Life

In God’s Aquarium, the kids call the shots

  Have you thought about it? Going to a small island for vacation, when entering the country, tourists need to sign a letter of commitment to the local children, swearing to travel on the island in an ecologically and culturally responsible way for the future of the children.
  This is the first lesson that Palau, a small island country with a population of just over 20,000, taught us—our actions not only affect the present, but also affect the future of future generations.
Say ‘no’ to tourists who destroy the environment

  Palau is an island country in the western Pacific Ocean, surrounded by vast seas and sapphire blue lagoons, as well as hundreds of volcanic and coral islands. The vegetation on the island is rich and lush. Looking down from the plane, the dotted island is as beautiful as heaven.
  Located in the tropics, Palau is rich in underwater biological resources, warm and humid all year round, and the water temperature is pleasant. It is a world-renowned diving resort. Before the epidemic, more than 100,000 tourists came here every year, which is undoubtedly a huge challenge for a small island with a population of only 20,000. The locals are originally enthusiastic and welcome tourists, but in just a decade or so, they have developed a resistance to too many tourists.
  In order to avoid the damage of tourism to the fragile ecology, the “Palau Oath” came into being. Children from all over Palau participated in the drafting of the pledge, calling on tourists to visit their homes in a more environmentally friendly and responsible manner from their perspective. To this end, Palau even became the first country to amend its immigration laws for the sake of environmental protection—from the end of 2017, it only issued visas to tourists who signed the ecological pledge.
  It is the only country on earth that clearly says “no” to tourists who destroy the environment. Although the stance of environmental protection is firm, the people of Palau are full of goodwill understanding of tourists from afar. They believe: the destruction of tourists It was not intentional, but because of “not enough understanding of the fragility of the ecology”. So they created a heartwarming animation to explain to tourists the necessity of taking the oath.
  The story tells that a powerful giant came to the beautiful island of Palau. It excitedly trampled on corals and devoured precious animals and plants… When it wanted to play with local children, everyone rejected it and told the giant that the island People who destroy their homes are not welcome. The lost giant finally realized that his reckless behavior had brought trouble to the island, so it sincerely apologized to the children and promised to learn to be kind to the island. Finally, the children also opened their arms and accepted the giant.
  This is how the lovely people of Palau solve problems: principled and empathetic.

  In order to avoid the damage of tourism to the fragile ecology, the “Palau Oath” came into being.
Dream Jellyfish Lake

  Although most tourists go for deep diving, I am fascinated by Palau because of the unique dreamy jellyfish lake in the world. Jellyfish Lake is part of the Southern Lagoon of Rock Island in Koror State and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  The guide told us that Jellyfish Lake was formed 12,000 years ago. Due to crustal movement, it was gradually isolated from the open sea and became a saltwater lake. It is divided into two layers, the upper oxygen-containing layer and the lower anoxic layer, and it does not change with the seasons. , such permanently stratified marine lakes are rare.
  But such an environment is not friendly to most marine life in the lake. With the depletion of nutrients, only jellyfish, which rely on a small number of microorganisms to survive, survived. Due to the disappearance of natural enemies, the jellyfish in the lake have lost their unique defensive toxins during tens of thousands of years of evolution, and have become non-toxic jellyfish that humans can come into close contact with.
  In order to protect the beautiful and fragile jellyfish, the local government prohibits tourists from diving with fins, and even sunscreen. The guide told us that the jellyfish’s body is as soft as jelly, and dozens of jellyfish may be injured with a stroke of their flippers.
  In 2016, due to climate change and the impact of tourists, the number of jellyfish in the lake dropped from millions to hundreds of thousands. At the worst time, almost no adult jellyfish were seen in the lake. The locals were very sad, thinking that these cute elves would no longer exist. Fortunately, after nearly two years of closure and conservation of scenic spots, the number of jellyfish has risen steadily and recovered to more than one million, allowing the jellyfish lake, which countless tourists linger on, to open again.
  We dived into the lake in the afternoon sun. There are thousands of crystal clear golden jellyfish floating in the clear blue lake water. elf. The lake is quiet and far away from the hustle and bustle. I sneaked slowly with the jellyfish swarm, like a dream, like entering a mysterious and beautiful new world.
  In addition to the jellyfish lake, the milk lake not far away is also one of the girls’ favorite check-in spots. Who would refuse to have a pure natural SPA on this paradise island? Milk Lake was formed by volcanic eruptions, and a thick layer of white volcanic mud was deposited on the bottom of the lake. In the sun, the lake will show an elegant color like Tiffany blue.
  The lively girls were wearing bikinis and playing with smearing off-white volcanic mud on their companions. When you smell it carefully, there is still a faint smell, but according to the guide, it has an excellent cosmetic effect.

Jellyfish and schools of fish in Palau
Diving first experience

  The scenery on land in Palau is not outstanding, just like the introduction of the owner of the hotel – “90% of the scenery is underwater.”
  Hesitating again and again, my companions and I signed up for a two-day snorkeling group, unexpectedly My companion got very seasick when we went out to sea. When we arrived at the dive site, we looked at the bottomless sea and wanted to give up. The coach coaxed and lied, and helped us review the common sense of snorkeling, and finally threw us into the sea. Fortunately, shortly after we got into the water, we saw small schools of sharks passing by.

  In most waters, you need to dive deep to have a chance to encounter sharks, but in Palau, snorkeling can clearly see groups of sharks swimming beneath you. Of course, there are many kinds of sharks. We met the blacktip reef shark, which is a small shark with a length of about 1 meter. It is round, very cute, and not scary at all. The coach said that this kind of sharks rarely attack humans actively. If you are brave enough, you can swim into the sharks. The photo will be very beautiful. Bathing with sharks is a cool Moments material!
  But the bigger surprise is that we saw “Nemo”! Although I have seen it many times in animations and pictures, I still feel my heart melt when I see the clownfish swimming happily in the sea. In addition to sharks and clown fish, when diving in Palau, you can also see thousands of marine life such as sea turtles, dolphins, large wrasses, groupers, and various colorful corals. No wonder there is a “God’s Aquarium” “The name.
  If you are a deep diving enthusiast, Palau has more exciting dive sites to explore. In the 1940s, Palau was one of the main battlefields where the U.S. military and the Japanese fought fiercely. The downed warships and planes sank to the bottom of the sea and became habitats for fish and coral. These war sites are also many diving hobbies. One of the attractions that visitors like to check in.

Palau officials made a promotional video to explain the necessity of environmental protection to tourists
Coconut Crab and Bat Soup

  The owner of the homestay told us that the fish market in Palau is very worth visiting. Many high-end domestic fish catches are very affordable here. He said that when Palauans go fishing, it’s like having a party on a boat, singing songs and drinking wine, and casting a net at will, which is full of harvest. But as the number of Chinese tourists has grown, the prices of some Chinese favorite fish, such as grouper, have also started to rise.
  The fish market near the homestay is not big. We walked around for a while, and it was an eye-opener. It was full of unfamiliar fish, which were alive and fresh. We bought some, and when we got back to the homestay, the boss said mysteriously: “Today, you have a lucky meal, and a friend brought delicious food!” When I saw it,
  there was a huge coconut crab lying on the kitchen counter! It weighs seven or eight catties. Coconut crab is a kind of hermit crab. It is the largest terrestrial arthropod. It can grow to a weight of more than ten kilograms, and its body can stretch about 1 meter. It is good at climbing trees. Hence the name. Its meat quality is a bit like that of lobster, and it eats coconut meat all year round. Coconut crab also has a faint coconut fragrance, which is one of the most famous delicacies in Palau. In addition to eating crab meat, the boss also made us his famous fried rice with crab meat and crab meat. Suddenly, the whole kitchen was filled with the aroma of crab oil and coconut, which made people salivate.

  Palau’s famous state banquet dish, bat soup, still daunts us.

  Another Palauan specialty food recommended by the boss is a somewhat dark dish. It is said that Cantonese people dare to eat anything, but Palau’s famous state banquet dish, bat soup, still daunts us. We all know that bats often carry many viruses, but this kind of bat in Palau lives by eating fruits, which are said to be relatively safe and can be eaten with confidence.
  As for the taste, according to the boss, after stewing with various spices, it is a bit like beef soup, but if it is not handled properly, it will still have a strange fishy smell. In order to reduce the visual impact, most restaurants will separate the soup and meat dregs for tourists to taste. As for why the Palauans developed this dish, it is because there are not many edible animals on land in Palau except seafood. In order to supplement meat, they have a tradition of eating bats since ancient times.
  Today, bat soup has evolved into a special delicacy for entertaining foreign guests and tourists. It is said that many celebrities and dignitaries who have visited Palau have tasted this unique Palau bat soup.

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