Fun fact About Kiribati- Do You Know?
A Story about “Ti” and “S”:
Back in the old times in Kiribati, the typer keyboard was missing the letter “s”, so people replaced it with “ti”. Now “Kiribati” is actually pronounced as “Kiribas”. There is a cafe called “Titarbuckti”, which is, in fact, “Starbucks”.
I Hitchhike With A Local
I take a long bus ride from Tobaraoi to Betio, $1.4. The strip runs only one way by the water, and there’s no transportation on the other side of the airport.
I get out of Betio, right after the toll bridge. I don’t know where to go, but I see some marine boat by the sea, leftover from World War 2, where lots of kids are playing. I stop by to play with them: they are super friendly and posing in front of my camera. I see some street dogs swimming in the ocean. Lots of street dogs here!
I run into a local guy who is lying on the hammock to sing karaoke. That intrigues me so we start talking.
He asks me to join him to sing karaoke.
I then meet his brother-in-law, who I hitchhike with to head to Betio. His name is Roma.
Just as many other Pacific Islands, Chinese government comes here and Taiwanese left due to political reasons. Many Chinese open restaurants and stores here for business. I stroll into a small Chinese restaurant for lunch. Simple menu and not very clean environment.
I order a fish noodle soup for $5.5. It’s basically instant noodle with fish. I’m surprised that the Chinese chef actually adds some sesame oil to make it more tasty.
I ask for spicy chili. At first, they give me a bowl of soy sauce with chili, but I ask for a fresh chili. They give me a green chili that I bite off and dump into the soup.
Crash Party With Local Celebrities
I start knowing her name is Terouta. And she offers to take me to the other side of the island and stay with her, then she can send me back.
Gradually, I realize her husband Arikitau is a local celebrity, who is the best Kiribati dancer touring around New York, San Francisco, New Zealand, etc for performance. He works with Lemi Ponifasio, a celebrity living in New Zealand.
Notes: For the full travel journals, please visit my second book.
Special thanks to a few people who have helped me at Kiribati these few days:
Jon from Malta: for giving me his hotspot for wifi and tips for surviving in Kiribati.
Richard from Dreamers: for giving me $2 coins for local buses.
Roma, the police: for giving me a hitchhike ride and driving me at Betio and later helping me to find another hotel.
Akau, the famous boxer birthday guy: for protecting me for safety and giving me many free drinks.
Terouta, the local celebrity Airikitau’s wife: for offering me help at the restaurant and paying for my beer.