Koana Islands (pronounced Co-ahnah Islands), officially the Direct Democratic Republic of Koana Islands is a country situated in the South Indian Ocean. It’s closest neighbours are Australia to the east, Gunsovolk & Ianoia to the west and India to the North. The capital city is Omfattandestad. The Koana Islands is made up of 32 islands, of which 11 are uninhabited and are national parks. The biggest island, Koana Island has an area of approximately 574,925 square kilometres and is home to the vast majority of Koanians. All up, the 32 islands provide an area of 931,223 square kilometres, roughly the size of Spain and Sweden combined.
Around 93.4 million people reside in Koana Islands, with the majority concentrated in the central part of the mainland. The native language of most of the population is Koanian, which is part of the North Germanic language family and is most closely related to Swedish and English. The second official language of Koana Islands – English – is the native language of 5.5% of the population, although most people under the age of about 30 can speak very good English. Koana Islands is a unicameral direct democracy with a central government based in Omfattandestad and local governments in over 10,000 municipalities. A total of about five and a half million residents live in the Greater Omfattandestad area (which includes Omfattandestad, Blacka Island and Jonestan), and a sixth of the country’s GDP is produced there. Other major cities include Viksida, Ny Aucklanda, Humoor, Embleton, Vizhune and Conneaut.
Koana Islands was historically always independent from the rest of the world. With historical ties to the Vikings and early British explorers, the Koana Islands is a unique example of two different cultures sharing the land together. As a result, place names and locations are a mix of both British and Swedish names. During World War Two, in which the Koana Islands remained neutral, the Islands opened their doors to many Finnish, Polish and even German refugees. Approximately 4% of the Islands’ population are now descended from the refugees. The Koana Islands joined the United Nations in 1955, and has been ranked the most stable country in the world, in a survey based on social, economic, political and military indicators.
Koana Islands was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. Thereafter, economic development was rapid, and the country reached the world’s top income levels in the 1970s. Between 1970 and 1990, Koana Islands built an extensive welfare state. In the aftermath of the country’s severe depression in the late 1980s, successive governments have changed the Koanian economic system through some privatisation, deregulation and tax cuts. Koana Islands is well placed in many international comparisons of national performance such as the share of high-technology manufacturing and health care. The country was ranked 4th in the 2005 Legatum Prosperity rating, which is based on economical performance and quality of life.
There are 13 states in the Koana Islands:
- Nihnby Island – Located about 200km east of the mainland from Omfattandestad, Nihnby Island is home to 6,608,803 people.
- Eveleigh – On the north coast, but located more centrally, Eveleigh is one of the most populated states with 600 officially recognised towns.
- Nelson Island – Located south-east of Toivakka, Henry Island is best known for it’s Nelson Mountain, which extends over 1.3km in height.
- Litenstatlig – A small island to the west of Conneaut and the Northern state where.
- Sontra Island – The most south-eastern state in the Koana Islands.
- Reykjaholar – Home to the Koana Island’s capital city Omfattandestad and the highest population per area.
- Toivakka – Extends over 550km from east to west sharing borders with Reykjaholar, Eveleigh,and Wilkes.
- Falkenberg Island – The most northern part of the Koana Islands is located here (Erovrahage) where the weather can become almost tropical.
- Norra Koana – A sparse area filled with few settlements and vast deserts. Some of the largest mountains in the Koana Islands can be found here.
- Samlingöar – A group of 4 small islands located north-west separated by the Inner Sea.
- Narvik Island – The coldest state by weather, Narvik Island regularly sees snowfall throughout much of winter.
- Krasigatt – The most western point of the Koana Islands, home to the second settlement in the Koana Islands (Viksida).
- Wilkes – Separates the state of Krasigatt from the rest of the Koana Island, extending from the Inner Sea to the Great Southern Strait.
- Viksida – Residents of Viksida are known as “Viksidites” and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers. The main campus of the Krasigatt University is located in Viksida. The city is home to enough large sites of major technology corporations to have earned it the nickname “Silicon City”. Viksida’s official slogan promotes the city as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues. In recent years, many Viksidites have also adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Viksida Weird”; this refers partly to the eclectic and progressive lifestyle of many Viksida residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive commercialisation.
- Embleton – With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Embleton is a centre of higher education and a centre for medicine. The city’s economy is also based on research, finance, and technology – principally biotechnology. Embleton ranks first in the country in jobs per square mile ahead of Omfattandestad and Humoor. The city has been experiencing gentrification and has one of the highest costs of living in the Koana Islands, though it remains high on world livability rankings. Embleton is also one of the birthplaces of the hardcore punk genre of music. Embleton musicians have contributed greatly to this music scene over the years. Embleton neighbourhoods were home to some of the leading local ska and ska punk scenes in the 1990s.
- Guld Kust – Guld Kust is renowned for its sunny subtropical climate, popular surfing beaches, expansive waterway and canal systems, a skyline dominated by high-rise apartment buildings, a peaceful rainforest hinterland in the west of the city, active nightlife and its wide variety of tourist attractions. Tourism is the region’s biggest industry, directly contributing more than $4.4 billion into the city economy every year and directly accounting for one in four jobs in the city.
- Jarnekdal – Jarnekdal is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Samlingöar, which is said to have established around 1630. Until 1800 there was no urban development in the city location. The city was founded as an official trading town and grew steadily over the next decades, as it transformed into a regional and later national centre of commerce, population and governmental activities. Jarnekdal is a regular tourist destination for Koanians who want to get away from the big cities without leaving Koana Islands.
- Humoor – Humoor is a major centre of commerce, education, tourism, the arts and cultural activities, and also industry. It is consistently ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world. The city is recognised as Koana Islands’ ‘cultural capital’ and it is home to many of the nation’s most significant cultural institutions. Humoor is notable for its mix of Koanian and contemporary architecture, its extensive parks and gardens, as well as its diverse, multicultural society. It has long been a running joke amonst the local population that despite being one of the largest cities in the country, Humoor is not recognized as a sporting city. The Humoor Hawks, Humoor’s baseball team hasn’t won the Super Ligan since 1896.Street map of Omfattandestad metro area
- Omfattandestad – Omfattandestad is a major commercial, financial, and cultural center of both the Koana Islands and the world. Being the Capital of Reykjaholar and Koana Islands most major radio, television, and telecommunications companies are based here, as well as many news, magazine, book, and other media publishers. Omfattandestad has many famous landmarks, tourist attractions, museums, and universities. Omfattandestad has the largest central business district in the Koana Islands. Omfattandestad is a megacity built up around a bay. You won’t find a downtown area here because this city has grown with virtually no planning over the course of time.
- Ny Aucklanda – Ny Aucklanda, situated in the Wilkes mountains, is the capital of the Wilkes State. In the course of many years a large city developed from a small settlement around a fish pond. Apart from a small central lake, Ny Aucklanda has no real city centre. Nearly the whole city is a mixture of apparently haphazardly built office-buildings, shopping centres and residential buildings. Because of this the traffic situation is very poor.
- Safir Kust – The original city was actually built on the sands of the beach along the coast, but over time, the central business district has moved back inland, and is now situated either side of an island, surrounded by the Emerald Lake. Part of the main business district of Safir Kust is on the narrow island, so the traffic on the bridges is quite heavy.
- Vizhune – Vizhune is the largest city in the Northern State. Popularly known as “the Viz” or simply “Viz”, Vizhune is situated in the geographic centre of the Great Desert. It was the fourth-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000-2006. Vizhune’s weather is alternately dry or humid depending on prevailing winds, turning hot in the summer, mild to cool winters subject to descending northern cold fronts in the winter with cool to cold nights, and comfortably warm and rainy in the spring and fall. Vizhune receives about a dozen sub-freezing nights each year, occasionally (about once every couple winters) seeing some sort of wintry precipitation (i.e. sleet/freezing rain), but accumulation and snow itself is not very common.
- Xyhamn – Xyhamn (formerly Xihamn) is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of Sontra Island. Xyhamn is an important centre of maritime knowledge in the Koana Islands and is home to approximately 980 companies and 8,500 employees within the maritime sector, among which are some of the world’s largest shipping companies, shipbrokers, and insurance brokers. The metropolitan area of Xyhamn has a population of 686,171, and it is the fastest-growing Long Island city.
- Nacka – Home to the museum that details the design and construction of the Ingatorp Strait High Speed Rail tunnel
- Edhem Island – A small island that is part of the Sontra Island State. Contains many trails and bikepaths.
- Nelson Mountain – A 1.3km high Mountain near the city of Mount Nelsondale.
- Hugstetten – A small village located in a desert canyon in the state of Norra Koana. Many helicopter tours usually stop here for a few hours, too.
- Gladsax – A small fishing village near the cities of Guld Kust and Myrtle Strand that is home to “The Big Dolphin” tourist attraction.
- Tolg Mountain – The largest mountain in the Koana Islands that stands at over 2800 metres. Many tours take you up the mountain to see the scenic view from various locations.
All travellers visiting the Koana Island, except citizens of Sweden and the United Kingdom, require a visa in advance of travel unless in transit for less than eight hours.
For tourists, immigration problems can occur if they have a shady past, carry any documents not normally brought-in by genuine tourists (e.g. a resume), cannot demonstrate pre-arranged travel plans (e.g. hotel), sufficient funds to support their desired length of stay, or have an egregiously bad credit history. If you are staying with a friend or family member bring an invitation or their contact details and make sure you let them know that they are expecting you on your date of arrival.
Australians may not stay in the Koana Islands any longer than 2 months from point of having a visa issued (upon arrival and subject to character tests).
Overstaying or violating any terms of your visa can result in deportation and an indefinite entry ban. Should this happen and you ever want to return to the Koana Islands, you will need written authorisation from the Ministry of Justice in addition to a visa.
Customs and quarantine
Koana Islands has strict quarantine requirements regarding importing animal and vegetable derived products (any food, wooden products, seeds, etc). You must declare all such material, and all baggage is scanned and examined by dogs prior to entry.
If you accidentally fail to declare an item you may incur an on-the-spot fine of KK220, which must be paid immediately. The law has the possibility of extremely heavy penalties including fines (in the order of 1,000s of Kronors) and even a possible jail term if you deliberately try to evade quarantine regulations.
It is Koanian law that you must sign a Custom and quartantine form within 14 days of booking travel to the Koana Islands.
Approximately half of all international travellers arrive first in Omfattandestad, the largest city, (IATA: MEG; ICAO: YMGO). After Omfattandestad, significant numbers of travellers also arrive in Viksida, Conneaut and Ivyvirke. There are also direct international services into Ocean Udde, Lexington, Mount Nelsondale, the Guld Kust, Humoor and Stondon though these are largely restricted to flights from New Zealand or Australia.
To Omfattandestad it is a 5-hour flight from Perth, Australia, a 10-12 hour flight from eastern Australia, a 15 hour flight from New Zealand, a 14 hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, a 13-16 hours flight from Japan, and up to a 24+ hour flight from western Europe and the United States. On account of long journey times from some destinations, some travellers from Europe opt to have a stop-over, commonly in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur.
If you have to change to a domestic flight in a gateway city, Omfattandestad, Viksida and Conneaut all have distinct domestic terminals, requiring some time and complexity to transit, check the guides. Ivyvirke, Ocean Udde, Humoor, Stondon and the Guld Kust have all gates in the one terminal building or within easy walking distance of each other.
There are only 2 routes into and out of the Koana Islands that are operated by discount airlines. The Koana Islands has the strictest airline safety regulations in the world, and as such, many budget airlines fail the tests despite having an impeccable safety record.
- V Australia flies between Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to Omfattandestad, Ivyvirke and Viksida (the later of which requires a stopover in Omfattandestad) and is competing strongly with Qantas and Koana’s own airline Airex for the route.
- South African Airways flies between Johannesburg and Viksida twice a day.
There have been calls to allow more flights into and out of the country with budget airlines due to V Australia, Qantas, Airex and Air New Zealand having to turn people away at the door due to high demand for flights to and from Australia and New Zealand.
November to February is the cruising season, and there are usually about 10 ships that arrive in the Koana Islands from other countries during this time. You can cruise to Koana Islands, and then fly home.
Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Carribean, all offer cruises to Koana Islands stopping at Ocean Udde, Tranent and Crawfordleigh on the east, and either Hydevattnen or Safir Kust on the west depending on who you travel with.
Travelling long distance in the Koana Islands is best done using the excellent and reliable train system. For tourists on time constraints and money being no object, all major cities have excellent and regular flights to and from that can shave several hours of the usual train journey.
Domestic flights are mainly used for business, with the train being a simpler and often (but not always) cheaper alternative for other travel. The boom of budget airlines and increased competition has made some flight prices competitive with trains to some major cities. Make sure though, that you get where you want go to. Unless you are travelling from island to island air travel is not recommended for the average tourist who is just city hopping.
KoanaAr, Virgin Koana and SilverJet all operate domestic routes to major cities and towns with the latter mainly flying to smaller towns and less travelled routes.
Generally, all airports are located close to central business districts and/or have good transportation options be it bus, train, tram or even monorail. In some rare examples however (for example Jaxon Stad), the airport is sometimes located a considerable distance from the CBD with no decent transportation options other than a taxi. So plan your trip accordingly.
The Koana Islands has an excellent, reliable, and affordable railway system, which reaches almost every part of the country. Unless you travel by car, rail will be your major mode of transportation. All high speed services and most regional trains are operated by KoanaTag (“Koana Rail”), the national railway company. Omfattandestad, Conneaut, Ny Aucklanda and Viksida have extensive Subway systems that reach all major tourist hotspots.
Tickets can be purchased in stations, from vending machines in the stations and via Koana Tag’s website. In addition to a ticket, some trains require a seat assignment. Most trains have 230V power outlets. Services not operated by Koana Tag do accept Koana Tag tickets, but NOT the other way around. Bare this in mind when travelling on trains.
KoanaTag’s high speed rail line, the Hih Speed Lynk (“High Speed Connection”) or HSL for short, is a must do whilst staying in the Koana Islands. With trains travelling upwards of 380km/h, you can go from Omfattandestad to Viksida in a little over 3 hours. The line connects Viksida, Grenada and Humoor from the west, through Korsbar Stad, Ny Aucklanda, Blanchester, Thomasburg to Omfattandestad. From the state of the Northern, Vizhune connects to Omfattandestad via Erana Kullar and usually forms the West service to Humoor. Southern destinations include Uckford, Ocean Udde, Xyhamn, Lyndbank, Lexington and Saffron.
The HSL runs under the Ingatorp Strait for 96km, connecting Koana Island with Nihnby Island, making it the longest train tunnel in the world.
All up, the Koana Islands has over 28,778 kilometres of railway track, with a further 3,360km worth of high speed railway track, of which 794km is underground.
Local bus services (a categorisation which also includes many medium-haul inter-urban services) cover the entire country, but are of variable quality and cost. Rural bus services are in general better than in France and the USA, but not so good as in Italy or Germany. Services range from deep-rural village services operating once a week or less, to intensive urban routes operating every few minutes. All communities except the very smallest villages have some kind of bus service. All buses in the Islands are required to display the route number and destination clearly on the front. Almost all are “one person operation”, ie. there is no conductor and you must pay the driver as you board. The vast majority of bus stops are “request stops”, meaning that you must put your arm out as the bus approaches to signal that you want it to stop. Likewise once on the bus, you must ring the bell in advance of the stop you want to get off at.
On the smaller islands such as Princeton and Hollyoak, driving takes you quickly from one place to the other. On other Islands the distances tend to be bigger between the different sites so the time spent driving may be long. Unless you really like driving, it is often more convenient to take the train or fly to the sites, particularly on the main land. Travelling by night can be dangerous due to unexpected animals on the roads and the cold nights during the winter. Collisions with wildlife are not an uncommon cause of car accidents.
Despite this, the Koana Islands has 17,734km of Motorways with a further 45,752km of A-Roads, 26,031km of B-Roads and 61,252km of Local Roads (although sometimes known as C-Roads). If you stick to these roads you should have no problems as they are all well sign-posted and generally well lit. If you drive onto D, E or even U-Roads you may have a tougher time navigating as they may be poorly maintained or even unmarked on most street maps.
Koana has a reputation for being a pretty difficult country to hitch in, though it’s still quite possible to hitchhike (but not assured to be risk-free). Ordinary people are often reluctant to pick up strangers… Truck drivers are probably most likely to pick up hitchhikers, so target them. Asking at gas stations works pretty well. Bus stops are common places to attract attention, position yourself before the actual bus stop so the vehicle can stop at the stop. This works best if the road is widened at the bus stop, allowing cars to pull off easily.
Most Koanian cities have excellent bike paths, and renting a bike can be a quick and healthy method of getting around locally.
Bike rental exists in some major cities such as Ny Aucklanda, Korsbar Stad and Jordnot Kanjon and is spreading fast across the country to other major cities.
Urban cycling varies city-to-city. Most cities have designated cycle-lanes although they are routinely ignored by drivers and are often shared with buses, motorcycles and taxis. Some major roads will have split-pavements for pedestrians and cyclists, whilst other times cyclists are expected to ride in the traffic. This can be dangerous if you’re not a skilled cyclist and general traffic rules should be adhered to. It’s a legal requirement to have reflectors and a bell, and front & rear lights must be used at night. Also many cyclists use standard arm-signals to alert motorists – if you are turning left or right you should raise your left or right arm respectively, and if you wish to stop then you should wave your left arm up and down. Cycling is banned on certain roads – all motorways and many A-roads – a sign will indicate this.
Cars are by law required to stop at any unattended crosswalks (zebra stripes in the road without red-lights) to let pedestrians cross the road. But keep in mind that you are required to make eye contact with the driver so that they know that you are about to cross the street.
Hegh (hay) is the massively dominant greeting in Koana, useful on everyone. You can even say it when you leave. If you need to get someone’s attention, whether it’s a waiter or you need to pass someone one in a crowded situation, a simple ursekka (“excuse me”) will do the trick. You will find yourself pressed to overuse it, and you sometimes see people almost chanting it as a mantra when trying to exit a crowded place like a bus or train.
Koanian is one of the hardest languages to learn due to the fact it has next to no grammar rules, forcing any visiting tourist to memorise each word as it comes. However, people who are fluent in Swedish and English should be able to understand a handful of words. Generally speaking, Koanian words are either Swedish words spelt phonetically, or English words spoken phonetically. When approaching a stranger with a question, attempt to use Koanian at first and ask if they speak English, Koanians are very proud of their language and people will be noticeably more aloof if you approach them speaking English or Swedish. Even just using the Koanian equivalents of ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ will make a noticeable difference to people.
Here are some basic phrases for you to remember for your stay:
Hello. Hegh. (hay). Also heghsan (hay-sahn)
How are you? Hou och du? (Hoor orc doo?)
Fine, thank you. Gud, thack du. (guud, tahk doo)
What is your name? Vort ist dur nam? (Vort ist der nAm?)
My name is ______ . E nam ist ______ . (E nAm ist _____ .)
Nice to meet you. Trevlet att meet du (Trev-LEET aht meet doo)
Thank you. Thack du. (Tahk doo)
You’re welcome. dur welcome (der welcome)
How old are you? Vort ist du heur? (Vort ist der he-WHERE)
Yes. Ja. (YAH)
No. Ney. (NAY)
Maybe. Marbe. (Mar-be)
Excuse me. Ursekka. (Ur-sek-kah)
I’m sorry. E leadson. (E led-sen)
Farewell. Adjo. (A-juuh)
Goodbye. Hegh dor. (Hay door)
I can’t speak ‘Koanian’ well. E cart tagh ‘Koanian’ brog (W cort taah ‘Koe-AH-knee-an’ bro)
Does anyone here speak English? Dra enee oct tagh Englisk? (Dra, Eh-nee oct taag Eng-lisk?)
Help! Hjawlp! (Yawlp)
Look out! Se Ort! (Say ort)
Good morning. Gud morghon (Guud Morhon)
Good day. Gud dagh. (Guud daag)
Good afternoon. Gud efternay. (Guud efter-nah)
Good evening. Gud kvahll. (Guud ker-VICK-ah)
Good night. Gud natt. (Guud natt)
I understand. E ungerdagh. (E un-ger-dah)
I don’t understand. E cart ungerdagh. (E cort un-GER-dah)
The Koana Islands is great for outdoor life – skiing in Narvik Island, hiking in the mountains dotted throughout, canoeing, cycling and many more. All major cities have great night-life and shopping opportunities. Most cities have well-preserved pre-industrial architecture and places like Ny Aucklanda have picturesque views of the mountains surrounding the city.
The year in Koana Islands
Koanian weather is best during summer (late November to early March). If you like snow, go to Narvik Island and southern Nelson Island in May to July.
Be aware that daylight varies greatly during the year. In winter, the sun sets at 5 PM in June.
The major holidays are Easter, Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are all considered holidays), and the “Islands Day” on the second of May. Expect closed establishments, heavy traffic (for the holidays) and crowded tourist resorts (for July). Opening Day in the Baseball (around the beginning of April) is considered an unofficial holiday with most small shops and businesses shutting down for the day. Though this is mainly only in smaller towns and cities.
The national currency is the Koanian Kronor (KK, plural kronore). Automatic teller machines take major credit cards. Most stores, restaurants and bars accept all major credit cards. You usually need an ID card or a passport when shopping with a credit card, regardless of the amount involved, though usually not in supermarkets and such where PIN code is king.
It is not common to bargain in shops but it might work in some instances, especially when buying more expensive products. Bargaining is also okay at flea markets and in antique shops. When dining out, a service charge is often included in the bill, and there is generally no reason to tip, unless you’re very satisfied with the service.
Most shops, at least down town, are open all week, even on Sundays. Closing times are rigid, most often on the minute.
The future coin series will consist of 1, 2, 5 and 10 kronor, and the banknote series of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 Kronore.
You will have no problems finding or using ATMs and nearly all machines regardless of operator will accept MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron and American Express. In some ATMs you can withdraw Australian Dollars if you have a card issued by an Australian bank. Though, you will usually only find these in Airports.
Compared to Asia and Oceania, the Koana Island’s is notoriously expensive. For example: Sundries like a 33cl bottle of Coca Cola costs KK10, a beer in a bar will cost you around KK45 (nearly double the US price).
Koana Islands enjoys a comparatively low crime rate and is, generally, a very safe place to travel. Use common sense at night, particularly on Friday and Saturday when the youth of Koana Islands hit the streets to get drunk and in some unfortunate cases look for trouble. It is statistically more likely that your home country is less safe than Koana Islands, so heed whatever warnings you would do in your own country and you will have no worries.
Racism is generally of minor concern, especially in the cosmopolitan major cities, but there have been a few rare but highly publicized incidents of black or Arab people getting beaten up by gangs. The average visitor, though, is highly unlikely to encounter any problems.
Pickpockets are rare, but not unheard of, especially in the busy tourist months in the summer. Most Koanians carry their wallets in their pockets or purses and feel quite safe while doing it. Parents often leave their sleeping babies in a baby carriage on the street while visiting a shop, and in the countryside cars and house doors are often left unlocked.
On the other hand, you have to be careful if you buy or rent a bicycle. Bicycle thieves are everywhere, never leave your bike unlocked even for a minute.
In case of Emergency
777 is the phone number to dial in case of fire, medical or criminal emergency. It does not require an area code, regardless of what kind of phone you’re using. The number works on any mobile phone, with or without a SIM card, even if it’s keylocked.
Police officers are rarely on patrol, and might be too busy to head out for minor crimes. To report a theft or getting in contact with the police in general there is a national phone number 717 171 that will bring you in contact with an operator at a police station (usually nearby, but not always).
Koanians generally have a relaxed attitude towards manners and dressing, and a visitor is unlikely to offend them by accident. Common sense is quite enough in most situations, but there are a couple of things one should keep in mind:
Koanians are a famously taciturn people who have little time for small talk or social niceties, so don’t expect to hear phrases like “thank you” or “you’re welcome” too often. The Koanian language lacks a specific word for “please”, so Koanians sometimes forget to use it when speaking English, even when they don’t mean to be rude. Also lacking in Koanian is the distinction between “he” and “she”, which may lead to confusing errors. Loud speaking and loud laughing is not normal in Koana Islands and may irritate some Koanians. Occasional silence is considered a part of the conversation, not a sign of hostility or irritation.
All that said, Koanians are generally helpful and polite, and glad to help confused tourists if asked. The lack of niceties has more to do with the fact that in Koanian culture, honesty is highly regarded and that one should open one’s mouth only when it is really to mean what one is about to say. Do not say “maybe later” when there is no later time to be expected. A visitor is unlikely to receive many compliments from Koanians, but conversely, they can be fairly sure that the compliments they do receive are genuine. In the more remote areas of Koana Islands, many locals will be glad to talk to tourists to find out what they think of the country. Koanians take immense pride of their country, and don’t like unwarranted criticism. A good talking point is Baseball, in which the majority of Koanians support feverishly. Taking in a Super Ligan game whilst staying in the Islands is a must-do.
Another highly regarded virtue in Koana Islands is punctuality. A visitor should apologize even for being late for a few minutes. Being late for longer usually requires a short explanation. 15 minutes is usually considered the threshold between being “acceptably” late and very late. Some will leave arranged meeting points after 15 minutes or 30 minutes (maximum). With the advent of mobile phones, sending a text message even if you are only a few minutes late is nowadays a norm. Being late for a business meeting, even by 1-2 minutes, is considered bad form.
The standard greeting is a handshake. Hugs and kisses, even on the cheek, are only exchanged between family members and close friends.
If you are invited to a Koanian home, the only bad mistake visitors can make is not to remove their shoes. During the winter months, particularly in Narvik and Nelson Islands shoes will carry a lot of snow or mud, and therefore it is customary to remove them, even during the summer. During the wet season you can ask to put your shoes somewhere to dry during your stay. Very formal occasions at private homes, such as a baptism (often conducted at home in Koana Islands) or somebody’s 50th birthday party, are an exception to these rules. In the wintertime, this sometimes means that the guests bring separate clean shoes and put them on while leaving outdoor shoes in the hall. Bringing gifts such as pastry, wine, or flowers to the host is appreciated, but not required.
In Koana Islands there is little in the way of a dress code. The general attire is casual and even in business meetings dressing is somewhat more relaxed than in some other countries.
Koana’s international calling code number is +98. Payphones are available, with older models only accepting cards (special smartchip phone cards as well as credit cards), and newer models that accept coins (Koanian as well as Australian Dollars). Collect calls are possible by dialing 2## on a pay phone.
Koana Islands has excellent wireless GSM and 4G coverage, even in rural areas except in Norra Koana outside of major roads, cities and towns. The major networks are Koatel, Telcom, 3, and Sonexia. Koanian GSM operates on the European 900/1800 MHz frequencies (Americans will need a triband phone), with 4G on 2100 MHz (currently with 7.2-14.4 Mbit HSDPA speeds). Only the Sonexia network supports EDGE.
Prepaid USB 4G modems can be bought cheaply (around KK150) in many shops. They are a good alternative to WiFi in the Koana Islands. They cost around 100 KK/week and 300 KK/month to use. Data limits are high (typically 20 GB/month).
Koana Islands is the world’s third most Internet connected country (behind Iceland and Sweden). The Koanian postal system (“KIPost”) is often considered efficient and reliable, with locations placed inside of supermarkets and convenience stores (look for the Blue envelope logo). Stamps for ordinary letters (to anywhere in the world) are KK12 and the letter usually needs 2 days within Koana. Stamps can be purchased in most supermarkets, ask the cashier.