IMPRESSIONS OF PALAU

I have had Palau on my bucket list for a long time for two reasons; Jellyfish Lake in the Rock Islands and Peleliu, the island the US/Japan fought a vicious WWII battle.

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For those of you who do not know Palau;

Palau (Listeni/pəˈl/, sometimes spelled Belau or Pelew), officially the Republic of Palau (Palauan: Beluu er a Belau),[4] is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is geographically part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country’s population of around 21,000 is spread across 250 islands forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands. The most populous island is Koror. The islands share maritime boundaries with Indonesia, Philippines and theFederated States of Micronesia. The capital Ngerulmud is located in Melekeok State on the nearby island of Babeldaob.

It is a breathtakingly beautiful set of islands, with the friendliest of people and an interesting history. First colonized by the Spanish, then sold to the Germans, occupied by the Japanese in 1914 and now supported by the US as a United Nations protected territory, Palau has seen its share of foreigners.

Like many islands, the buildings are crumbling with the people surviving on a mix of subsistence farming/fishing, tourism and international aid which allows the government to employee roughly half of the population. The US is at the forefront of that aid, providing a $250M package in 2010 and remains in a tight military compact with the island (although the only US forces in Palau are there to support civil projects such as school and road construction).

The reason why so few have heard about it is due to the location and a coastline of mangrove swamps that do not allow the country to compete with the beaches of Hawaii or Tahiti. The airlines don’t help either, our flight from Tokyo was one of the only directs and the return flight left the island at 4:20am (less than ideal). But a bucket list is a bucket list …. and so we went. Glad we did, it is a truly unique place.

When you get there, the island culture starts to seep into you. It is a beautiful island and despite a week of way too much rain, we had a few great adventures .. which will kick off a few posts.

All of that being said, the view from our hotel, the PPR, was fantastic.

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The problem with traveling to Asia in the summer? It is the wet season. It was very wet … all week unfortunately.

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View from the hilltop.

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Beautiful place. Maybe we need to sell everything in a decade and go live near a beach …. there are definitely worse things in life.

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