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Morning in the Marianas

The Philippine Sea is a golden mirror, but clouds are already starting to billow, like sails along the horizon.

A Brown Tree Snake lassos his way back down a tree trunk after having spent the night munching on birds’ eggs.

A young Korean bride withdraws a flowing, yellow sundress from her suitcase. A local Korean-speaking tour guide has promised her some Instagram-worthy photos from the island’s most breathtaking viewpoints.

A young Chamorro with a backpack blower spreads dry the shiny lenses of rainwater that last night’s showers pooled on the hotel’s breakfast patio.

A Navy wife assembles her tennis gear for one last game with her husband before he returns to the base to begin his next six-month submarine deployment.

An American engineer, awake since 2AM thanks to the 24-hour flight and 14-hour time difference that separates him from home, reviews drawings and specifications for the latest expansion to the naval base.

A Filipino from Quezon sips his black coffee and prepares for a busy day at the office. Filipinos run the bulk of the tourism industry, but there’s plenty of work in other fields too if you hustle.

A Chinese businesswoman returns to her shop and unlocks the glass doors of the entrance: jewelry, high-end, name brand merchandise produced in China but marketed through American companies; it’s all been shipped most of the distance back East where she’ll sell it easily at import prices.

A father sends out invitations to his son's birthday party, being planned in the usual format: barbecue at the beach, lots of food and drinks, big group of friends. Parties keep the community tight and there's always another one approaching on the calendar, no matter the cost.

A young woman from the archipelago of Chuuk whatsapps her mother. Yes she’ll come home for Christmas, no she won’t stay. She has more opportunities in Guam and the pay is good.

A queue of cargo ships awaits the signal to enter Apra Harbor and discharge the thousands of containers that bring merchandise of every type to the island where nothing is produced locally and even the fruit comes from overseas.

A pod of manta rays approaches from the outer harbor. Tonight is the full moon, and they’ll cross the reef in numbers to feed closer to shore, as they have since before any human thought to notice.

The sun climbs over the boundless Pacific, here at the morning of the world.


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