Thursday, November 24, 2005
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Kimbal at 7:54 PM