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Take the Wisdom from the Basket – Chew Betel Nuts

Take the Wisdom from the Basket – Chew Betel Nuts
Besides their local drink called sakau, the locals from the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia takes the chewing of betel nut as another cultural practice. In fact, this is practiced in most parts of Micronesia.

Pohnpeian Betel Nut Chew

Pohnpeian Betel Nut Chew

Also popular in the three other island-states in the FSM, these betel nuts which the locals call “buw” is becoming a national tradition and obsession. Similar to our modern day chewing gums, these betel nuts are cut in half and wrapped inside a pepper leaf called “gabuy”, and placed in the mouth to chew.  Similar to how people chew tobacco, betel nuts are not supposed to be swallowed. That’s the reason why you can see betel nuts everywhere in Pohnpei. Locals chew betel nuts for a past time and you would notice their quietness as they chew on it. It is said that it’s because they enjoy that moment of quietness. It has also been told that chewing betel nuts can give you a quick “buzz”. You can also notice that person in Pohnpei chewing betel nut ends up having red-stained teeth due to the chemical reaction of the nut that makes it turn crimson red.
The practice of chewing betel nuts in the island of Pohnpei is also another way to socialize with each other. It is said that the elders prefer that their members chew betel nuts while on a meeting as it helps them think before speaking.
“Kabaye lawan u waay” is a popular saying about the betel nut in the Micronesia territories. It means “The wisdom is in the basket.”, and its core message is to take things slow. In that phrase, the word “basket” is used because natives keep a piece or two of these betel nuts in a woven basket and brings it with them wherever they go.
These betel nuts are also the sign of goodwill to their guests and giving betel nuts to the visitors is one way of the Pohnpeians’ way of showing their hospitality

Steps in Making Pohnpei’s Local Concoction – Sakau

Steps in Making Pohnpei’s Local Concoction – Sakau
Besides being famous all over the world for the wonders of its beautiful beaches, Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia is also renowned for their native drink called Sakau.

Preparation of "Sakau" Pohnpei's Traditional Drink

Preparation of "Sakau" Pohnpei's Traditional Drink

The Pohnpei sakau plays an important role in the Pohnpei traditions. There are no feasts, meetings, or any other important occasions that can occur without the presence of this local drink. Said to give its drinker a sudden feeling of numbness, the sakau which is a drink extracted from the roots of a pepper shrub contains 14 natural painkillers that tends to sedate the drinker.
Termed as “The Pacific Narcotic”, there is an important procedure to follow when preparing sakau:
1. Decide which plant to harvest and proceed with the digging but with uttermost care to make sure that the roots remain intact. This is usually done by the men in the village as they all take part in the digging process.
2. Trim the foliage away from the plant and remove the roots.
3. Clean the pounding stone and tear strips of bark from a hibiscus tree as this will be used as the strainer.
4. After the dampened sakau roots are pounded in to a dry and fibrous pulp, its residues are then strained using the hibiscus bark and you now have a drink ready for consumption.
Besides its preparation, there is also a traditional way of drinking sakau. It is observed when consuming the drink – the first and fourth cups of sakau must always be allotted for the eldest guest. And afterwards, everyone is free to drink however they want to.
The preparation and consumption of sakau just continues to show how beautifully attached the Pohnpeians are to their traditional values.
While there are dozens of sakau bars & sakau markets placed throughout the islands there is one which stands out amongst travelers and locals a like.  ROASDI (also know as Rusty’s Market) serves up the most potent sakau brew in the South Pacific.  Anyone looking to experience Sakau in its fullness needs to include roasdi market on their travel itinerary.

Federated States of Micronesia the new island paradise for tourists.

Federated States of Micronesia the new island paradise for tourists.
Four for the Price of One

The Ancient Ruins of Nan Madol in Pohnpei are often referred to as the Venice of the Pacific

The Ancient Ruins of Nan Madol in Pohnpei are often referred to as the Venice of the Pacific

What should be your number one destination for this year’s summer? The answer is the Federated States of Micronesia. Offering beauty, biodiversity and culture, this place offers four different islands for you to visit, each with their own attraction.
First, there is the island of Pohnpei, which has the ancient city of Nan Madol, a group of islets that offer a glimpse of Micronesian history. The second one is the island of Chuuk, the prime destination for underwater divers looking for the largest underwater museum. The third island is Yap, where giant manta rays can be seen up close by the tourists, and finally the island of Kosrae, which offers many Neolithic ruins as well as a challenge for hikers in the form of Mt. Finkol.
Yap is known for its giant Manta Rays, however they can be found throughout Pohnpei as well.

Yap is known for its giant Manta Rays, however they can be found throughout Pohnpei as well.

With all these possible destinations, it is no wonder that the Federated States of Micronesia is becoming the new top tourist spot. With a booming tourism industry, Micronesia is becoming the new island paradise for tourists.
The states themselves are a melting pot of various races, having been invaded by several countries during the past five centuries. Each state has its own predominant traits and characteristics, making each state unique. The islands are spread over the famous Caroline Islands. Only recently, in 1986, has the Federated States of Micronesia gained their independence. Their economy subsists mostly of fishing, but now they are concentrating on getting people to visit the beautiful islands.
So come on and check out Micronesia—it will certainly be a vacation you won’t forget.

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