Greetings from Pohnpei – Digital Postcard Delivery

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Kaselehie from Pohnpei!

What last week lacked in terms of activity because of the rain was WELL made up for this week! I’m leaving Pohnpei today and getting quite sad about it. I love it here. What’s really great about this island is that it’s basically a rain forest, and has “mountains”. They aren’t the Rockies, but they definitely make for amazing hikes. AND they view softball as their national sport here. Everyone plays, but they said for me to play I had to bring a team. Next time, I’m coming with 8 of my closest friends.

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The first hike was along Sokehs ridge and it was steep and hard, and I should NOT have been wearing flip flops! A few days later, we went to visit the ruins of Nan Madol, which show some pretty sweet construction skills were around in the 1600s. Then icing on the cake was a few waterfall hikes yesterday. One we hiked underneath/behind and the other we got to swim in. There is absolutely no shortage of jaw-dropping views on this tiny island.

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I had to try betel nut and sakau, given their popularity. Betel nut is ubiquitous in this part of the world and I’m happy I tried it, but won’t be picking that habit up. I like my teeth. And sakau here is similar to kava in Fiji. So similar that it actually is kava, just prepared more potently and wrung through hibiscus bark. It is definitely not a “tourist” thing, so I stuck out like a sore thumb when I walked into the place, which was at the end of a dark alley, but was quickly welcomed to a table by a few local women and enjoyed the sakau and the conversation for hours (check out Vagabond3’s great overview of what sakau is here).

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We finished off the week with a traditional pig roast with lots of fun and laughs. I fully believe that if you’re going to choose to eat meat, you need to know the whole process, so I volunteered to arrive at the roast while the pig was still alive. That was definitely a self-dare because I wasn’t sure if I’d be a vegetarian coming out of it, but was happy to see that it went peacefully, and the roast masters made use of all of it. They even insisted on a prayer before eating, not to thank a god, but to thank the pig.

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Next up is about 9 full days at sea, heading back to Fiji, with a quick stop in Nauru, the lease visited country in the world. In Fiji is where I’ll leave the boat and will fly to the remainder of Oceania (Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu).

Lovingly,

Jess

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