This is a story about my last trip, which ended days before the whole world goes into lockdown. It’s really hard times for everyone and a little harder for every traveller. In February I headed for a couple of days to Australia, which was my starting point from where I began my journey through the islands of the Pacific.
I hope my story to serve you as a distraction from everything that it’s going on right now. Let me start with some information about the Pacific island which isn’t so known from most of the people. Mainly the islands are divided into three major sub-regions of Oceania: Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. The islands are hard to reach, there are only a couple of flights per week to some of them and the number of tourists each year are a small number. Almost every island there is an atoll. An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets. An atoll surrounds a body of water called a lagoon. In the past, most of them were colonies of European countries. After knowing that it’s time to head on our first stop…
Tuvalu’s location is remote, hidden deep within the South Pacific Ocean and is one of the world’s tiniest countries. From the plane, I glimpse white-water fringing the edge of a coral reef and the mop-heads of coconut palms flanking the unfenced airstrip.
That’s how tiny Tuvalu is. The airport is a real attraction because people actually live on it. And when a plane approach to the only runaway, a loud signal goes on, to alarm everybody to clear the path so the plane can land safely.
As soon as the evening comes, locals flock to the runway for anything and everything and when the night falls, I saw people sitting on the pavement, or laying down. This is quite an experience. I spend around 4 days there and I had the unfortunate luck to pick the rainiest days. Nerveless I still got the chance to take a walk around the island, which took me around 3 hours back and forth, that’s how small it is. Another quirky thing about Tuvalu it’s that it hasn’t ATM and credit cards are not accepted anywhere either. The local currency of Tuvalu is the Australian dollar, with the local Tuvaluan coins featuring Queen Elizabeth II on one side and local marine life. I searched every store for these coins and now I’m very happy with my collection of foreign money. Tuvalu is also famous among stamp collectors. The little island is well known for its rear stamps. Another curious thing is there are no beach facilities.
In the Funafuti Atoll where the capital of Tuvalu is, there is only a small patch of sand at the end of the runway. If you expected me to tell you about a wild beach night in some bar, you will be disappointed, because there is only one bar in the city. But the island sees great sunsets from the lagoon side. Not so much to do in Tuvalu, but if you like to snorkel this is a perfect place. Okay, let’s head to our next stop…
Kiribati is made of three island groups, the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands and the Phoenix Islands, a UNESCO site and one of the world’s largest marine protected areas. All three island groups are located near the Equator. The majority of the island is made of coral atolls.
My story about Kiribati will be short because when I arrived people were very cautious about me because I originally came from Australia and they were scared that I’m bringing with me the coronavirus. So I had to rearrange my plans. The local authorities did everything to get me out of there so they bought me a ticket for the next flight to Fiji and paid for my hotel. I spend a night there, but I stole a couple of glimpses of the island before I go.
I notice the island is dotted with colourful churches with beautifully decorated facades and front gates. I have not seen such a style anywhere else in the Pacific and they are all well worth a stop. The next morning I took off to Fiji, so I can continue with my next destination, which was…
The scarier thing than coronavirus in the Marshall Islands is the measles. That’s why they will not allow you there if you are not vaccinated. I took mine in Fiji so I was good to go.
I arrived in Majuro Atoll, the capital of the Marshall Islands and I lost one day. How you may ask? Because the islands choose to be part of the USA time zone and I automatically when to the future. Due to extreme isolation, the country only receives a few thousand tourists per year. There is very little tourism on Majuro and, consequently, accommodation options are virtually null. Whatsoever I found a nice place to stay and went to explore the island.
The beaches are beautiful, untouched by tourism, unspoiled by development and unheard of by most of the world. The most interesting thing nearby is the Bikini atoll. It’s famous because the atoll was used for peacetime atomic explosions conducted for experimental purposes by the United States between 1946 and 1958.
The atoll suffered serious radioactive contamination from these tests. But not so long ago it was opened for scuba diving among the lagoon’s sunken warships, and sport fishing began two years later. I think we are done here, so let’s go to…
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of those islands. Pohnpei is the largest of the islands in the Federated States of Micronesia.
The northern end of the island has most of the population, and the city of Kolonia was I was staying. The most interesting thing to see there, beside of nature is the mysterious Nan Madol, which is a royal ancient city. Nowadays a ruin, on Temwen Island just outside the east coast of Pohnpei.
Featuring canals and artificial islands, it is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the Pacific. The Kapiroh Waterfall, down the road from Nan Madol, is an easy side trip when visiting the ruins.
The waterfall cascades from the lush rainforest into cool pools of fresh water. It is a force of nature and one of the island’s main iconic landmarks. To sum-up, Pohnpei is the tropical Micronesian paradise.
Before I head up to Europe I had another unplanned stop in Guam. My flight was cancelled so I had to search for an alternative route, that’s how I end up spending a day there. Actually it wasn’t bad at all, because the island is amazing. Exotic beaches and natural mesmerizing sceneries. It’s a popular escape paradise for the Americans because is U.S. island territory in Micronesia.
The cuisine of the region
According to my observation the 90% of the food there is highly influenced by North America, Australia and there is a trial of the cousins of the countries that once colonized the islands. For example, the British colonial period established a strong base of interest in Anglo-Celtic style recipes and methods. Seafood, a particular fish, has long been the primary dietary staple and source of protein for Pacific Islanders. Nearly 300 varieties of fish are found in the waters of Polynesia alone. Fish is typically eaten raw, poached, or grilled. Root vegetables and tubers, such as taro (also known as cocoyam), sweet potatoes, and yams, are also central to the diet of the region. A wide variety of tropical fruits are also eaten in large quantities.
I hope that you enjoy this travel reading and if you really miss travelling in this thought period you can always use the power of the mind and teleport yourself somewhere in the world, by reading travel blogs, watching videos and hopping that any time soon the world will be back to normal. Stay safe, stay healthy and see you soon.
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