Lori in front of a reproduction of a bai, or meeting house

Preamble, Palau—February, 2012


This page covers the trip to Palau as well as our acclimatization to the climate and the locale for two days until we embarked on the Aggressor II.

After enjoying the captions below, you can view larger versions of the photos by clicking on them. You can see even larger versions of the photos by viewing the slideshow in full screen (F11). You can also view the photos on a map.


Getting There (Thursday, 2012-02-02 through Friday, 2012-02-03)

We flew from San Francisco to Honolulu (five hours) and had a three-hour layover in Honolulu. We then flew on to Guam (seven hours), and finally to Koror, Palau (two hours). Thanks to the International Date Line, we had taken off on Thursday morning and landed on Friday evening.


Acclimatizing (Saturday, 2012-02-04)

Our room in the Penthouse, long and narrow

Our room in the Penthouse, long and narrow

The rooms at the Penthouse are modestly furnished, but they are clean and comfortable. A good value. The hotel is located downtown, which is convenient to many of the restaurants mentioned in the references. The super quiet LG air conditioner made the room a welcome respite from the tropical air.

The Penthouse bathroom

The Penthouse bathroom

Had the Palauan breakfast or beldakl at the Penthouse, a fish broth containing wahoo, green onions, and pinnata or arma leaves which tasted like lemon. Yum.

We then walked to the end of town and beyond and wound up at the park after the bridge to Malakal Island. There, I saw the "rock islands" close up. The sheer limestone cliffs were reminiscent of an ancient reef, which was undercut long ago before the sea level dropped, cutting out the old reef yet again. A thicket of trees and vines tenuously clung to the cliffs. Continuing on to Malakal Island, we saw familiar names such as the Sea Passion Hotel, Neco Marine (where the Aggressor is based), Drop Off Bar & Grill, and a sign to Sam's. We were now hot and tired so we returned to the air conditioning, picking up water and coconut water, which works nicely as rehydration salts, from the Payless Market on the way back.

Lori in front of a reproduction of a bai, or meeting house

Lori in front of a reproduction of a bai, or meeting house

At lunchtime, we walked to the Fresh Noodle restaurant across the street from the Koror Elementary School on the way to the Belau National Museum. I wished we had known that the dishes are designed to feed two (or more!) people. We should have only ordered one dish, not two. But then I probably wouldn't have been able to get the spicy noodle soup :-). The chef makes the noodles fresh in the kitchen behind a glass wall. Met a couple of United Airlines employees, who were using their three days off between flights to visit Palau, and chatted about the recent Continental merger.

We continued on to the Belau National Museum and learned about the history of Palau and saw many artifacts. It's remarkable how many different nations, with their different cultures and languages, have shaped this island nation, independent since 1994.

We had a yummy dinner at the Penthouse. Lori talked me out of the fruit bat, so I had the spicy wahoo fillet instead. We also tried local dishes such as the demok (taro leaf) soup and the kangkum (local spinach). Delicious!


Acclimatizing (Sunday, 2012-02-05)

Lori and the Etpison Museum downtown

Lori and the Etpison Museum downtown

After a relaxing breakfast in the Penthouse Cafe, I caught up on languishing tasks on the laptop while Lori read. After lunch, also at the Cafe, we took a short walk up the road to see the other half of town. Hot, we retired to the Cafe until the Aggressor bus with Nick and Kris arrived.


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