A Travellerspoint blog

Tarawa Battle for the South Pacific (Country Collecting)

The Battle of Tarawa (9. -10. December 1941) was a fierce battle between the attacking US-Americans and the defending Japanese, just 2 days after the Pearl Harbour incident (but 4.000 km away ...), where US bombardments killed as many as 750 innocent Tarawa islander civilians, 90% of the Korean forced laborers (1.071) and 99.9% of the Japanese soldiers (4.690). Plenty of war remainders can be seen on the islands up to today.

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American butts got kicked too (Foto below: Wikipedia). However only less than 2% of US troops (1.009 out of 54.000). Even this caused an uproar in the US.

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"Last week some 2,000 or 3,000 United States Marines, most of them now dead or wounded, gave the nation a name to stand beside those of Concord Bridge, the Bonhomme Richard, the Alamo, Little Bighorn, and Belleau Wood. The name was Tarawa."
— Robert Sherrod, Time Magazine War Correspondent, 6 December 1943

Nowadays Tarawa is a Pacific jewel, a UN member country, part of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) and the Gilbert Islands. Postcard views at every corner.

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Arrival at Bonriki International Airport, Tarawa.

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The George Hotel Kiribati is the best hotel on Tarawa.

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The Tabon Te Keekee is the most romantic hotel on the islands, however in rather remote North Tarawa.

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North Tarawa can be reached by a combination of rental car ...

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... an inter-island bridge ...

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... and a motorised pirogue.

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With my fellow extreme travelers and country collectors Per and Harald ...

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... drinking from coconuts at the Tabon te Keekee Hotel in North Tarawa.

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Extraordinarily friendly kids and people in Tarawa.

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Our Battle of the South Pacific (as country collectors) was for remote UN countries, such as Kiribati (TRW), Nauru (INU), Tuvalu (FUN).

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Source: MapPorn

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Unfortunately our hub had to be Fiji (NAD & SUV), where we were interrogated at Nadi Airport in the most unfriendly way for our "unusual" travel behavior (in and out flights for three days in a row, well-dressed, with very small luggage). This had previously only happened to me in known lawless and rogue regimes, such as Gabon, Uzbekistan or the US, but not in prima facie tourist-friendly countries such as Fiji.

FCUK THE FIJI BORDER CONTROL

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Friendly red carpet instead in Nauru.

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And likewise in Tuvalu: Funafuti has an international airport like in the good old days: no security control, no fences, no state terror at all. Loved it.

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Now there is only one more UN country point left on my bucket list: Eritrea !

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Posted by LuxuryRogue 12:18 Archived in Kiribati

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