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Published: June 25th 2018
RED CARPET ANEMONE
With blonde anemone fish. The anemones make such interesting photos as they curl and wave in the currents.
PALAU WITHOUT FINS
Diving and More
Today is my down day; I slept in, then called some family members. I meandered up to the café for the breakfast special. The coleslaw was especially tasty.
A pleasant faced man, Senator Reclai, chatted with me until his business associates joined him. He told me there was a library at the college right across the street. My room was dimly lit as was the motel common room and due to the heat and insects I opted for the library. I was able to type in a bright, clean college atmosphere. The librarians were very nice and helpful, but I still never got an internet connection. It has been so frustrating.
On my way back to my motel I decided to get a massage. I stopped at the Anthias Café and got an appointment. Just as I was going to sit down to wait for my ride I realized I had left my glasses in the library so I raced back to the campus. Sure enough, my glasses were right where I had left them. It was rush hour traffic but I hurtled down the street back to the café where
Mantas are curious and don't seem to mind divers. Individuals can be identified by the markings on their underside.
the driver waited to take me to the massage studio. I enjoyed the massage and afterward chatted with my masseuse who was from Nepal. The driver took me back to the café and I had a small pizza for dinner.
The next day I was assigned a new divemaster since Flynn was driving the dive boat. She was very young, and perhaps inexperienced, because she just hovered over me. It was very frustrating. I kept turning right into her underwater. My ears were even worse than before but I managed dive one. Barely. On the second dive I knew it was useless and we just went back to the boat. Lunch was as delicious as ever but I was out of sorts, especially since I would miss the third dive that was through caverns and included Mandarin fish.
I asked the dive store about a doctor and was given directions to the walk-in clinic. There were evening hours so the driver dropped me off at the office instead of taking me back to the hotel. A Japanese diver asked me to have dinner with him before he got out of the van and we agreed to meet at
Two mantas in sync.
the Anthias café.
The doctor was from the Philippines and spoke excellent English. She checked my ears and said it wasn’t wax, as I suspected, but a “raging” ear infection – in both ears. She gave me some medication and told me no more diving for a week. I had seen my last dive in Palau. I was sad but I did have photos and memories.
Mitsuri and I decided to go to an Indian restaurant he had heard about, the Taj. It was a beautiful place and we agreed to go Dutch. We each got a curry, and shared it. I ordered a lasse. We had an interesting conversation about Tokyo, which I will visit someday. Then he gave me a ride back to my hotel.
The next morning I decided to walk to the Rock Island Café. On the way a Japanese gentleman slowed his car and after explaining that he also had a room at the motel, he asked if he could give me a lift. It was very hot and I thought, “Why not?” When we arrived at the restaurant he asked if he could join me. He ordered pizza, then gave me
Mantas swimming in groups. Filter feeders, they swim through large schools of fish (in upper left corner) also feeding on plankton and smaller fish.
half. I had ordered a big American breakfast but managed to eat one piece of pizza so as not to be rude. He is living in Koror. He is in the Japanese Peace Corps and is a table tennis teacher and coach. After breakfast we crossed the street to see the Palau Cultural Center. It is a spacious modern building, locked up and empty except for national events. It is sad that the space isn’t utilized more. Then we went to the museum. Mitsuri studied his Chinese while I toured the museum. The museum closed at five and Mitsuri had to go to work. I decided to eat at the Taj again. I thought it would be cheaper than the day before because I was alone. Wrong. It was just as expensive as the day before.
Friday morning I ate again at the Rock Island Café. A gentleman beside me, a long-time resident of Koror, started talking to me and when I mentioned the Taj, he said on payday Fridays there was a night market up the street and the Taj offered a big take-away meal for $8. I thanked him for the information, and that is how I
Calmly enduring curious photo hungry divers.
ate Taj food three evenings in a row. It was payday Friday. The take-away included three types of curry, rice, vegetables and nan; a real bargain. I bought two t-shirts and walked back to my hotel…away from the busy market and live music??? What was I thinking?
After breakfast the next day I walked to the Palau aquarium. Set in the wall were numerous small aquariums like tiny movie sets highlighting the underwater diversity. Included is a good history of Palau and artifacts of the indigenous tribes as well as beautifully landscaped grounds with a view of the harbor. And I got a photo of a Mandarin fish - in an aquarium! On the wall was a photo of the popcorn shrimp, just like the one I got in Indonesia last year. Under the photo was the information that it was first discovered in Koror, hence its name: Periclimenes Kororensis.
My final day in Palau I went back to the doctor to see if my ears were healing. She said no, and told me to see an ear, nose, throat specialist in Manila. Then she said, “… after all I am an OB-GYN.” Really funny, at the time.
.hese were little guys three to four feet long
I had a one day lay-over in Manila on my way to Papua so I managed to go to the medical center in Macate. The specialist said it was wax, washed out my ears and gave me some drops to prevent infection and further wax buildup. At least I could dive in Papua.
I highly recommend Palau for its spectacular diving, but also because the local people are kind and helpful and interested in tourists. Many Palauans have relatives in the US. People struck up conversations with me everywhere I went. And it is possible to get around Koror without a car.
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