Being an explorer - in the republic of Kiribati!

Tarawa Travel Blog

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Our first glimpse of Kiribati

Tarawa, Kiribati. For many people a place they’ve never heard of, for us the fulfilment of a lifelong dream. On November 04, 2008 we boarded a plane in Nadi, Fiji to arrive on Tarawa atoll in the republic of Kiribati!


Difficult to describe why we wanted to go there. It’s a combination of pure curiosity with regards to life in a micro nation, combined with the urge to feel a little like an explorer by discovering faraway and unknown lands. We were not to be disappointed…

 

It already started upon arrival; I’ve seen several small airports (Greenland, Faroe Islands, Estonia just to name a few), but Tarawa was definitely different than those.

Welcome to Kiribati!
No gates, duty free shops or computer driven screens. We got a hangar with a hole in it (through which the luggage was thrown by an airport employee), a customs officer writing all the passengers names in a little book and signs handwritten with a magic marker. Bizarre beyond belief, the description doesn’t do it justice!

 

The heat was another thing. We thought we had gotten used to the tropical temperatures in Fiji, but this was more extreme. Since Tarawa is so close to the equator, and shadow is just as strange here as snow, the two Europeans practically, i.e. us…;-), melted before even getting to the hotel.

 

We stayed at the Otintaai Hotel, which is government run. That suggests more than you get really, we didn’t have running water half the time, the door couldn’t be locked and the food was of dubious quality (an understatement, I had never seen brown fries for example). On the other hand, there was air conditioning, we had a spectacular view over the lagoon and we had a t.v., allowing us to witness history… We saw the USA elect Barack Obama as its president from Tarawa atoll in the republic of Kiribati… J

 

Naturally we wanted to explore the atoll, but the lack of tour guides (or even tourism at all), combined with the scorching heat made it impossible for us to do a lot ourselves.

Another one of the atolls
We checked the hotel reception, and they found it very strange to hear that those two crazy Dutchmen wanted a tour of the atoll. We nevertheless managed to persuade one of the ladies there to guide us around the island the next day. We could hardly wait!

wbatesy says:
this is a great read :) great pictures too :)
Posted on: Apr 18, 2009
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Our first glimpse of Kiribati
Our first glimpse of Kiribati
Welcome to Kiribati!
Welcome to Kiribati!
Another one of the atolls
Another one of the atolls
The eastern part of Tarawa
The eastern part of Tarawa
Stunning views everywhere you look
Stunning views everywhere you look
The first one to give me the right…
The first one to give me the righ…
Thats our hotel, the Otintaai
That's our hotel, the Otintaai
Across the street from the hotel
Across the street from the hotel
The view from our balcony
The view from our balcony
The view from our balcony
The view from our balcony
These guys were fishing in the lag…
These guys were fishing in the la…
At the back of the hotel, overlook…
At the back of the hotel, overloo…
Sunset on Tarawa atoll
Sunset on Tarawa atoll
This kitty was about ten centimetr…
This kitty was about ten centimet…
Tarawa
photo by: MartijnKaspers