The first thing I was told about Nauru was to take a stick with me wherever I go because the stray dogs on the island are aggressive. Before I had my first wander, my peers showed me the faux wedding bands they wore to ward off the local Nauruan men. The “airport” landing strip was smaller than standard, and as such, pilots were required to take an extra course because it was such a tricky land. Needless to say, things are done a little differently around here…
1. Nauru has been destroyed by phosphate mining
The ironic fact being that phosphate is valuable as a fertiliser, and now the island can’t grow crops. The island is now mostly uninhabitable, and there are vast remains of pinnacles of old coral and volcanic rock.
Here are some of the mining sites and equipment:
2. Nauruans do not like to work
The island has been mined for its phosphate, leaving the country without good soil or land for agriculture. I came across what appears to be a large hill of top soil near the centre of the island.
Apparently, Australia donated it for the purpose of reviving their farming and it’s been sitting there growing weeds out of it for the last decade or so.
Recently, it has been a host for the offshore refugee processing centres that Australia is paying them big money for.
What will their next short term financial solution be?
3. Nauru is the fattest country in the world
Due to aforementioned lack of agriculture resulting from phosphate mining, the Nauruans live primarily off packaged and processed foods because they don’t have access to a lot of fresh produce. Hence, large people…they even beat the U.S.!
4. Pilots need to take a special course to learn how to land Nauru’s airport
…because it’s shorter than standard sized airport landing strips! The runway is basically as long as the island…which is just enough room.
Main road and landing strip behind it:
5. It’s only a few degrees below the equator
This makes for steamy living! The Nauruans seem to get by on spending time swimming with family down at the gorgeous tropical beaches. Only at high tide, though…or you’ll get cut by the pinnacles!
6. There are street dogs
I was warned several times to always carry a stick in case a street dog attacks me. There were several reports of people being bitten by dogs, so I did make sure to take a large stick or plank of wood when I was travelling by foot alone. In my opinion, the dogs seemed too malnourished and battered themselves to be interested in having a go at me. Maybe I got lucky?
7. Nauruan guys will often have a crack
In case you’re not Aussie, this means getting hit on or copping romantic advances. A couple of my peers wore wedding and engagement bands to ward them off because Nauruans respect the institution of marriage. I can attest to the fact that I was “greeted” and asked how my day was and where I was going by many friendly Nauruans over the course of a day. Funnily enough, they were all male.
So I didn’t get mauled by a dog, did get cracked onto by Nauruans, but also did stay alive during the plane landing. All in all, not too bad!
Other Tidbits for you Good Little Readers…
Nauruans are great with weaves (Nauru Independence Day)
View from “Bondi Beach” Lebanese restaurant and bar (owned by an Australian girl and her refugee boyfriend)
Japanese military pill box
Coral and volcanic rock fossils
Rainforest walk down to the beach
Pile of trashed cars…coz there’s nowhere else to put them!