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Republic of Palau: My Home Sweet Home

Updated on March 16, 2013

Republic of Palau: Diving "Mecca," Close to Paradise, and Home Sweet Home

I decided at the suggestion of a fellow Squidooer that I make a lens about the place where I have spent about half of my life. It's a wonderful group of islands in the Western part of the Pacific Ocean called The Republic of Palau (or Belau by those of us from there).

If you can't quite get your bearings as to where it's located, it's about 800 miles east of Mindanao in the Philippines and not too far north of the Equator.

It's composed of hundreds and hundreds of islands--beautiful green "mushroom-like" things in the midst of gorgeous blue and green ocean--the colors of which are really indescribable!

Palau is it's own country, has it's own President and legislature called the Olbiil ra Kelulau. I was there when they inaugurated their first president, when he was assasinated, and for several presidents after him. That was quite an exciting time in their history when they became their own sovereign nation once again after hundreds of years of foreign domination by Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United Nations (though the U.S. as a Trust Territory).

My Favorite Singer Ever!

My Brother, Sandy Simpson with "Home Is Where the Heart Is"

Home Is Where The ...

About Me

American on the Outside, Mostly Palauan on the Inside

I realize that the concept is a difficult one to grasp, unless you're a Third-Culture Kid like me. I am blond, with blue eyes, and grew up in a place where everyone had lovely long black hair and deep brown eyes and skin. Boy, did I ever ache to fit in! I speak the language fluently, so if a Palauan hears me without seeing me they think I'm Palauan. But once they see me, that just spoils everything!

I loved growing up in Palau, even though it was difficult to fit in sometimes (when push came to shove). We lived about 20 yards from the beach and a warm ocean surrounded by a reef. I swam almost daily. The surrounding jungles were fun and exciting places to explore. Especially if we would find WWII leftovers in bunkers.

We played simple but fun games, some of which were some of the early games American Colonial children played: stick and wheel, tops, marbles, carving boats, etc. There were also the Japanese games since they were the last occupier of the islands before the Americans liberated Palau during WWII. Some games like "chosarai" were played with homemade beanbags filled with sand. Other games like "hanahuda" were imports from Japan--a fun thick card slapping sort of game.

Two of the things I loved about Palau are still things that I love in life--singing and flowers. The plumerias (see photo), hibiscus, trumpet flowers, and others made for sweet-smelling leis and "marmars" (head garlands). The "irang" or ylangylang were also headily fragrant additions to any lei or marmar.

As for singing, the Palauans are musical and my family was and is musical, so that was awesome. I used to sing with friends in two, three, and four-part harmony either acappella or accompanied by guitars or ukeleles. The Palauan language is a naturally musical-sounding language, so it sounds very beautiful when put to music.

These and many more things are what make up part of who I am and what I love.

I Spent Every Spare Waking Hour in the Ocean--Warm and Inviting!

I Spent Every Spare Waking Hour in the Ocean--Warm and Inviting!
I Spent Every Spare Waking Hour in the Ocean--Warm and Inviting!

Google Maps of Palau

Have you always wondered where Palau is? Now you can check it out for yourself.

show route and directions
A markerThis is the Republic of Palau -
Koror, Palau
get directions

B markerThis is the northernmost island in the Palau chain -
Kayangel, Palau
get directions

Amazon Spotlight - Spotlight on Animals in Palau

There are some truly amazing birds and bats in Palau that have been completely exterminated (become extinct) elsewhere in Micronesia. It's definitely worth it to read this!

Thing #1 I want to do before I die

Visit Israel--The Holyland

I've always wanted to visit Israel, and almost did since we lived so close when in Turkey. I'm sorry now that we didn't go then. It is my lifelong dream to go there once before I die.

Me As a Kid Admiring the Lovely Palauan Lilies

Me As a Kid Admiring the Lovely Palauan Lilies
Me As a Kid Admiring the Lovely Palauan Lilies

Mengaibiblai (playing house) with Some of My Friends

Mengaibiblai (playing house) with Some of My Friends
Mengaibiblai (playing house) with Some of My Friends

Music and Palau Go Hand in Hand!

#2 Second Place I'd Love to Visit Before I Die

Scotland

I'd love to visit the home of my ancestors. I've never been there in spite of all the travels we've done throughout our lives. I want to see the area near Loch Ness where our clan used to live and hear bagpipes and see men wearing kilts (is that weird--I hope not) and just see what life is like there. I'd also like to look at church records and see if I can find any family members in them. Wow! How exciting that would be!

All Travel in Palau Used to Be by Boat--No Longer Today.

All Travel in Palau Used to Be by Boat--No Longer Today.
All Travel in Palau Used to Be by Boat--No Longer Today.

#3: The Third Place I'd Love to Visit Again Before I Die

The Republic of Palau

It has been 12 or 14 years now since I was last in Palau. I miss the people, the beauty, the Rock Islands, the beautiful white beaches, the FOOD!, the tropical weather, and all my childhood friends.

Palau has amazing features:

1. 600+ species of coral (the Great Barrier Reef has 60!)

2. Plentiful fish and turtles etc. which are carefully policed by the locals (which is why they're still there!)

3. Many, many varieties of delicious bananas from one about the length of my pinky finger to a foot-long green variety. So very good!

4. Super friendly people who are hospitable by nature and by culture, and who are laid back and really spend quality time with you.

5. Modern resorts with all the amenities

6. Very awesome dolphin and porpoise area where you can hug them and pet them!

7. Hundreds of islands that are completely deserted so you can rent them for a day or a week or a month (depending on how much money you have) and stay there like Robinson Crusoe. My favorite thing!

8. Some of the most beautiful flowers west of Hawaii.

9. Lovely-smelling leis, handcrafts, and wooden storyboards that tell the legends of Palau.

10. It is serviced in style by Continental Micronesia (they do have a monopoly, however), but it sure beats traveling for weeks on an old top-heavy ship (that's how we got there when I was 7 years old--and during a typhoon, to boot).

Me and my wild dog, Junior, when I was a teenager.

This Is the Way to Relax and Have Fun

This Is the Way to Relax and Have Fun
This Is the Way to Relax and Have Fun

#4: The Fourth Thing I'd Like to Do Before I Die

Visit the Pyramids of Egypt

I've always wanted to do this. They fascinate me, and I think they are one of the wonders of this world. There's a lot of biblical history down there, too. That interests me very much.

This is How Old I Was When We Left for Palau the First Time

This is How Old I Was When We Left for Palau the First Time
This is How Old I Was When We Left for Palau the First Time

#5: The Fifth and Last Thing I'd Like to Do Before I Die

Work on a Dig

I would take pretty much anywhere, but I'd really like to work on a dig in Turkey or in Israel. I just heard recently that in Israel a half shekel coin was found near the Temple Mount that was used for the Temple taxes during the time right before Antiochus Epiphanies destroyed the second temple. That's a very significant find! I would love to just find something like that--a coin or a small shard of pottery with some writing on it that linked it to the Bible. That happens all the time, but I've never been able to do that personally.

Great Stuff on Amazon about Archeological Digs

I have always wanted to be an archeologist. Maybe it will be something I can do when I retire? I don't know. Anyway, there are some great books and DVD's on this subject at Amazon.

Typoons Are an Occasional Bother. Thankfully They Changed Oceans Recently!

Typoons Are an Occasional Bother. Thankfully They Changed Oceans Recently!
Typoons Are an Occasional Bother. Thankfully They Changed Oceans Recently!

I Loved Finding Big and Little Glass Balls that Floated Ashore from Fishing Boats

I Loved Finding Big and Little Glass Balls that Floated Ashore from Fishing Boats
I Loved Finding Big and Little Glass Balls that Floated Ashore from Fishing Boats

One of the Sweetest and Most Charming Customs in Palau--Leis for Every Occasion!

One of the Sweetest and Most Charming Customs in Palau--Leis for Every Occasion!
One of the Sweetest and Most Charming Customs in Palau--Leis for Every Occasion!

Great PALAU Stuff at Amazon.com

The best thing about Amazon.com is they have used books for a fraction of the cost of new ones, and they're usually in great shape! I order books from them all the time. Check them out!

The Good News

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    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 2 years ago from USA

      Palau sounds like a tropical paradise to me, since I grew up in the Midwest USA. I saw or looked up Palau on your map and it seems amazingly remote. It must have been a wonderful experience growing up there and I am so envious.

    • profile image

      MorningShine 5 years ago

      A beautiful place; no wonder you loved it so. Thank you for a "trip" to Palau. Great lens!

    • Chelilai profile image
      Author

      Chelilai 6 years ago

      @ArtByLinda: Thanks, Linda! :)

    • profile image

      ivanpabz 6 years ago

      this is great

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 6 years ago from Idaho

      This is an absolute gem of a lens, very nicely done. It just gave me a good feeling reading it and looking at the photos, well done. April Fools days Blessing to you!

    • Chelilai profile image
      Author

      Chelilai 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Alii, e kei! Aki mlora Belau ra 1962 e kiliei er sei el mora 1988. Sera kekerel ngalek e ak kiliei ra Ngesang, Ngaraard (until I was 19). A 1980 el mora 1988 a ki mlara Oreor. A ki mlo kiei ra Guam ra '88 el mora '98. Ngdimlak student ra UOG, ngdi a ki kiliei ra Mangilao el kmeed ra UOG. The rua techa relatives er kau?

      Ke kmal mesaul ra comments er kau!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Chelilai: thank you for the beautiful things you say of Palau, kmal ungil era siasing!! what years were you in Palau, where did you stay? maybe you knew any of my relatives.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @SciTechEditorDave: when did you attend UOG? my parents were at UOG back in the days, wondering if maybe you knew them? (they're Palauan, this is why i ask)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Alii! Kmal ungil tial lens er kauâº...ng kmal meketeketang el taem already engdi soak el nguu tial techall e merreng a sulem e Miss Angela ra nglunguchem kau ma telungalk er kau ra taem el rechad ra blik a mle chemau a chelebuul....my sister Ruby Eberdong, s mlo smecher er sera 1995 ra Guam e kau ma rengelkem ma bechim a mle mengelim er kemam ra kemeldiil. A chelitakl el mulngitakl a kmal mle ngosukak el mlo chelelakl a renguk er sell sils ra kemeldiil...ke kmal mesulang (THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART TO YOU AND YOUR LOVING FAMILY).

      A Rubak lobengeked el di blechoel. Take care.

      Thankful,

      Pauline Eberdong Ziegler (granddaughter ra diakon Eberdong)

    • Chelilai profile image
      Author

      Chelilai 7 years ago

      @LaraineRoses: Thank you, LaraineRose! I've never received a number one for any of my lenses, but that doesn't matter so much. I enjoy getting feedback from people like you who have enjoyed the content. I do appreciate it very much!

      Kindly,

      Angela

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      This is a beautiful lens. I'm surprised that it is not #1 in travel. If it were up to me it would be there. 5*s for sure and fav.

    • Chelilai profile image
      Author

      Chelilai 7 years ago

      @tuzy37: Ke kmal mesaul e Giovanna el me oldingel er tial lens er ngak. :) Ak umdasu el kmo, nglocha diak el betok ar chad ra Merikel el melekoi a tekoi ra Belau. A Rubak el Dios a kmal ulemekngeltengat er ngak meng mle sebechek el mukeroul ra Ngesang e mesuub a tekoi ra Belau ra kdirke kekerel ngalek. Sulang ra ungil feedback er kau! Mechikang kung!

      Ngak el Ang

    • profile image

      tuzy37 7 years ago

      Alii...My name is Giovanna and i just happened to find your page. Oh and i'm from palau. i was just admiring all the things you said about palau.so i just wanted to stop by and say hi... and so i would really want to meet you cause i haven't heard an american speak in palauan. so yeah. Anyway God bless and Mechikung

    • profile image

      tuzy37 7 years ago

      Alii...My name is Giovanna and i just happened to find your page. Oh and i'm from palau. i was just admiring all the things you said about palau.so i just wanted to stop by and say hi... and so i would really want to meet you cause i haven't heard an american speak in palauan. so yeah. Anyway God bless and Mechikung

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Kawangerang! I visited Palau (aka Belau) while I was living on Guam. I have a background very much like yours--except I lived on Guam for 12 years --and was one of the only blond kids in one of Guam's more remote villages--learned Chamoru, the language of the Marianas. When I got out of public school on Guam and started at the University of Guam, I had dormitory roommates from Belau. They helped me to learn a few Belauan phrases. I'll be linking to your site from my lens on Belau... and from my lens on Guam. You definitely have a 5* lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Alii!! Wow! Did you really grew up in palau? It's beautiful! Im half hawaiian palauan and i have never been to palau! It looks nice! Sulang!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      who are you?

    • Chelilai profile image
      Author

      Chelilai 8 years ago

      You're welcome. Happy to do it! :) [in reply to norbridgeantiques]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thank you for this lens. 5*

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. I am glad you took the challenge to do a lens on Palau.

    • profile image

      clafun08 8 years ago

      It's the first time that I have learnt the country --- Palau. It looks like a beautiful and interesting place to visit. Thanks for the great lens!

      If you have a plan to visit China someday, please stop by my lenses on traveling in China!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful place with All Things Travel.