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MARTIN

Communication Breakdown
Half the Fun is Not Getting To Nauru
 

Communication is so important.  And, if and when it breaks down, all kinds of confusion happens.  Yes, and there's another word that happens too.  My travel to Nauru, hands down, no competition, was the worst travel day of my life.  If it could go wrong, it did.  I missed two flights in one day.

For starters, my embassy contact told me to take a taxi to the airport at 4:30.  It was later than I expected.  I really didn’t want an extra day in Suva.  But, I made plans accordingly.  All that changed when I got a call from the U.S. Embassy at nine in the morning.  Why had I missed my flight?  WHAT??  It never once occurred to me that 4:30 could possibly mean in the morning!  See what I mean about a breakdown in communication?

All I could do was wait for a second call to see if plans could be altered.  And, so very fortunately, they were.  I’d get an afternoon connection to Brisbane, Australia, and then continue on to Nauru the following morning as planned.  I had to cross Fiji to go to the airport in Nadi.  No problems.  I arrived in plenty of time.

I was two hours early.  I went to check in my luggage and was told to wait an hour for the line to open.  I could do that.  But, forty-five minutes before the flight seemed a little odd.  An hour later, I checked on things.  The airline I thought I was to take didn’t have a flight to Brisbane.  The second airline I talked to had no record of my name.  I had no documentation because I don’t own a smart phone and neither airport I visited during the day had available Internet.  I was sent entirely across the airport to the first airline’s ticketing office with no record of my name and then to the second airline’s office, also with no record.  By the time I’d gone to four destinations as precious minutes ticked away.  It was too late.  I missed my flight.  By this point I was feverish.

I had to call the embassy and try to explain again what happened.  If you know me, you know I’m not completely incompetent.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to convince the people at this embassy otherwise.  I was asked why I hadn’t tried to call earlier.  I still had no smart phone, no Internet access and no phone numbers.  Someone from the second airline office looked the number up.

It may not come as any surprise that Nauru is not frequently visited by tourists or flights.  There are only two hotels on the island.  You can’t fly there every day of the week.  Missing a flight on Wednesday morning meant I’d have to fly out in the wee hours of Friday morning.  And, this time it was clearly communicated by the travel agent.  I understand wee hours.

All was not lost. In my absence, my embassy contact in Nauru could get exact measurements and collect ideas for the mural.  I would plan things while stranded in Fiji, and arrive in Nauru at eight in the morning all ready to go.  I still had five days to get a mural done and that is about average for my projects.  I very fortunately planned a couple of extra days in Nauru.  It would all work out.

As for forgiveness?  I’m not counting on any of that.

MARTIN
Copyright 2016 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.