The Palauan village has a distinct geography and design, including a
central area and a series of raised stone pathways that define the limits
of the village proper. We learn about this unique design.
The traditional homes of Palau were distinct in architecture, orientation,
and significance. Our guides explain the various features of these houses,
including the stone platform that stood in front of them.
The focus of any village was a plaza with one or more elaborately carved
houses known as bai. One of these would be the meeting house
for the village council of chiefs. The Bairairrai is the only traditional
such structure remaining in Palau, though new ones are now being built.
Not far from the bai is a spot where the four pathways join.
Today a round stone structure marks this spot. Johnson
and Rurecherudel tell the story of how the rival
forces of Palau used to meet here, and how a senior woman from Airai
Village brokered their peace.
On the island just off Airai Village's waterfront, as well as on another
location in Airai's Rock Islands, men from Yap used to come and quarry
their stone money. The resulting interaction, though minimal, had a