Thursday, March 21, 2013

Playing around in Palau

Jim and I got together with Mike and Haesung of Second Jump and Walt and Jane of Callisto, rented a van and toured Babeldaup for the day.    We managed to get lost in the back roads and miss some of the major sights but we had a great day anyway.  That's how it goes sometimes.    

Here is a traditional Bai (meeting house).   I love the storyboards painted on the front.

As I said, we got lost for a bit, but we met up with this man and his friend in a pick up truck who gladly led us to the one and only place to have lunch on this trip, a small and very pretty resort on the east coast of Babeldaup.  We're hoping it wasn't wiped out in the typhoon.

 This is the capitol building of Palau.   It is an extravagant albatross built with 37 million Euros donated by the now impoverished EU.    One can only scratch their heads when you realize that there are only a handful of elected officials running this country of a population of 50,000 so why in God's name did they need this structure.    We heard that it is too expensive to air condition so they hold many of the meetings outside as the windows do not open.    Palau gets a lot of money from various sources like the Chinese, Japanese and the Americans.    We send them millions every years, supposedly for infrastructure, to maintain the right to have our Naval fleet in their waters, but most of that money has made a few unscrupulous Palauans very rich.    I was told that the Marshall Islands has the wealthiest population per capita due to the dollars that go into that island chain but end up in just a few pockets.    With all the budget issues we have now, and the cuts being made seems like we should do something about this.    A little less money for these welfare states and maybe we could keep the tours open in the White House, you think????  That's my political rant for the year, thank you very much.

So we were supposed to be looking for the stone faces in the jungle, which we did not find, after a few hilarious attempts and then all of a sudden there was this cute cabin with a stone face in front.   When I went to take a picture with it, I leaned against it and the darned thing fell was a fake made from styrofoam.

Another day we organized a trip to the clam farm on Malakal Island.    The clams here are huge and beautiful.   I learned that the colors come from the algae they ingest and each one has a different color scheme.    They start out little, though:

Jim got to play guitars with Jim of Asylum a couple of times and Gail of Fifth Season is an accomplished harpist who played at our Christmas event.   As they were anchored right next to us we could often hear the harp being played and Gail singing.   Such a nice atmosphere in our little cove.

Our friend, Charity Shaw from Australia, came upon a litter of puppies abandoned by their mother and in a very bad way.   She rescued 4 of them (the others were too far gone) and managed to save 3 of them with a lot of effort on her part in the end.    As she was a busy woman she often needed puppysitters, so since this was a chance to get some snuggle time with cute puppies I volunteered and took turns with other cruisers.   Charity was very strict, no bad behaviours for her puppies, but here comes grandma Joy who spoiled them and taught them the Chase the Mop game.  Needless to say, they had a grand ol' time.

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