Sunday, February 25, 2007

The FSM Takes the Silver!

Forbes Magazine has come out with a ranking of the world's fattest countries, and the Federated States of Micronesia came in second place! It is so rare that a little country like this can make it (almost) to the top of any world ranking, but there we are!

According to the magazine, this list reflects the percentage of overweight people 15-years-old and older. They are considered obese if their body mass index equal to or greater than 30.

Here is the ranking of the top ten countries and the percent of obese people in them:

Rank Country %
1. Nauru 94.5
2. Federated States of Micronesia 91.1
3. Cook Islands 90.9
4. Tonga 90.8
5. Niue 81.7
6. Samoa 80.4
7. Palau 78.4
8. Kuwait 74.2
9. United States 74.1
10. Kiribati 73.6

Note how many Micronesian nations are on the world's top ten: Nauru (1), FSM (2), Palau (7) and Kiribati (10). Amazing records for some tiny, tiny countries!

In all seriousness, this is a terrible problem which few are doing anything about. In order to fix it, lives would have to be turned upside down. Imported foods would have to lose their prestige and local foods lose their stigma. People's taste for exceptionally salty and sweet foods would have to disappear.

It seems like a it would be easy to control the importation of unhealthy foods on an island such as this, but the money raised from selling junk food seems to be more important than the health damage caused to people.

This is just my (extremely simplified) opinion. Thank you for reading.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Devil's Kiss

At the risk of sounding obsessed with the creatures in my house, here is another posting about them. I seem to have dozens of geckos in my house recently. Perhaps it is because a house is being built out of the shell that is attached to the south side of my house. Perhaps the construction is driving them into my place. Anyways, here are a few of my favorite geckos...

Nice design, dude.

Ain't this guy cute, he's cleaning my peanut butter knife!

Okay, now for the excitement. On Thursday night at about 11:00 pm I got bitten by a centipede! Thank goodness it was just a baby, because people go to the hospital for adult centipede bites. I caught the culprit, so here is a photo of him in a jar.
I was in bed sleeping when I felt a sharp pain on the side of my head. He bit me on my scalp right next to my left temple. I jumped out of bed, turned on the light and found him and put him in a jar. Then I tore the bedding off the pillows and bed in fear that there were more centipedes. It was about two hours before I dared to go to bed again.

As I mentioned, centipedes' stings can seriously hurt people, so I was lucky. But my head ached all night and through the next day. It may have just been my imagination, but I felt like my left eye kept going out of focus every now and then, too. I'm fine now, though. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Where the Wild Things Are

Yesterday morning as I was getting ready to go to work, I heard my dog Nina whining outside. She's such a noise-maker: squealing, whining and barking for hours, day and night.

Nevertheless, I went outside to see what was bothering her and discovered that she was ON THE ROOF OF THE NAHS! She was stuck and scared to death, so I had to lure her down to the edge where I could grab her.

I don't know if she's brilliant for finding a way up there or stupid for getting herself stuck.

This morning, she was causing a hubbub on the patio while I was setting water out for her and her kin. When I glanced down I saw that she had this crab trapped under a table...
It is hard to feel sorry for something this ugly, but I did take pity. I sprayed water to get the dogs away and then shooed it off the patio.

I've really learned to live in harmony with nature. A few nights ago I awoke to something tickling me. I turned on the light to find a cockroach in bed with me (frisky little bugger!), so I just brushed him away and went back to sleep.

Also, last Saturday I discovered my first centipede. It was dead (thank goodness) on my patio and what a terrifying creature it was! If I had seen one of those within my first few weeks on island, I'd've headed for the airport. They're poisonous too.

Once in a while my house is infested with termites in the evening. When I turn on a light they gather 'round by the thousands. Watching DVDs is challenging, because they make a cloud around the screen. So I've learned to put a bright light bulb in the bathroom to lure them all in there and then I'm usually left alone by all but a dozen or so of them. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sights around Kolonia

In the past couple of weeks while I was without my car and bicycle, I did a fair bit of walking around Kolonia. I must say, I kind of enjoyed it. And it gave me the opportunity to take some photos of things I normally just zoom past.
I'm not particularly optimistic about the chances of actually stopping people from spitting in Kolonia, but I really like the signs they've made about it. This one above is my favorite sign.
A pathway through the old Spanish Wall. The Spanish Wall was built in the 19th century to protect the colonizers from the angry Pohnpeians. When the Germans took over, the first thing they did is start to dismantle the wall. The second thing they did was quick rebuild it when the Pohnpeians attacked. If you go to Micronesia Seminar, you can find old, old photos of Spanish, Germans and Pohnpeians walking through this gate. Now it opens up to the Catholic School.
Congressional elections are happening in a few weeks, so there are signs all over the place. The candidates all have their photos pf themselves on their signs. Why? I don't know. I'm impressed that Mohner here is appealling to our sense of taste: politicians often overlook that. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Valentine from Uncle Sam?

Thank goodness for the United States Embassy in Kolonia. They provide such useful services, such as guards to question you when you turn your car around in their parking lot.

They posted an job advertisement outside the Palm Terrace Supermarket (“super” seems a little extreme, maybe I should call it an “OccasionallyAdequateMarket”) that I noticed yesterday after I went shopping.

They are hiring a secretary. According to the flyer, this new secretary would assist the ambassador and DCM. THAT’S ME!!!

I was shocked and thrilled by this new service that was being offered to me, thanks to the US taxpayers!

Then I realized that DCM did not refer to my initials, but to the Deputy Chief of Mission. Bummer, I have to do my own filing after all.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Kayak Trip around Sokehs Island

Yesterday morning at 6:30 I pushed my kayak into the water and set off to paddle around Sokehs Island. I started out going through the mangrove channel (shown in this photo) then headed north around the western side of the island. After rounding the northern tip of the island I proceeded south through Sokehs Bay and returned home 2 1/2 hours after I had set out. Posted by Picasa

Some mangrove roots reflected in the waters of the mangrove channel. Posted by Picasa

A lonely mangrove tree thriving in the lagoon of Pohnpei. Posted by Picasa

A distant ship and a rainbow. Posted by Picasa

A poor, marooned crane in the lagoon. Posted by Picasa

A church on the shore of Sokehs Island. Rohaizad used to call this the "Grand Rapids Church," because it is built more in an American suburban style than Micronesian Island style. Posted by Picasa

As I kayaked around the northern part of Sokehs Island, I was greeted by wind, waves and rain. It was rough kayaking, but I managed to get some photos of Sokehs Rock.
 Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Tree for Thee

I pass this tree every day going to and from work, but I only now got around to taking a photo of it. I like how it looks as if it is crawling over the wall. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Nan Kewi Waterfall

A few weeks ago I was foiled in my attempt to reach Nan Kewi Waterfall in my kayak by fallen trees. Yesterday I set out with renewed determination and fought my way through all the obsticles to achieve my goal. Posted by Picasa

Nan Kewi waterfall is the only waterfall on Pohnpei which is accessible by water, although the trail has grown a little rough lately. From my house it is about a 45 minute kayak ride (for me) through the mangroves and up a river. Posted by Picasa

You have no idea what I went through to get these photos: kayaking through the branches of several trees and getting attacked by hoards of spiders. You better appreciate them! Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 02, 2007

About three weeks ago, a lush jungle just outside of Kolonia turned into this killing field. By the way, that's an abandoned hotel in the back ground. It was called the Nan Madol Hotel, I believe, but the construction was never completed. Posted by Picasa

Rumor has it that they are going to build a surfing resort here. Surfing always seemed like a pretty eco-friendly sport to me. But look at that carnage! Posted by Picasa

Ouch! Posted by Picasa

Rohaizad sent me this photo from Singapore

 Posted by Picasa

Nina and TC

Two of my diva dogs. Nina, on the chair, is a little lady. She bounces around on her long legs and can leap amazingly high. TC, standing on the ground, requires constant attention and gets angry when I give attention to any other dog. Issues!!! Posted by Picasa

Pop Flies and Pop Art

Almost every morning when the sun is rising, I ride my bicycle past the baseball field by the Spanish Wall in Kolonia. Usually there is a group of men “practicing” baseball.

It is always the same: everyone is standing in the field and someone is hitting pop flies to them, never ground balls or any other kind of practicing.

The result of this “practicing” is always the same, too: they run and stand under the ball and then it either bounces out of their glove or lands on the ground beside them.

It really cheers me up in the morning.

And speaking of being cheered up, yesterday afternoon I went kayaking through the mangrove channel.

Someone had clipped blue, yellow, red and green clothes pins to many of the descending mangrove tentacles. It made the channel so cheery, like installation art!