Because you’re not supposed to dive the day before you fly, and we’re flying to Yap late tonight, we thought we would keep our feet dry today and booked a guided ‘land tour’ of Palau, even though it seemed very expensive. What parts we had seen from the island were so beautiful that we figured it would be a shame if we did not see more of it. See if you can spot the number of thinking errors in the above two sentences!
The largest island of Palau, Babeldaob, has a circle road of about 50 miles long, and that’s what we took. On our way, we stopped to see no less than three major sights. The first one was a waterfall that required a bit of a climb through a nice, though very muddy, forest to get to. And, what our guides had conveniently neglected to tell us, a wade through knee-high water. Because we were wearing our hiking shoes and did not have any change of clothes, we could not make the crossing… We decided to go back without seeing the waterfall, and eat our lunches on the way back. Nice idea… until it started to rain cats and dogs, your typical tropical rain storm, and we were soaked through in seconds. After which we still had to climb back.
The second sight was an archeological highlight, a site with large stones (monoliths), apparently dating back to AD 161. Well… let’s just say that the word monolith sounds far more interesting than ‘large black rock’ which is what they are. We counted around 20 of them, in an area that admittedly had a very lovely view of the ocean. Too bad it was still covered in dark clouds.
The final stop was at Palau’s State Capitol. Pretty much the ugliest building we’ve ever seen – truly awful! Like an American State Capitol with even more kitsch. Made all the funnier by the fact that they had country & western music blaring all over the parking lot, as some kind of service to the public? Anyway, we took some pictures but not too many because it started to rain again.
Our mother & daugther guide team dropped us off at the Carolines after that, not before sharing their view about the many Philippino immigrants in Palau. The exec summary of all of this is: if you go to Palau, have fun diving, maybe do some kayaking, but don’t go for the land tours!