Nov 102014

Hotel van, once again with the side door completely open (I found out the night before this was for “air conditioning reasons” and not because it was actually broken) dropped me at the airport, and there was nobody in sight. I prayed the flight was still operating. Got to the check-in counter, and there was nobody in site. This wasn’t a good sign:


No need to worry, however, the flight was on-time, and was en route from Brisbane already. I was, however, the first person to check in 90 minutes before the flight time. The agent confirmed that only six passengers were getting on in Nauru. Um, how is this profitable?

After getting my boarding pass and checking my bags (exit row again, score!) it was upstairs to immigration. Note how dead the airport looks:


Got to immigration, and there was only one small problem, as you can see in this picture:


That’s right, the immigration person hadn’t showed up to work yet! Less than 90 minutes before flight time. Security was there, but they wouldn’t; let me through until I cleared immigration. They suggested I have a seat at the immigration officer’s desk while I wait. Hahah!

Immigration showed up about 1:15 before the flight, and clearing immigration and security took all of about two minutes. Then, it was to the incredibly crowded holding room:


Looks like Nauru is buying into the concept of global warming…I mean climate change 😉


There was a business class lounge, but it was locked. If it was locked before one of their rare 737 flights, makes you wonder when exactly it does open:


Soon, da plane come, and the passengers from Brisbane disembarked:


About 10 minutes later, some of them started to enter the departures lounge. Seems the route to Majuro and/or Kiribati was popular, and Nauru is a transit point for a few people. I guess there’s really no easier way to get to either place from Brisbane! There were several Japanese on the plane, and they were clearly getting agitated, looking for a smoke. They decided the holding room door was unlocked, so they’d just go outside onto the staircase down to the plane and smoke.

Uh, no, you can’t just let yourself out onto the tarmac people. They were smacked down by what little security there was, and made to go inside.

Nauru Airlines aka Our Airline Flight 7
Nauru (INU) to Majuro, Marshall Islands (MAJ)
Depart 8:35, Arrive 10:05, Flight Time 1:30
Boeing 737-300, Registration VH-PNI, Manufactured 1997, Seat 11D

Flight was less than half full, and I had the entire exit row to myself again. View upon takeoff:


Once airborne, a “continental breakfast” was served. I think I ate the chocolate thing, but the sandwich was warm and had mayo on it. No thanks, not gonna trust that on a flight:


Landed in Majuro a few minutes ahead of schedule, and saw a wingleted 727. I didn’t know there were any 727s still flying, much less with winglets!


It was pooring rain in Majuro, and about 20 people got off the flight. Another 20 or so got on to replace them, so we would continue on to Tarawa with about a half full plane. One disappointing thing about the Marshall Islands is there was no data roaming it appeared. So, I had to kill the time people watching.

Soon, we were airborne again, and on our way to Kiribati:

Nauru Airlines aka Our Airline Flight 7
Majuro, Marshall Islands (MAJ) to Tarawa, Kiribati (TRW)
Depart 11:05, Arrive 12:20, Flight Time 1:15
Boeing 737-300, Registration VH-PNI, Manufactured 1997, Seat 11D

Another snack was offered once we were up in the air:


Yeah, um, no thanks…that looks a little too scary for my taste:


Rather empty flight. Took this shot so you could see the “business class” seats a few rows up.


On approach to Tarawa:



Tarawa is basically one long atoll, no more than 500 meters wide at its widest point, and several dozen kilometers long:


Landed right on time, to a very warm Kiribati. The super large airport terminal:



Immigration was friendly, and even had traditional woven signs welcoming us:


On the immigration form, there was the standard “have you visited Africa/South America/Caribbean in the last 7 days” health question, but with a twist. This one also included “The United States.” I was honest and ticked the box, and when asked where in the United States I’d been, I said Washington, DC. That raised Ebola red flags with them, until I convinced them they had their news wrong and Ebola was only in Texas and Georgia so far, hah! They decided to believe me, and let me escape quarantine. Then, it was time for immigration.

They seemed rather disappointed I wasn’t staying longer, but were happy to welcome me to the country. My driver was waiting from the hotel right outside immigration, however, my bags were nowhere to be found. After convincing the baggage people to have another look, they went back to the plane…and look what they found in the baggage hold…my bags! I don’t know how only my bags ended up still on the plane, but at least they found them. Kiribati has so few flights I have no idea what I would have done if my bags didn’t show up!

Into the hotel van, and off to Mary’s Motel and to explore Kiribati!

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