My driver from Mary’s Motel showed up, and the car had ice cold air conditioning, which was nice giving the blazing mid-day sun in Kiribati. There is basically one road on Tarawa Atoll, and it runs the length of the atoll. It’s dozens of miles long, but the Atoll is maybe 500 meters wide at its widest point:
Kiribati is also, according to some sources I read online before the trip, the least visited country in the world. I wasn’t expecting anything to see/do, more just to walk around and take in how life goes on here.
My hotel was in Bairiki which is the country’s administrative centre, and you can see it’s a bit of a drive from the airport. It took almost an hour, and during the drive I got a lot of insight into the country from my driver. One cool fact is that the road is under construction (it was badly potholed, etc) and that should significantly improve travel options on the atoll. Was also cool to see several large signs from my employer as one of the key financiers of the new road. Hopefully it helps things!
At Mary’s, I played the usual (by now) South Pacific game of musical rooms until I found one that had reasonably functional air conditioning. Finally settled on this room:
Pretty swanky, no? 😉 It was clean, cool, and reasonably comfortable, and came with a few bonus creepy crawlies here and there, and a few lizards that I occasionally saw crawling on the walls. The towel origami made up for it though:
View from the room into the parking lot:
The “beach” just outside the motel:
Here you can see the one road, and just how narrow the atoll is in many places:
Nicer beach on the other side:
The hotel driver offered to take me on a bit of a drive down around the Atoll, and we drove around for about 90 minutes before heading back. Unfortunately my phone was dead at this point, so didn’t manage to get any pictures. It was interesting to see how even in the most populous part of Kiribati life was still so rural and quiet. Many of the locals had pigs tied up in their yard, and the pigs were eating/drinking out of what appeared to be old coconut shells. There just wasn’t much going on, but that appears to be the pace of life in Kiribati.
After resting, I decided to go for a bit of a walk. I walked about an hour down the atoll towards the airport just seeing sites until I got way too hot. The “aministrative centre” of the entire country. Not a very busy place:
Air Kiribati advertisement. They’re currently out of business (I believe) and most of these routes are now being operated by Fiji Airways (God help them – oops – foreshadowing) or Our Airline aka Nauru Airlines:
Sunset just outside Mary’s. Love the vivid orange and red colours:
I was feeling artsy, and asked this boy if I could take his picture. I love how it turned out:
I think Tarawa will likely win on this trip for most amazing sunsets:
After sunset, it was time to eat. I asked a few people staying in the motel (all aid workers) and they said the hotel was really the best choice. So Mary’s Motel restaurant it was! I passed on the “Deep Fried Fish with Mayonaise.”
Fresh sashimi appetizer was AMAZING:
The “fish in chille sauce” was interesting…complete with frozen peas and carrots:
It had been a long travel day, and ended up passing out early. Woke up and had a quick coffee at Mary’s restaurant before checking out. A pic of the restaurant: