|Nauru International Airport doubles as the country's only road.|
I hate having to get visas in advance. Of course not to do so, may cause problems. Visitors to Nauru are required to get the visa in advance, but I was studying Mandarin in Taipei at the time and not too keen on going through the slow process of sending my application and passport off to get it sorted. So I relied on travel related luck and a big and very innocent smile. It has worked before.
|The coolest boarding pass I've seen. Made by cardboard.|
- Do I need a visa? I thought I could get one when landing.
- No, you cannot.
- I will see what I can do, but do not get your hopes up.
The plane, a very old 737, was almost full. Surprisingly so, until I realised that they were throwing an international fishing conference on Nauru. Not too international, though. Most participants seemed to be from Taiwan (Nauru has acknowledged Taiwan as a country - most countries have not as China requires countries to pick us (China) or them (Taiwan)), Solomon Islands and Australia. Then again, not many people have even heard about Nauru, the world's third smallest country (after the Vatican and Monaco), let alone imagined that it is possible to actually go there.
|Nauru has nice views.|
- Welcome to Nauru!
Of course my non-existing visa meant that the custom guy had to hold on to my passport until I was gonna leave. I wasn't worried. Crime can't be high on an island with less than 9,000 people, 19 kilometers of roads and nowhere to hide.
So, what do you do on Nauru? Well, it's a pretty circular island, surrounded by coral reefs. With, as mentioned, a road running around it. A road running around it. How many countries can claim having the same? And I had never ran around a country before. Now, I have. Nauru is just south of the Equator though, so running around the island just after lunch does not come recommended. Now, I know. I have never sweat that much since I for the first time ate a phall curry at Balti Curries in the main street of Falmouth, Cornwall in 1997. But I made it. Just to arrive back at the hotel to discover that the water was switched off during the day. There is not much freshwater on Nauru.
I air dried pretty fast and picked the computer furthest from other people at the Internet cafe afterwards.
|On my way around Nauru. Excuse my sweat.|
The hotel situation on Nauru is rather limited. Od'n Aiwo Hotel is the cheaper hotel "downtown" while there is a more expensive "resort" on the other side of the island. The latter has a bar and hot water and is on a beach, but I still decided to go central. There was no hot water, and a woman visiting for fishing conference was in my room upon arrival (all the doors were open and she liked my room better than hers, so she tried to nick it), but there were no major issues, really.
The main problem was finding it. I arrived at night, and without any taxis I decided to walk through the dark. That was working out great until a guy in a pickup stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. He and two teenagers had picked up a relative coming by the plane, so the car was full, but not the back. I jumped in.
- Where are you going?
- I'm going to the hotel. (I couldn't remember the name. But I mean, who can remember Od'n Aiwo in the middle of the night anyway?)
- No problem, he said in a slight American accent and sped off.
|These shoes are made for walking. Not running. |
They never left the country.
|Wooden x-ray trays. Classic!|