Sunday, June 23, 2013
|Retrieved from Wikimedia commons|
Started 7:24 A.M.
Greetings from Micronesia! My plan for these blog posts while I’m here is to have a summary of each day. I’ll write things at different times as the day goes on and I will post various pictures. After 6 P.M. Micronesia time, we generally have the evening off, and I’ll try to write a more detailed summary of the day with perhaps an interesting blogging topic about some aspect of Micronesia. Just a little background: The Federated States of Micronesia contains four island-states. From east to west, these are Kosrae, Pohnpei (where we are staying at), Chuuk, and Yap. In addition to these four states, there are hundreds of little islands: around 607 (including the four states) that compromise Micronesia.
The population of the entire country is 106,104 (2013 estimate), and the land area is 702 square kilometers (271 square miles). The population density is 158.1 people per square kilometer (409.6 people per square mile). The official currency is the U.S. dollar, and the GDP (PPP) is 3,000 dollars. The population is almost exclusively Pacific Islander with a small Asian minority, but it is important to break the “Pacific Islander” label into the individual ethnicities of the population. There’s a whole bunch of useful information on the Wikipedia page, so if you want a more in-depth discussion of the country, check it out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federated_States_of_Micronesia
Breakfast is at 8! See ya later!
Finished 7:57 A.M.
Started 8:50 A.M.
Breakfast was pretty good. We had a salad mixed with bananas, oranges, some leafy vegetable that is found on the island (it tastes like spinich), eggs with a little pepper and milk, and toast on white bread with a little bit of butter. I had some soy juice, which isn’t too bad.
There is a Catholic Church service that I am leaving for at 9:15, and the actual service starts at 9:30. It will be interesting to see the service. I’m wearing the nicest clothes I brought (a Hawaiian shirt and some very thin, waterproof pants, whose only redeeming factor for church clothing is that they are not shorts). It has rained intermittently at time this morning, but it was raining constantly yesterday afternoon when we got here, heavy at times. By the way, I am counting this as “day 1” because it is the first full day we have spent here.
We left the Seattle airport at noon on Thursday the 20th, and we got here at ~4 pm on Sunday the 23rd. We flew from Seattle to Los Angeles, then had a two or three hour layover before flying to Honolulu. Then, we had a seven hour layover and tried to sleep in the airport (I might have gotten 30 minutes of sleep, for which I feel very thankful) and then embarked on our 11 hour flight to Pohnpei.
There were some sobering health moments on the plane. Before we boarded the plane from Honolulu to Majuro or Kwajalein (I can’t remember which… the plane went to several small islands before reaching Pohnpei), an elderly woman was moaning at the Honolulu airport and was in a great deal of distress with her daughter by her side trying to comfort her. Close to when we were getting off the plane, the one flight attendant asked the daughter if her mother had moved at all during the flight, and the daughter said she hadn’t. She had just assumed she was sleeping and extremely tired, which was a perfectly reasonable assumption given her physical state. The daughter then tried to wake her up, but she did not wake up. When we landed, a local ambulance was called and she was taken on the tarmac where the medics performed CPR. That’s all I know, but unfortunately she likely passed away. Another elderly man was picked up from Kwajalein (I think, but it could be Majuro). The only consoling fact was that the woman who died was in an enormous amount of pain and misery before she passed away, so I hope she is in a better place, and the man was on the way to get some assistance. I got to go to church now. Goodbye.
Finished 9:02 A.M.
Started 10:45 A.M.
I just got back from church. What an amazing experience. I’m not religious or atheist (I actually consider atheism a type of theism because you believe in the absence of supernatural things), I’m just open to all interpretations (society labels this as agnostic, but I feel as though agnosticism is highly individualized by nature, so I don’t like using ‘agnostic’ as a generalized label), and I think this was one of the most spiritually fulfilling events of my life. I’ll have to take some time to think about it, and I’ll write more about it this evening after we eat dinner. For now, I’m headed to a class on the history of Pohnpei, then lunch, then a hike, then some science review stuff, then some government review stuff, and then we got dinner.
Here are some pictures that I’ve uploaded at 9:49 P.M. These pictures are not of the church… they are outside. There was a cool monument that was built that I took pictures of. I think this was built by the Spanish, but I’m not sure.
|Looking at the monument|
|Some of the students on our trip|
|Our group! (minus Julian Sachs, the group leader and a professor of chemical oceanography at the UW)|
Finished 10:51 A.M.
Started 2:11 P.M.
Goin on a hike. Deuces.
Finished 2:11 P.M.
Started 4:12 P.M.
Finished the hike. Absolutely amazing. I have a class about the Pohnpei government in 18 minutes, which will last from 4:30 to 6. Right after that, I have dinner, and after that we have some free time. It’s pretty rainy here, but the rain has been relatively light. Yesterday, the rain was moderate to heavy at times… although nothing I haven’t seen before. I’m hoping to see a crazy intense rainstorm sometime while I’m here.
Here are some pictures, which I uploaded at 9:04 P.M.
|An awesome waterfall|
|A weird kid|
|A dog (there are TONS of dogs on this island)|
|A miniature figure of Jesus|
|A beautiful flower. There were lots of these on the trip. I haven’t identified it yet… hopefully I can do that soon.|
Ended 4:14 P.M.