Monday, October 28, 2013

Partying at the Parliament

Anchored just in front of the Parliament House, the government center of Kiribati, we did some exploring on land on Saturday and Monday. Saturday, we went into town seeking an internet connection to make a reservation for a mooring in the Marshall Islands. We walked about a mile down the very dusty road to a small hotel that had a connection (well it wasn't working at first so we walked some more and came back to a repaired – but very, very slow internet connection for $2 Aus an hour). Then we headed back to an event at the Parliament dock – a traditional sailing catamaran, a vaca, was open for tours. This was actually a newly built, all solar powered vaca that was sailed here from Fiji. The goal is to try to get these boats in use by local fishermen to save fossil fuel. There was a barbecue as well and for $3 a plate – you got tuna, sausage and chicken plus salad (lettuce) and rice. The better news was that we didn't even have to buy our own lunch, as Patrick, a member of Parliament, insisted on buying it for us (as well as several beers and soft drinks). We met some very interesting people, mostly Australians, who are working on projects in Kiribati.

On Sunday, it was a rainy, squally day – but great to cool down and get some rain "showers." Then we invited a couple from a nearby yacht, "Irish Melody" over for sundowners. Andrea and Tony are very interesting New Zealander/Australians who have been living and working in Kiribati for ten months. They had some great insight into the island politics, lifestyle and work ethic here. We enjoyed the evening immensely.

On Monday (today), we decided to head to the town of Bairiki by bus (mini vans that run up and down the road and for $.80 you ride to town). We needed to get our passports stamped (the immigration woman forgot her stamp the day we cleared in), get some more Australian cash and see the town. It is a small town with many government ministry buildings (immigration, foreign affairs, finance, social services, environment, etc.) spread out. We then walked much of the way back to see more of the town – but it was HOT.

We may head back into the Parliament "club" again later this afternoon or for sure tomorrow. We did find out that the island does NOT celebrate Halloween.

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