PHOTO GALLERY 3
Special Holiday Edition
It's the holiday season in Palau, and while it sure as shootin' ain't gonna be a white Christmas, that doesn't mean these plucky folks can't trip the light fantastic with the best of America's bulb-stringers. So throw away those down jackets and grab your sandals for a tour of how Palau celebrates the birth of Jesus. It's a light show that would make Pink Floyd blush.
(As usual, the image quality's a little low, partly because it's dark
outside, and partly because I'm not using the ideal
equipment for imaging. Now if Santa's got a scanner in his bag, Brian's been an awfully good boy. . .)
|This is KR Hardware in downtown Koror. They were the first ones up with lights, flipping the switch at around 6:00 pm Thanksgiving Day. A pretty basic entry, augmented by the giant illuminated shotgun-sight on the roof, and the quaint claw hammer and rip saw set off in lights on the marquee. After all, wasn't Jesus the son of a carpenter?||This sad image cannot begin to do justice to the electrical monstrosity that occupies the "Olympic Village" outside the legislature in the heart of downtown. The "official government" entry in the gaudy illumination contest adopts the now standard "fake tree" concept, draping strands of light straight down from a pole to create a conical faux-tree, and also adorns some smaller palms with lights around the trunks.|
Ah yes, how could we forget the Outrigger Palasia Hotel, Palau's newest concrete boondoggle? Finished up last summer, the Outrigger, a luxury hotel on a tropical island that yet somehow manages to have absolutely no water access, has gone largely unfilled for the past six months. See all the rooms in the photo above? Only one has any lights on. (Second row up from the bottom, second room in from the left.) Not to be deterred, investors are busy building two more major hotels here. What planning. As for Christmas decorations, I'll give the Outrigger a chance. The palms out front are all wrapped in white lights, which is festive without being totally obnoxious. On the other hand, that white glowing blob on the left is a illuminated plastic Frosty the Snowman. The plastic illuminated Santa is on the driveway on the far right, out of frame. When they take those two in after the holidays, it'll double the occupancy rate of the hotel.
Not that I've got anything against illuminated plastic Santas. In fact, here you see a couple of them standing as silent but vigilant guardians over the corners of the Rock Island Cafe, making sure that only good little girls and boys can come in and get their hands on Palau's greasiest fish sandwich. They were closed when I took this shot, so although you get to see some of the lights that adorn the joint, you miss out on the best part-- the palm trees that practically drip with colored bulbs.
Hey kids, it's our old pals Surangel's (left) and WCTC (right) again, this time slugging it out for the title of "biggest squanderer of electricity." While Surangel's makes a go at it with their recurring snowman motif above the door, the columns of red and green lights, and the understated but sincere legend "Happy Holidays," it's WCTC who takes the cake. Giving Vegas a run for it's money, WCTC's decked itself out in all the finery Thomas Edison has to offer. The giant swooping star on the top is the most notable, but I'm partial to the abundant wrapping of trees and bushes in the parking lot with lights, and the profusion of illumination that's been strung between the first and second floors, giving the whole building a "U.F.O.coming in for a landing" sort of motif. Very Christmasy.
This requires very little comment. A photo processing place downtown that, for some reason, also sells used trucks, reminds us that Christmas is about more than just who has the brightest, most colorful, flashiest lights. The sign says it all as far as I'm concerned, and I join them in wishing the whole world an abundance of "Jo."
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