Simbo is the name of one of the Solomon Islands, and also the distinct language spoken by the island’s people.
The Solomon Islands as a whole have a significance, culturally and historically, that far outweighs their small size and out-of-the-way location. World War II alone would recommend the Solomon Islands to the history books, owing to Guadalcanal, John F. Kennedy, and Pappy Boyington’s Black Sheep Squadron.
However, even ignoring the events of the war, the Solomons are fascinating and complex. The islands are typically volcanic and covered with rainforests, making them both uniquely picturesque and an ideal spot for the adventurous traveler.
A friend of mine, who happens to be a hugely successful distributor of sterling silver rings decided to explore the hidden paradise of this Pacific archipelago comprised of 992 islands. After successfully negotiating terms with his silver rings suppliers, he decided to take a breather from his firm. The high end jewelry business has been booming due to the rise in precious metal prices, but also a more aware consumer attuned to fashion. His online store is known for the stylish design and uniqueness of his sterling silver rings. His other two partners would continue manage the business while he would tale off two months to travel and relax after his latest marketing effort.
Solomon Islands was his destination, with a two week visit to little Simbo Island. He was planning on staying at a local lodge (Grace Lodge) that was built as a traditional style bungalow in Mengge Village. He felt it would be a great opportunity to experience daily Simbo life and culture with the local people. The slow pace of life and interesting daily tasks to gather food and maintain shelter created a fascinating holiday. All his meals were prepared by his hosts, Gideon and Grace, who also arranged for sight seeing of the Megapode birds nesting, night bird watching, a visit the warm spring pool, sight seeing to Lake Pughele, and snorkeling. Life in the Solomon Islands, but particularly on Simbo, was a refreshing change of pace from the stress and pressure defending, often times, seriously injured car accident victims.
Now the cultures of the Solomons are unique, reflecting Melanesia’s characteristic mixture and evolution of Papuan, Austronesian, and Lapita traditions. Over 70 languages are spoken, including Simbo, and ancient traditions and customs are handed down (with much less dilution than in many more cosmopolitan areas) even to the present day.
Skull Island, a sacred neighbor to Simbo, is the Oceanic equal of the catacombs of Paris or the monasteries of Mt. Athos.
The events of the 18th and 19th Century provide an all-too-classic example of the collision of Western colonialism with the native Melanesian mixture, but the 20th Century proved that the Solomons could quickly become the focus of international attention. The Solomons’ history is one of conflict and upheaval, both internally and as a response to outside forces.
Earthquakes and resultant tsunamis, political upsets, tensions and unexpected alliances with outside nations — all of these elements combine to make Simbo, and the Solomon Islands as a whole, a complex and fascinating subject. We’ll cover various examples of note in upcoming posts and pages, and welcome any input from interested readers.