A truck with its tray bearing twenty or thirty people is a daily occurrence here in Honiara and indeed, I have between ten and twenty on the back of mine most mornings but two or more loaded trucks in a row with sounding horns and kastom dress, usually lends to a more special occasion. A wedding or perhaps securing bride price (something like getting engaged but with physical goods exchanged for the privilege) warrants such a display and while not quiet daily, these still occur perhaps weekly and it is another aspect of this place I'll miss.
While on things that I'll miss, it would be bereft of me not to mention the Honiara black market. Actually one of many but this one is on my street corner and probably the biggest. Despite the title it's a rather friendly place really and while the staff are generally inebriated, they are quick with a wave and 'good evening' when off duty. I am sure many expats would disagree with me here especially women who tend to get cat calls in the area but me, well, I fit right in.
So how does it work? Well, here in the Solomons it is illegal to sell alcohol after six pm or on Sundays and with a drinking culture like the one here, this encourages more entrepreneurial folk to satisfy demand in the market of disorganised drinkers without the foresight to pre purchase during business hours. The black market is illegal but frequented by just about everyone including police so though raids do occur, it's up and running again within the hour, business as usual. Really it's just a cul-de-sac where eskis are stashed in bushes or more blatant and you drive on past and wait for someone to try to get your business. On duty, the first thing you get from the boys in the crowd is "S.B, S.B, Solbrew, cold one". With a bit of basic Pijin or holding up fingers you can order your drinks and the lads will scatter to their stash, returning with generally cold beverages, a quick exchange of cash and you're on your way.
Like a crazy drive through bottle shop with a unique charm and again just part of life here. Haha it says something about my character I guess, that I'm more at ease with the folks here than those of the expat haunts and have even heard 'white man blo iume kam' or 'theres our white man' as I head past.
Now this one is sure to bring a tear to the eye reminiscing down the line.