a dinner reception organised later in the evening as part of our thanks giving to officials in FSM.
The trip to FSM concludes today but memories shall live forever and more so the humility of the people, the love and affection shown by the locals and a warm welcome that we have been receiving from all ends of the society here.