The Republic of Palau celebrates its Independence Day on October 1. It became a free country on this day in 1994, after being a United Nations Trust Territory under U.S. administration for 47 years.

Apparently they learned well from America, because this year they decided to put on a fireworks display! (I say this year because I have no idea whether or not they do this every year). We were very happy to hear this because when you are an American living abroad, the number one thing you miss every summer is fireworks on the fourth of July.

Unfortunately a fireworks display on Independence day didn't seem to be as big of a deal in Palau, because we had a dickens of a time trying to figure out when and where it was supposed to be.

First we heard it was going to be at the KB bridge, which we have a marvelous view of from our roof, so we invited all of our friends over to watch.

Then we heard the location had been moved to T-Dock, time: unknown. So Fletch and I went into town to do a little investigating.

We went to the Koror state office, department of cultural affairs. Surely they would know. It seemed to be news to them that there were going to be fireworks.

Next we tried the police department. The police force in Palau really cracks me up. I'm really not sure what they do aside from direct traffic.

When we first arrived in Palau we were completely thrown off guard the first time we drove down the main road and approached a police officer standing in the middle of the street, blowing a whistle, and waving his arm around in a blur of a circle. What did it mean? We slowed down, confused, only to realize he was waving us through. He was waving everyone through in fact. So now we know that police officers waving their arms on the road are the equivalent of green lights. (There are no traffic lights in Palau). For the record, no police officer also equals a green light.

Apparently drinking and driving is a big problem in Palau. I don't know how it could be that bad as the national speed limit is only 25 mph. But anyway, you would think that maybe the cops would go around giving out tickets or arresting people for driving under the influence. I've yet to hear of a single case of an arrest or a ticket.

The police here don't even answer 911 calls unless it is from a home phone number because they were getting too many prank calls. That's right, if you're out and about and need to call 911, your cell phone is useless. Or so I hear. Luckily we haven't had to test this yet.

Palau's other big issue is with domestic abuse, so you would think that the police could help out with that, in fact, their office is plastered with flyers on domestic abuse and hotlines to call. But they are apparently the main culprits.

We went to the police office to ask about the fireworks display.

"Do you want to file a report? Or know about the fireworks?"

Um yeah, let me file a noise complaint for something that hasn't even happened yet. 

Fletch repeated that we wanted to know when and where the fireworks were going to be. The officer hesitated for a moment, then said, "Sometime between 8 and 9? You should be able to see them from Bethlehem Park."

Allison called us to let us know that she had heard from a coworker who had heard on the radio that they would be at 7:00 between T-Dock and the Meyungs bridge.

Oh Palau. There probably weren't even going to be any fireworks.

We decided just to return to plan A and drink and watch the show from our roof if we could see it. To our great astonishment, at 7:00 on the dot, we heard the first boom and went running outside. Could it really be?! There they were, one pretty display of exploding light after another, hidden behind the outline of a palm tree or two. There were at least four segments to the show, each with its own stunning finale. I guess a perk of being so close to China is being able to import some killer fireworks.