Once again an amazing weekend here in Palau (no where near as great as the rock islands trip, but still very eventful)
Friday night we were so full of our Taj Buffet we decided to stay in and play some cards and what not. We had to wake up at 6am the next day to go to the Palau Open water swim!
So we woke up at a lovely 6am to start walking over to the Palau Pacific Resort (PPR for short). On the way there we were able to get picked up by Mike and Liz (two Americans working here as lawyers and a professor in the community college). We got there to see that the waves on the beach were much rougher than usual..going to be a fun open swim. We each signed up for our event. Yixin, Mi, and Brandon decided to take it easy and do the 250m novice swim. Kate felt adventurous and did the 500m swim. For some reason I felt super adventurous (and motivated to get into better shape) so I signed up for the 1000m swim...gulp...They then marked our arms with our respective numbers...I was 8...
It started to beacon on me that Palau was very small because I realized that I recognized most of the people at the swim either through work or meeting them at the swim meet. A lot of Palauns came up to me and asked if I was the myspace Tom or said hello to me and asked how I was feeling after the swim meet. They are probably the friendliest people ever.
The view from the beach at PPR was breath taking even though it was quite a cloudy day. The organizer explained the course we needed to take and said if we ever needed to stop to go to the kayaks. I was so excited to do my first open water swim race. We stood on the beach on the edge of the Pacific Ocean waiting to start and then before I knew it I was surrounding by tons of people swimming in the ocean. I started with front crawl but the waves just got rougher and rougher. It got to the point were I just decided to save my energy and do breast stroke. I tried to take into account the beauty of the fish and corals beneath me, but I was just so focused on beating that damn 12 year old in front of me....she got away...at the 500m meter mark I was quiet tired so I did some back stroke to recover some energy to only find waves crashing on top of me left and right. I took a 5s break to see how I was doing. I saw about 5 people in front of me and 7 people behind me so I was doing alright. I saw the Kayaks waved to the people on board and then continued on the course. Finally at the 750m mark we were no longer swimming against the current and count ride the waves back to the shore. I looked up and saw I was heading straight to the rocks! I quickly turned and avoided that catastrophe. I was so tired, and ocean water was splashing in my mouth on every breath.. oy...Finally I was 10 ft from the shore and Kate was yelling at me to go the other way! haha. I got back on my course and saw that everyone was cheering when I got back and I ran through the finish line to find there were a bunch of young Palaun girls screaming "Congratulations" Whenever someone finished their race. It was very cute.
Finish Line on the Beach:
I then proceeded to drink lots and lots of water to get the salty taste out of my mouth. Nothing quite worked. After a delicious brunch of chicken nuggets, other races, and raffles (I never won...) It was time for the award ceremony. They first gave out ribbons for the swim meet on Thursday and Laura, Yixin and I got tons of ribbons for being the only competitors in our events. haha. Free souvenirs!!! yay! Then it was time for the results of the open swim. Kate kicked butt in the 500m and won 1st (beating the first place guy). Mi got 2nd in the 250m. Yixin sorta won the 250m but they forgot him...sadness. and Brandon then got 3rd. I somehow got 3rd place for the mens division in 1000m swim. Yay! We each got some sort of free thing at the PPR. Kate won free dinner buffet. I won free stay for the day to use their pool and beach. Mi won breakfast buffet. We will probably plan a fantastic day at PPR with our prizes.
Everyone then got towels (I was very excited more about these!) Another free souvenir!!!
We then hung out on the hammocks and hot tub until PPR kicked us out. It started to rain anyway.
On the way back we saw this awesome view of Koror (where I live):
I napped the rest of the day and then we went to Joe's later that night to watch ESPN and meet some Peace Corps people and other people we met at the open swim.
We then watched the strangest ESPN sports because thats all they get here in Palau. Woman's ping pong anyone?
After some drinks we decided to hit the hay.
Sunday was very lazy (due to the rain and thunder) and mostly did some grocery shopping and took care of the scuba diving certification.
We met the instructor who speaks SOME English but Mi can translate all of his Korean. haha but he is giving us an excellent deal for scuba diving certification. 250 dollars! (in the states its usually about 600 dollars!!!)
He gave us the DVDs and Books so we can study and then in two weekends we will have a diving filled trip where we learn all the skills needed. Huzzah!
That night we were invited to Joel's (Another young lawyer here in Palau) along with Christie and Rick (Peace Corps peps). We had pasta and Garlic bread...delicious! After tons of Catch Phrase with the white people clique here in Palau it was time for sleep.
I woke up this Monday to find it sunny and beautiful.. Thank you mother nature, just in time for the work week.
Tonight we are going to the local bootleg video shop! I'm so excited. I haven't seen a movie in a while.
Have a good week everyone!