14 January 2019

Palau kayak tour

Very American breakfast with lots of fruit juices though they are mostly from concentrate. Disappointing in a tropical island. Lots of processed foods actually, mostly imported from the US and Taiwan, even eggs! 

Weird...In Palau, cars drive on the right-hand side of the road, like in Europe but they all have their wheel on the right-hand side of the vehicle, like in the UK. Very strange. Maybe it's because here cars come mostly from Japan where they drive on the left-hand side of the road so it makes sense to have the wheel on the right-hand side here it's just strange.

We are picked up at our hotel by Marete, a stereotypical tall, blond, blue-eyed Danish lady who is spending a gap year traveling and working around the world with her boyfriend before going back to Denmark and continue her studies. Great idea. Not many Italians do this, even fewer Chinese I think. Too many Italians stay home with mamma until they move in with their wives. Anything to avoid cooking or having to manage a household.

Chinese are just beginning to understand the concept of a gap year. Until now they have to work as soon as possible to support the family. But the rising middle class now knows that is an option and can afford it, we'll see. 

Amazing canoe tour at Risong. A small group of us with a guide who comes from Tinian but has worked here for 12 years: meny more tourists, more money to be made. He takes us through the unmistakable Palauan volcanic formations carpeted with luscious green bushes whose branches overloaded with deep dark leaves reach all the way to the waterline.

An American pilot is with us with his Japanese girlfriends (panta rei, a few decades ago she would have rather died than be anywhere near him). he works for United Airlines is enjoying a day off before returning to Guam, US aviation and military hub in the region. We join a group of 4 elderly and very energetic American ladies. one asks where we live, and when I say London but not sure after Brexit she invites me to move to her native New York city.  


We can see small fish of all shapes and colors, a few baby reef sharks and lots of totally innocuous jelly fish, which do not sting as they have no predators in these protected waters. 

Dinner at the Yue Hai restaurant, owned by Cantonese family who moved here some two decades ago also run the hotel's jewelry shop all in the family, including some cousins who have come here for a few years to help and make some dollars. The restaurant is far more appealing and much better value than the jewellery store.

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