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tuv01 The plane to Tuvalu is ready on the  tarmac at Suva airport, Fiji. Operated by Air Fiji, the aircraft is very comfortable, with 50 well spaced seats. tuv02 Touchdown on the Funafuti runway, after less than 2.5 hours of flight over the endless blue of the South Pacific. tuv03 The Funafuti International Airport welcomes two scheduled flights per week, and a few hundreds visitors per year, most of them on some official business of one sort or another. In between flights, the runway serves as a normal road. tuv04 View over the lagoon. The lagoon has many faces, from the sunny, postcard-perfect like this one... tuv05 ... under heavy rain like here... tuv06 ...or at low tide with the rocks and corals surfacing out of the water... tuv07 ... to the splendid sunsets... tuv08 .... and finally with a wide rainbow to the west. With a diameter of close to 20km, the lagoon has a continuous strip of solid land only to the east. On the other three sides, only a few islets (motu's) are scattered along a wide arch. tuv09 The  main feature on Funafuti is the long paved road which crosses most of the east island from North to South for a dozen km. In the main village, the traffic can be surprisingly intense, but on the outer stretches the road is quite desert. tuv10 The eastern part of the atoll is at times so narrow that the road takes most of its width. Here, looking south, the ocean is on the left and the lagoon on the right. tuv10b The thin separation between lagoon (top) and ocean can be  well appreciated from the air. tuv11 Apart from an incredible number of private cars and bikes and taxis, the only public means of transport is the (one) bus. It runs up and down the main road continuously in the daytime. Unfortunately, in my experience the driver turned out quite unfriendly. tuv12 Inside the bus. The fare is 50 cents. tuv13 On the north side of the eastern atoll, very few houses are present. The lagoon has long stretches of beautiful beaches. tuv14 Here, where less boats and people can be found, the corals are much healthier and a good number of reef fish can be seen. tuv14b The small enclosed lagoon at the southern tip of the Funafuti atoll. A few tens of people live in the secluded village of Funafala. tuv15 Like in most of the South Pacific, religion plays a big role in Tuvalu. Protestants are the majority, but a surprising number of other confessions can also be found. Here is one, complete with telecommunications antenna. tuv16 Tuvaluans care very much for their dead, and provide them with colorful, well protected and nicely located graves. tuv17 Graves can be found isolated, often in front of the family house. Or they can be grouped in colorful and varied cemeteries like this one. tuv18 At the one and only hotel on Tuvalu, the staff doubles into a dance group for the weekly night of traditional food and fun.
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