We arrived on the main island of Aur yesterday and went ashore to meet the Mayor and gain permission to stay (and pay our $25). We drank more coconuts (that's the way people welcome you around here...we have drank A LOT of coconuts lately) and were given some bananas. Jake and I picked out some baskets to buy from the locals and then we set off to meet the American teacher here, Kellyn (from NC, another southerner!!). Jake joined her class this morning...two days in school so far! I met the third grade teacher, a very nice lady named Kosco and we chatted while class was in session.
We're starting to get a feel for the "give me" attitude the Marshallese are so famous for among cruisers. To be fair, it's their culture. They do it to each other all the time. It's not considered rude at all, just practical. And when you think of how little contact they have with the other islands, it makes sense that they take advantage when they can. So here's our experience... We started off offering school supplies and old clothes. When asked for medicine, we gave what we had. By the time we got here to Aur, we're running pretty low on everything...medicine, fuel, food, etc. Here, we gave the rest of our medicine and sold the last of fuel. The mayor asked us if we would mind taking packages back to Majuro. Of course not, we said... Only two boxes, he said. Soon a boat came out and greeted us and told us they would bring the boxes out to us...5 boxes and 5 bags. No problem, ok. Can we take a passenger? Ooohhhh....no, we don't have the room, sorry. OK, no problem. We'll come back with the boxes and the Mayor. OK.
So, about 10 minutes later, they come out with 6 boxes (one of which I'm pretty sure has some fish in it) and 2-3 bags of handicrafts....and the Mayor. We sit around and look at each other for a while. Offer up drinks...no thank you. Look some more.
OK, we told them we needed to go ashore to give the medicine and fuel to the doctor. OK.
Everyone got up....but the Mayor. See where this is going?
So why am I sneaking a beer in my room dressed in short shorts? Because it's rude to do it in front of the Mayor. We're told not to give alcohol to the locals and women always dress very modestly (skirt below the knees, shoulders covered). But my gosh, it's an overnight trip to Majuro and I just can't see me wearing my skirt the whole time?? Anywho...so Jake and the Mayor are watching Pirates of the Carribean, Andy is doing...well, I don't know what Andy is doing, and I'm talking to you. Should be an interesting trip!
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