A-Z of Majuro
Here’s my A-Z of Majuro … it’s a snapshot of some of the best things on offer around town. Got more ideas, please send them on down! Karen
is for the Alele Museum and Library in Uliga next to the Court House. The museum, located on the ground floor, was recently renovated and is a must-visit for visitors. The exhibits include the traditional clothing mats called jaki-ed, navigation instruments, and turn of the century photographs by Joachim deBrum. Upstairs is the bright and cheerful library, which features a children’s reading room and a Pacific section. Phone: (692) 625-3372. More info on this site.
is for the Backpackers Hostel in Delap, which is the most reasonably-priced place for visitors to stay in Majuro. Backpackers phone: (692) 625-4229. B is also for the bungalows at RRE Hotel, which are some of the nicest places to stay on the island. Sadly, a big storm in July, 2015, damaged the foundations of a couple of the rooms, but many are still available. Call hotel manager Colette Reimers on (692) 625-6474.
is for the Chit-Chat restaurant in the Marshall Islands Club on the back road in Uliga. Its three best features are the ocean view, a cool breeze and the pizzas. For lunch, you can order a pocket pizza for just $5: It’s a folded over piece of dough with your choice of three ingredients, plus the cheese and sauce. The accompanying bar is a Marshallese hang out that stays open late, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, so this is the place for a late night snack.
is for the world-class diving in and around Majuro! Despite the fact that Majuro is the country’s largest population center, with about 35,000 residents, the waters are remarkably clear and rich in sea life, especially on the ocean sides and at the main pass, Kalalin. There is one full-time dive operation: Raycrew managed by Hiro Ueda based at the Marshall Islands Resort (625-2739 email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.raycrew.jp). More info on this site. If you are a certified diver and have the basic gear, Cary Evarts can take you around Majuro or over to Arno on his sports boat Wasabi. Email him at email@example.com and ask for a custom package.
is for Enemanet and Eneko, two beautiful islands on the northern side of Majuro lagoon just four or five miles from downtown. The eastern portion of Enemanet is owned by the Kramer family, who also own the biggest construction business in Majuro, Pacific International Inc. (PII). They welcome visitors, but they do ask that you book in advance at their office in Delap and pay the small fee of $25. Eneko is owned by the Reimers family, who also have the Hotel RRE in Uliga. They also welcome guests who can book at the Hotel reception. Eneko has accommodation for up to six people and a cookhouse. Both islands have moorings for yachts that were built and are maintained by the Mieco Beach Yacht Club (www.sailingmarshallislands.com). Phone PII: (692) 625-3122. Phone RRE Hotel: (692) 6215-3250.
is for all the fabulous fish that can be caught or bought. For the freshest fish experience, you can go fishing with Cary Evarts on his sports boat Wasabi (firstname.lastname@example.org or 692-455-3044). Or you can buy your fishy treats at the big supermarkets, that sell fresh or frozen ocean fish and reef fish. For reef fish brought in from the nearby atolls, you can go to the Outer Islands Fish Market at Uliga Dock, which is managed by the Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA). For queries, call MIMRA on 692-625-8262 or go to the MIMRA web site.
is for Giff Johnson, the editor of the independent Marshall Islands Journal and author of Don’t Ever Whisper and Idyllic No More. Giff has lived in Majuro since 1984. As well as being in a key role at the must-read weekly Journal (www.marshallislandsjournal.com), he has a specific interest in the nuclear issues and has a facebook page called Giff Johnson’s Marshall Islands Nuclear News. Check out his books on this site’s book page.
is for the handicrafts made by the ladies of RMI. They are some of the most beautiful and durable handicrafts found in the region. They range from baskets to wall hangings of all shapes, including the beautiful turtle hangings, and hats and jewelry. No two pieces are the same, so if you see something you like, buy it because you’ll never see another. There are handicraft stores all around Majuro, with some of the most notable being Happy Hands (opposite RRE Hotel), Elefa store (a hundred yards south of EZ Price Mart), Leipajid Handicraft Shop (opposite Assumption Church, phone (692) 625-6880), and Momotaro’s Store (Small Island, phone (692) 625-4334).
is for the International Convention Center (ICC), which was opened in October, 2007 and was built by Majuro’s largest contractor, Pacific International, Inc. (PII). The 1,000-seat capacity facility was donated by the Government of the Republic of China-Taiwan (ROC) to the RMI to host the second annual Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit of the Heads of State from the RMI, ROC, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. It’s existence, however, proved vital a few years later when the fourth floor of the now empty Capital Building proved unsafe and the President’s Office and Cabinet offices were moved to the ICC’s upper floors. The center is used for regional meetings, workshops, trade shows, and the showing of plays and movies.
is for the Journal, the weekly independent newspaper edited by Giff Johnson. While it proudly sells T-shirts proclaiming it is ‘The World’s Worst Newspaper’, it is generally agreed to be a top-notch publication for an extremely small country. The newspaper’s dateline is Friday, but it is printed Wednesday night and the hard copy is sold on Thursdays. You can subscribe to the digital version, the Journal Online, through PayPal (www.paypal.com) where you sign in or sign up for an account and then click on the Send & Request button, then Pay for Goods & Services. Use the email address email@example.com and type in $57. The Journal’s web site is www.marshallislandsjournal.com.
is for K&K Supermarket (a.k.a. Island Pride), which is owned by the Kramer and Kabua families and is in Delap. It is the largest supermarket on island and (usually, depending on incoming freight) has the best selection of fresh produce. The shelves and freezers are stocked with many American brand food items. Fresh fish, including sashimi, is available in the coolers at the back of the store, next to the dairy section. A bonus is that if you are after a particular item, they’ll be happy to get it in stock, although this may take a few months. The store opens at 7am and shuts between 8pm and 10pm. You can see more on their web site www.kkislandpride.com or call them on (692) 625-3321.
is for Laura Beach, a great place to sit under a tree and enjoy a picnic with the turquoise waters beckoning you to take a dip. The local families keep the place trim and tidy and allow entrance for the modest sum of $1 per person. It’s best to rent a car to get to Laura, which is on the south-western end of Majuro and is about a 45-minute drive from Delap. Taxis are expensive (around $20, but ask your driver before you hop in), but buses are cheaper at about $5. The trick with the latter is working out when and where to catch your return ride. Do take food and water as there’s not much in the way of western food available in the village. If you want to snorkel, check the tides aren’t at their lowest during your visit.
is for the Mieco Beach Yacht Club (MBYC) and the Marshalls Billfish Club (MBC), which both offer visitors great opportunities for some fun out on the water in and around Majuro Atoll. Yacht club members and friends have dinner each Tuesday on a circuit of four restaurants (check the calendar on the club’s site: www.sailingmarshallislands.com). During the yacht season, November to April, the club holds yacht races once a month. Membership gets you lots of discounts around town and access to yacht clubs around the world. I am on the club’s committee, so you can Ask Karen if you’d like to know anything about the MBYC. The Billfish Club holds tournaments once a month. For info, call the club president, Larry Hernandez, who is head honcho at Do It Best hardware store: (692) 625-3461.
is for Na Noniep, one of a series of award-winning feature films set in Majuro and made by Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro under the banner Microwave Films. They all give a wonderful perspective to the various slices of Majuro life. Na Noniep was the first in a trilogy (it was followed by Laninbwil’s Gift and Yokwe Bartowe). Energized by the success of the trilogy, the pair have to date made two more feature films: Ainikien Jidjid Ilo Bon (The Sound of Crickets at Night) and Jilel (The Calling of the Shell). They can be ordered from Microwave Films’ site. You can watch the trailers and listen to radio interviews with Jack on this site: Locally-Made Movies.
is for is for the traditional outrigger canoes and particularly those found at the Canoe House, a.k.a. Waan Aelon in Majel (Canoes of the Marshall Islands, WAM). The Canoe House is in Delap next to the Marshall Islands Resort. West of the A-frame workshop is the office where you can book the ride of your life. There is also a mini-museum called The Visitors Center. Phone: (692) 625-6123. Read more canoe info on this site or visit the Waan Aelon in Majel site.
is for the palm trees that silhouette the horizon at night, tell you the state of the breeze by day, and are forever a joy. ‘P’ is also for the Pacific Ocean that surrounds us. Yes, yes, these are not unique to Majuro, but they are such a feature of life on this island, I couldn’t leave them out.
is for the quiz run once a month by the Mieco Beach Yacht Club at the Marshall Islands Resort. All are welcome to play. Teams are a maximum of four people, entry is $1 per person and the winner takes all … and writes the next month’s quiz (whether or not they are on island for the event). To find out when the next quiz is, go to the club’s site and look down the right side of the home page: www.sailingmarshallislands.com.
is for riwut canoes, which are often raced oceanside in Uliga. These miniature canoes look flimsy, but can stand up to quite blustery conditions. During bigger races, usually to coincide with Majuro Day, they are sent off from the north side of the atoll and aimed at the Marshall Islands Resort. Amazingly, they often reach their mark!
is for sashimi, which is one of the best food deals on Majuro. Just $4 or $5 will buy you a block of yellowfin tuna that’s plenty for two people. The best source of sashimi is K&K Island Pride Supermarket, which almost always has some fresh tuna for sale, but Payless Supermarket also occasionally has it in their fish and meat section.
is for the Tide Table restaurant in RRE Hotel. American sports bar-style, the Tide Table is probably the most popular restaurant on Majuro. It opens at 6:30am for breakfast and closes around midnight, depending on customer numbers. You can book a table by calling (692) 625-3250.
is for Uliga Dock, which is the domestic wharf for government field trip ships. The road leading to the dock, which is perpendicular to the main road, has two Chinese restaurants, one on either side of the road: Won Hai Shien (particularly good vegetable dishes) and Aliang (for the meat lovers). The dock is also where you’ll find the Outer Island Fish Market (see ‘f’ for fish).
is for V7AB, the government radio station found on A.M. 1098 kHz. Tune into the station to get a feel for the Marshallese language and music. If you lose something, head over to V7AB at the Ministry of Internal Affairs building near the Mobil tanks and for a few dollars they will broadcast your message. The success rate is amazing! Phone: (692) 625-8413.
is for Won Hai Shien, a Chinese restaurant on the ‘back road’ opposite the Mobil tanks in Uliga. The relatively large eatery looks has a couple of private rooms for parties up to 20 people. Their food is delicious and they are particularly good at seafood and vegetables. Of note is that the kitchen is always spotless! Our favorite dishes are beef and broccoli (Cary) and fried shrimp and vegetables (me).
is for Xmas, a time of great celebration in Majuro. For weeks beforehand you will hear the various ‘jepta’ dance groups practicing for the big day. The churches all open early and the festivities go on through the evening and even to the next morning. Dress up and take a wander along the road, stopping at the various churches as you go to listen to the beautiful singing and smile and the dancing.
is for yellowfin tuna, which is one of the target fish in the monthly Marshalls Billfish Club tournaments. The club’s record size yellowfin (161 pounds) was caught by Anton deBrum in the July, 1990, tournament. You can buy fresh blocks yellowfin at K&K Island Pride while all restaurants usually have yellowfin sashimi on their menus.
is for zories, the casual footwear worn by pretty much everyone. Want to know how many people are at home? Just count the zories outside a door. Pick up a pair with ‘Majuro’ stamped on them at pretty much any store around town. ‘Z’ is also for