On Ko Lanta an island in Thailand many of the bars and restaurants on the beach have kids performing “fire shows” on the beach.
Sunlight finally filtered through the leaves, allowing my first glimpses of Lombok Island: lush tropical vegetation shaded the road and sparkling water flooded the rice fields. Our bemo–an Indonesian minibus–barreled down the mountainous road toward the port village Bangsal, from where my travel partner Toby and I would board the ferry to our ultimate destination: the Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan. We were now quickly approaching the ocean, the scent of the fresh salty air giving it away. Our paradise island, and the promise of a relaxing vacation, lay just around the bend.
When I tell folks that I am conducting my graduate research in the Solomon Islands, the most common response is “Where on earth are they?” It’s because of this reaction that I am honored to have the opportunity to share with readers some my experiences living in this relatively unknown, but culturally and environmentally rich island nation.