Thursday, November 24, 2005

Day 3: Life as a Target

Example of a picture from around town

After being in Kwaj for three days now, I started to wonder what all these posters were around town. They were quite stunning and other-worldly. My first assumption was that it was some unique anomoly of light caused by our unique location. Turns out I was wrong.

Kwaj is not only a launch site for missiles, it is also a giant target for testing missiles launched from the continental US. Those images are the re-entry trails of the ICBM's launched from California. I found this out on a bike ride around the island. There is a beautiful view on the north side of the island looking into the center of the atoll.

The beautiful view of the center of the atoll from this chair

What it looks like when ICBMs re-enter (from the chair).

So I thought I'd look around some more and see what life is like on this mini-island.

First of all, there is a downtown.

Parking downtown

It has a Macy's. Not a real Macy's, but they call it Macy's. You can get most things at Kwaj's Macy's as you can get in New York's Macy's, it just much, much smaller. And you can't be picky.

For example, they only sold women's sunglasses. If you're a man and you want sunglasses, then stop being picky and wear one of those nice, shapely sunglasses they're selling.

The Macy's at Kwaj

The Restaurant at Kwaj. It's a cafeteria, but it's actually a pretty good one.

Truthfully, life is pretty good out here for the folks that choose Kwaj. Almost everyone on the island is non-military. I was told that less than 50 people worked for the army. Everyone else is part of contractor companies supporting the military operations in Kwaj.

Schools are apparently so good here that over 90% of students move on to college. The motivation might also be partly "get me off this tiny island" as much as good schooling, but you can't beat those odds.

The beaches are actually really nice where the residents live

On the ride around the island we saw people scuba diving, swimming and lazing on the beach; basically doing what you would imagine people would do on a beach resort. Except they live here and seem pretty darn happy. Everyone seems to be smiling.

It's hot, but it's not that hot. It's humid, but it's not... actually, it's damn humid. Still, I hear you get used to it after a while.

All round, not a bad place to live.

See, no lines at the Travel Agency

On the rocket front, the launch has been pushed a day due to a "request" from the army. The details are so infuriating but suffice it to say, we're pissed. Elon received a call at 4am in the morning saying that they need to move Spacex's long planned launch time because they need to "work" that day near the Spacex island.

So now the launch is Sunday our time, Saturday Mainland time.

'til next time.


What a rocket looks like when it launches from Kwaj

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1 comment:

JB said...

I'm applying for a job as a nurse at Kwajalein, great pictures, cant wait to hear if i get the job there.
Looking forward to some humidity, as i am currently in Anchorage, AK.