Sunday, August 10, 2008

Island Fever

Have you ever heard of cabin fever? It’s when you have been cooped up indoors for such a long period of time that you just crave for a change of environment. Being on an island for seven months makes me feel that way. Don’t get me wrong, Marshall Islands is a beautiful place to live in. It’s quaint, peaceful, pollution-free and generally crime-free. But after you get your fill of the beach and the open sea, there’s really not much else to do around the island. For a country that used to be a U.S. territory, it is not very developed especially when it comes to recreation.

Downtown Majuro, MI's capital

There are no malls or department stores, no high-rise buildings or fancy restaurants, no parks or museums, no sports facilities. The nicest-looking building is the National Government Office where the President holds office. There are three hotels, all three-star in rank run by Americans and Taiwanese businessmen. There are no high-end beach resorts either. There’s a resort on Eneko Island that offers modest accommodations but all the other islands are pretty much uninhabited. Hubby’s boss owns another island, Enimanit which has small nipa huts imported all the way from the Philippines that provide shade and serve as picnic areas but this island has no electricity so visitors can only stay until sunset.

the rarely used Convention Center

There are many small grocery stores and a couple of big supermarkets. There are a few clothing shops that sell mostly muumuus (a dressier version of the housedress or daster, it’s the Marshallese women’s favorite attire) and simple casual clothing.

Native Chapel in Laura Beach

The country is a group of small islands, the biggest and most populous is Majuro. The three hotels have their own restaurants. There is a Japanese restaurant, a number of Chinese restos, a Filipino eatery and a Vietnamese take-out place.

There is cable TV but there are not too many channels too choose from. There’s Channel V, MTV, CNN, Fox News, Star Movies, Star World, BBC News, Knowledge Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Australia TV, ESPN and a bunch of Chinese channels. There is TFC too. However, if it rains too much, reception becomes snowy or disappears altogether for a couple of days.

the biggest & tallest, National Government Building

Marshall Islands definitely needs some dire sprucing up. The island would be a great tourist destination if only it had the attractions for beach-loving travelers. I haven’t gone diving or snorkeling but I hear that the corals and underwater life are a sight to see. The beaches are clear white sand and turquoise waters, it’s sad that most of the local people are not conscious about maintaining cleanliness though. The beaches near the city already have some pieces of trash littered about the shore. The outer islands are better preserved. Visitors are required to bring their trash back with them after staying on the smaller islands.

Sunset views on both sides of the island

Our weekends are spent at home, in the company of Rynor’s work mates, going to the beach or watching DVDs borrowed from the lone video rental shop.

We still have a few more months to stay on this tropical island until we go back home and, as hubby calls it, “join the real world”. Meanwhile, it’s almost sunset and time for me to take in the lovely ocean view from our porch.

Dusk on the island


Coriander Dreams said...

Am sure that when you go back to Manila, you would still have fond memories of your family's year away from commercialism! Hehe! :)

Coriander Dreams said...

Oh, btw, if you dont mind hope you could take more photos of your lovely island while you're there. (More info for me as a travel agent!) Thanks! :)