PHOTO GALLERY 2
A few hours worth of tinkering, and I think I may have been able to get the photos a little bigger. I can't do much about the clarity, but maybe the increased size will help.
Here are a couple of shots of the remains of the K-B Bridge. The left-side photo is the southern (Koror) end of the span and the right-side photo is the north (Babeldoab) end. As you can see, both sides of the cantilevered brdige dropped just beyond their outermost supports. If you look closely (although it may be hard to make out), just at the bottom of the northern span, almost in the water, is a wrecked car. A few minutes after the collapse, a Philipino laborer driving by thought that the people who were frantically waving their arms at him were out to get him, so he sped up to get away. The wreckage of the car suggests that it rolled over at least once on its way down, but it stopped before it hit the water, and the Philippino allegedly escaped. Two people did die in the collapse-- one, a Palauan, whose family allegedly gets about $300,000 from the settlement. The other, a Philippino, gets about $60,000. (Philippinos are allowed into the country to work as laborers and domestic helpers, but are almost viewed as second-class citizens. For example, a minimum wage law covers Palauans, but not Philippino workers.)
The left-hand photo is a view from the top of the southern span, looking down the deck into the water. You can see the streetlight still attached to the bridge in this shot and the shot above it. The ends of the bridge rest on the walls of the K-B Channel, and right where the deck disappears into the water is where the channel drops off. Apparently, the channel is pretty deep, as there is no indication of any kind that tons of concrete and asphalt lie on the bottom. The other picture shows the temporary bridge that was donated and assembled by the Japanese to replace the K-B Bridge. Now that the lawsuit brought by Palau against the people involved with the bridge has been settled for $17 million, the government plans to take down the remains and put up a new bridge. Hopefully, that one will last more than 18 years.
Here they are, the twin monoliths of Palau retail. The building on the left is Surangel's, and the building on the right is the WCTC ("Western Caroline [Islands] Trading Company"). They are literally across the street from each other on the edge of downtown Koror. Surangel's is a lot seedier-looking, both inside and out, but the grocery store part of it is much more Americanized than the WCTC's grocery store, which has shelves full of products in bags with Japanese labels and no translations. The second floor of the WCTC building is given over completely to the Ben Franklin Department Store, the Wal-Mart of Palau. The same day I took these pictures, I bought some socks there.
The font of all justice meted out in Palau. This is the front of the Palau Supreme Court building, where I work. My office is located in the law library, which would be just out of frame on the right-hand side of this picture. This is one of a handful of Japanese-built structures from before the war that survive today. The building istelf is surprisingly small-- viewed from above, it's just a right angle, and the two arms are only about one office wide. An annex building in the back starts at the left corner of this picture and runs paralell with the right-hand arm, creating a U-shape with a courtyard in the back. The first floor of the building houses the judge's chambers and three small courtrooms, the law library, and budget/administrative offices. The second floor houses the Attorney General's offices, the probation department, and the immigration office. The Clerk of the Court's office is in the annex. There are no rooms set aside for jury deliberations or anything because there is no such thing as a jury trial here. Judges preside over all cases, but in murder cases, a special rule requires the court to appoint two "citizen judges"-- ordinary people who sit on the bench along with the regular judge to help decide the case.
If you're an American lawyer, this is probably your second home. The Rock Island Cafe is located next door to the courthouse. As a result, it's constantly full of court staff, judges, and other American lawyers working for the other branches of government. It's widely regarded as the official American "expats" (expatriates) hangout. Their pizza is excellent, even by American standards, but there's another pizza place that's just starting up, and that one delivers. All the wait staff here knows all of the court staff, including me, by name. (I don't know theirs, but I smile and pretend.) On Mondays at lunchtime, the t.v.'s are showing ESPN's Sunday Night Football live from America, and on Tuesdays at lunch, we get Monday Night Football, which is also live. The rest of the time, it's week-old network programming from San Francisco.
These bastards know where my clothes are, and they're not telling me. This is the Post Office in Koror. I don't know why it's painted bright orange, nor why it's only open until 4:00 p.m. every day, but it is. There is no such thing as home mail delivery in Palau, so everyone has just a post office box, and they have to come here to pick up their mail. An interesting story: a local dive shop owner had a hard time getting businesses in the states to accept his post office box as a destination for merchandise shipments. So, instead of using "Box 9999," he had the shipments sent to "9999 Main Street." Since there is no Main Street (or any other street with a name) in Palau, the post office just figures it's destined for box 9999 anyway. People handle Federal Express shipments the same way.
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