Koana Islands (pronounced Co-ahna Islands), officially the Republic of Koana Islands is an Oceania country situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It's closest neighbours are Australia to the east, Madagascar to the west and Indonesia to the North. The capital city is Megopolis.
Around 95.6 million people reside in Koana Islands, with the majority concentrated in the southern part of the country. It is the third largest country in the world in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country after only Australia and Finland. 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, Danish and Norwegian. 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 good English. Koana Islands is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in Megopolis and local governments in over 1,000 municipalities. A total of about twelve million residents live in the Greater Megopolis area (which includes Megopolis. Black Island and Jonestown), and a third of the country's GDP is produced there. Other major cities include Bayside, New Auckland, Humoor, Embleton, Vizhune and Conneaut.
Koana Islands was historically always independent from the rest of the world. With many explorers, such as a James Cook (who discovered Australia) passing on claiming the land. 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 7% 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 industrialization, 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.
The quickest and often the most convenient way of long-distance intercity travel in the Koana Islands is by plane. Coast-to-coast travel takes about 6 hours from east to west, and 5 hours from west to east (varying due to winds), compared to the days necessary for land transportation. Most cities in the Koana are served by one or two airports; Many small towns also have some passenger air service, although you may need to detour through a major hub airport to get there. Depending on where you are starting, it may be cheaper to drive to a nearby large city and fly or, conversely, to fly to a large city near your destination and rent a car.
The Koana Islands has an excellent, reliable, and affordable railway system, which reaches almost every part of the country. Unless you travel by plane, rail will be your major mode of transportation. Almost all long-distance and many regional trains are operated by Koana Tag ("Koana Rail"), the national railway company. Megopolis also has an extensive Subway system that reaches Black Island and Jonestown.
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. Traveling 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.
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 Koana cities have excellent bike paths, and renting a bike can be a quick and healthy method of getting around locally.
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 someones 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.
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.
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 supprt feverishly.
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 Snowy and Henry 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.