Circling the Island before landing
I was a bit nervous about my trip to Nauru, as I had booked a flight with arrival and departure on the same day, where a small delay could make me miss the short visit I had planned. Nauru is a country with only four, all bad and overpriced hotels, and when asking people what there was to do the answer was always just “nothing”. I did not want to spend a week waiting for the next plane, just like I did in Tuvalu, so I booked the flight that would give me the maximum stopover time of three and a half hours before the plane departed again. That was Nauru Airlines flight ON018 from Fiji and ON041 flying onwards to Kiribati. I thought it would be enough to see the smallest country in the World, and it was.
My plane was almost empty and I made sure to sit in the front and be the first one out upon arrival. I rushed to the immigration and was stamped into the country after the immigration officer had asked me if I was a friend of Mark, who was waiting outside. Small world I guess.
Mark was a guy I had met on Facebook just like I had done in other countries where there are no couchsurfing hosts. As he had the day off and nothing better to do he had offered to drive me around the island, which had less than 20 kilometers of road. He explained to me what life was like on the island, and how it had changed from being a wealthy country that exported phosphate, to todays Nauru which is heavily dependent on aid from Australia, who in return gets to send their refused asylum seekers there. I was considering asking him to see the camp where they live, but thought it was enough to see a lot of them while driving around the island.
Nauru is not really a great beach destination either, with these rocks around
Im glad I didn’t stay overnight as we managed too see almost everything on the Island in less than two hours! On our drive around the island we saw the church, the run down phosphate plant, dipped out feet at Anibare Bay, bought some post cards at the post office in Aiwo and as we still had time left we went late lunch at the Chinese run restaurant “Mr Chippys”/”the Boat Harbour”, where they had 9AUD tuna sashimi with rice.
Getting the visa to Nauru was actually a lot easier than I first had thought. I searched for Nauru on Facebook and sent messages to lots of the people who were members of groups and looked like they had other connections to the country. A friendly local guy called Mark offered to write me a invitation letter which I together with an application form, flight reservation and 50AUD Western Union transfer sent to the Nauru Immigration. Apparently they liked my invite as they told me I could disregard the criminal record, health certificate and the proof of employment (since I am unemployed), and then it was just a couple of weeks waiting before they issued me an entry permission that had to be shown before boarding my plane from Fiji.
If you ask me I would definitely say that Nauru is the country that has given me the least experience from all my travels, but maybe I should have just stayed there longer? Whats your experience? Feel free to share..