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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

Imprisoned in Paradise

The colours of Tuvalu can be pure magic. I’d usually add more photos, but the internet speeds (or lack thereof) won’t allow such. More photos from here and elsewhere on my Instagram account, though: @garfors


Being in Paradise isn’t too bad. Unless you’re held there against your own will. I am currently in the least accessible country in the world, and I am unable to leave.

Tuvalu is the only country in the world that is 1) Connected by air to only one foreign destination

2) Served by only one airline

3) By propeller planes only

AND

4) In the hands of an airline that is not based in its own country

Altogether making it less accessible than even Nauru or Kiribati.

The plane company in question is Fiji Airways. I was, together with around 50 other people from around the world, supposed to have left the capital Funafuti on Tuesday February 13. 72 hours later, no aircraft has landed or taken off. Not even the flight supposed to carry another 50 or so passengers on Thursday February 15. Rumour has it that a plane will arrive, as scheduled, tomorrow, but this is apparently already fully booked, and unable to accommodate the 100 or so passengers waiting to leave the country from two cancelled flight.

Information from the airline is non-existing, and no effort seems to be made in order to clear the backlog of passengers. The question now is just how long the delay will be. 96 hours? 120? 240?

“What are you doing here?” people ask me.

“Trying to leave,” I answer.

And don’t get me wrong, Tuvalu is a beautiful place. It is just that I don’t like not being able to leave at my own will. At least Funafuti, the capital and main island is picture perfect. Luckily I have a book to write, and this is the perfect place to do it. I still have more countries to research for it, and I am hoping Fiji Airways will get its act together sooner rather than later.

Update: We left Funafuti exactly 100 hours late. A personal record for me. May I never break it. 

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