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Kiribati, Atlantis of the Pacific

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August 14, 2062. Today is a special day, 53 years ago of a date that we do not forget to celebrate year after year, despite the age, and 50 years of our visit to a country, Kiribati, which today is the cover of the main newspapers, since they have officially taken it for granted under the waters. Paula has breakfast toasts that she likes so much while Isaac took advantage of our privileged apartment on the 32nd floor of the building where we live to have a cappuccino, write and observe the beautiful views of A Coruña from this sunny day, one of the first cities with water canals in Spain. We still remember when they said that Galicia was the rainiest place in Spain. Today, with the whole south turned into a desert, thousands of tourists come to the white artificial sand beaches protected by sandbags with near expiration date.

The experimental solution that many countries have adopted already seems to work, although we can not feel more than lucky, because really they look like floating cans in an ocean full of garbage and pollution. Kiribati is the first country officially declared missing, but it will soon become official that Maldives, Tuvalu e Marshall Islands have been completely selfless by the waters. Sad ending for wonderful places that we enjoy on our trips there in 2011 to Maldives and 2012 to the South Seas. !Good 'ol times!

The "Lilypad" are floating ecópolis of refugees that travel with the sea currents from the equator to the poles. They are self-sufficient amphibious cities, and although it has green technologies such as solar, wind or tidal, titanium dioxide covers that reacted with UV rays never got to work allowing the absorption of atmospheric pollution. Today the earth is a true manure, and its waters, more and more fallen. they have destroyed the last wonders of coral reefs that were left, in addition to no iceberg left of all those we saw in the trip to Antarctica 2009, not to mention all extinct species.

We still remember that August 14, 2011, our second day in Tarawa. That day we woke up with a mixture of disappointment, grief, helplessness ... But that day, and following the advice of our "ambassador friend" we wanted to see the "other Kiribati", the North of Tarawa, the most traditional, and so we were going to do it (125 AUD both) after a strong breakfast at Molly's Motel and prepare a picnic for the road (29.20 AUD). We were 34 years old, today we could not hit those "tutes" of flights ... Our route of the day was clear:

The idea we had of a boat at the time was somewhat less sophisticated than now. So a simple barge served us to get lost in the lagoon of intense turquoise blue that encloses the Tarawa atoll. With us came our Californian friends and the "beautiful girl" of the Mary's Motel. We didn't need more.


 

The distance that separated the South of Tarawa from the abandoned island of Biketawe In our boat, which had just two fuel tanks that would be paid today at the price of gold, it was of About 30-35 minutes. We still remember that hustler "boatman", always dodging the most coral low waters to enter skillfully through the channels formed at low tide at that time of the morning. It would have been a good place to catch something, wouldn't Paula?

At low tide everything looked different to when it rose. It was up to 1 km of open land at the same level, which hours later was flooded by the waters. Kiribati was 2 meters high in most of its atolls and by then began to become aware of the serious problem of global warming on the planet


 

In fact, the problems we saw the previous day of garbage, poverty and overpopulation were the main ones at the time, but Anote Tong, the Kiribatian president, was the protagonist of the first apocalyptic announcements saying that the country would be forced to move due to the effects of climate change if there were no international aid and its more than 100,000 inhabitants would end up being environmental refugees. Even experimental models predicted that scenarios at the end of the 21st century would sink Kiribati earlier than Maldives, Tuvalu or Marhsall Islands.


Kiribati would become, according to these heating models, in the new modern Atlantis of S.XXI


 

While that was happening, as if it were a science fiction movie, the Government negotiated the purchase of 20 km2 from its neighboring Fiji, and against the thinking of the vast majority of i-Kiribatians. It would be a section on the island of Viti Levu that we saw that same year 2011 in our trips through the South Seas.

We also remember with love the difference of the North Islands of Tarawa with the dump of the South. With that low tide in the morning of that August 14, crossing from one island to another was really simple ...


 

... as simple as a pair of pants. On the other side, dozens of children greeted us with a smile. These people, these peoples, lived very differently from what was seen in Bairiki or Betio.


 

We also remember with much love how they received us. Few travelers came to those almost incommunicado islands of the rest of the world. A hand, a smile, a photo, for them it was more than for any of us a mobile of the latest technology.


 

The next day we would discover something more about the life of those people and their behavior, their most important institutional symbol and that is based on the foundation of community life and its importance to the social, economic and political issues discussed by themselves.


 

Also that day we would be surprised to see how the dirt of the South disappeared, being completely clean villas, with a certain order, and totally subsistence


 

And it is that the i-kiribatis of the North had in their lands everything they could need to satisfy their primary needs, from plantations, inventions to collect "strong drinks", coconut trees to take advantage of their food and drink in abundance ...


 

... pigs, chickens and other pets, tasty fruits and vegetables that satisfy your diet ...


 

Really since we left Tanna in Vanuatu o Solomon Islands of that, no doubt, one of our best trips, we didn't feel so close to what could be called the "old oceania", that of the wooden houses with leaf roofs, that of the smile to foreigners, that of the most ancestral traditions, that of the affection of their children leaving school with the newly learned English lesson…


 

It was time to return, lat tide it rose very quickly since the plains without water that we had walked just had centimeters above sea level. We also collected that sand that today looks in small boats along with other trips in our beautiful room decorated with memories of many places


 

It gave a certain "vertigo" to see how quickly the waters rose in less than an hour, eliminating any trace of the channels through which we reached Biketawe and its surrounding islands. !! Run Paula! !! Correeee !!

But above all, what gave some grief was to see how around us there was an old resort owned by the governmentor, that in its day was financed by 60 million dollars of aid a year, with a lot of small huts to relax, showers, wc,…

It is very possible that the year 2062 will be too soon for all this to happen, but as we continue without becoming aware of a real problem that is out there, it will be our children and grandchildren who suffer them. It would be much more than a shame ...
ORGANIZING ON THE MARCH: Nothing new organized today. We continue with the idea of ​​thinking what to do from here tomorrow or in Sydney

Kiribati had been during the 90's a place promoted by the main brochures of the travel agencies of Australia and United States, as a paradise halfway between Hawaii and Australia of "turquoise blue waters surrounded by palm trees". And they didn't lie, but The tourists never arrived.


The complex was in 2012 a ghost town, with everything as it was at the time, but abandoned to his fate and the inclement weather, and upon the arrival of a clueless traveler like us who do a small tour to know the true Micronesian town in which we were


 

And it was to those travelers who focused on Kiribati official tourism website at that time with a slogan that read "For travelers, not tourist". The truth is that tourists were not even the first.

Today we read with love that adventure, those stories in cottages that tell us so much now that we cannot get that far, that dinner (30 AUD), those photos of that sunset in the lagoon that came every day ...

… as well as something even more important and that we never forget, is the hug of all those children as the greatest we always receive and that accompanies us until today in our adventures… !! thanks grandmother cotters !! !! Until always Kiribati !!


Isaac and Paula, from Bairiki in Tarawa (Kiribati)

EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 184.20 AUD (approx. 160.17 EUR)

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