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Introducing Babeldaob

Babeldaob (or Babelthaup) is Micronesia's second-largest island, weighing in at three-quarters the size of Guam. It's a mysterious place, physically impenetrable for the most part and shielding enigmatic monoliths whose origin and purpose is unknown (save for various theories about God). The east coast has beautiful stretches of sandy beach, particularly north from Ngiwal to Ngaraard, while the west coast has a largely mangrove-studded shoreline. Ancient stone footpaths connect many villages, the roads are dirt, there are no traffic lights, and resort hotels, for the moment, are a world away. You can imagine this is how all of Palau was in the old days. Babeldaob is sparsely populated, too; younger people traditionally make an annual exodus to Koror in search of jobs.

But none of this is going to last. In fact, it's all about to change in the most dramatic fashion.