First impression = not bad at all
The view as I arrived at my hotel for the night
OK, I was not that surprised that Nauru was not listed as a country in Australasia on this Travelblog but I am pretty surprised that I can't find Kiribati either! Nevermind, I only spent a day there afterall. I'll explain. My plan was to spend a week in Nauru and then fly on to the Marshall Islands. The only airline that runs this route is "Our Airline", Nauru's national airline, a notoriously unreliable affair. I knew this but I wanted to try to combine my trips to the two countries and this was the only way to do it.
I got to Nauru alright and after a week turned up at the airport on Monday morning to catch my flight onto the Marshalls. The route goes via Tarawa (capital of Kiribati) and then onto Majuro (capital of the Marshalls). When I presented my ticket at the checking-in desk came the nasty surprise - the flight was only going as far as Tarawa, the onwards flight to Majuro had been cancelled! I had about an hour and a half to try to figure out a way to get out of Nauru and back to Fiji.
Luckily there is actually a
flight that runs from Tarawa back to Fiji on Tuesdays (with Air Pacific - a lot more reliable than Our Airline). So I could catch the flight to Tarawa, stick around for a day and then catch a flight back home. Better than another week in Nauru I thought. But one thing to bear in mind if you are ever caught in the same situation as me (?!) is that Kiribati immigration will not let you into the country unless you have a ticket out of the country...and of course, how on earth would I have one of those since I was never intending to go to Kiribati in the first place?
So with 30 minutes to go to take-off, I had to call a travel agent in Kiribati and buy a ticket from Kiribati to Fiji over the phone with my credit card, then arrange for the travel agent to come and meet me at the immigration desk at the airport and show them the ticket so they would let me into the country! Phew! And that is how I came to stay for 1 day in Kiribati. A bit long-winded story but there you go.
Tree and table
A peaceful spot where I sat to read my book
what a lovely one day it was. Kiribati couldn't be more different than Nauru. Untouched by the "development" of the west, it was an idylic island hideaway compared to Nauru. OK, it has its problems with rubbish collection and disposal (there is none) but it was nonetheless beautiful and I spent a good 2 hours just watching sun going down over the lagoon, which had to be a couple of the most peaceful hours I've managed to get since arriving in the Pacific.
The next morning, I went for a run along the one road there is around the atoll (no chance of getting lost!), then worked a bit, had fresh fish for lunch by the sea and finally pottered over to the airport for my flight back to Fiji. Not very adventurous you might be thinking...but you have to bear in mind I needed some down time after a pretty hectic week in Nauru. Kiribati was perfect for this. Paradise in fact.
I hope I get back to Kiribati someday so I can explore more fully. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to see the real pacific life and who doesn't feel the need to
stay in a four star hotel all the time!
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