Will, Avner, Nuno and I visited the nearby village of Wanead on foot. It was larger and owned more "rai" (Yap stone money) than Bechiyal.
"Rai" are carved out of a crystalline volcanic stone that is not found on Yap. These heavy "coins" were carved on the island of Palau 500 km away, at the height of the Yap empire. They were brought here suspended on a pole between two canoes over often rough seas, at the peril and sometimes the cost of lives.
Each one had a name and its story was well known for its value depended on the efforts and sometimes lives that had been expended to carve and transport it.
There was a great variety of traditional houses in Wanead so I took many pictures.
Wanead was larger than Bechiyal but it had no electricity and no plumbing. The people used the beach or the "hole in the ground" type of latrines like the one hidden behind rusty corrugated iron.
The handcrafted houses were lovely to look at and the grounds were as well-kept as gardens.
This big fellow, tied to a stake by the leg, had searched the ground with his snout for something to eat until his territory looked like a crater.
Most of the houses in this village where on stilts but this one was built directly on the ground.
This villager even indulged in a two-story house with a covered porch.
He explained to us that he did not own the few "rai" we saw on his land for all rai belong to the community.
This is the community house of Wanead village.
Will, Avner, Nuno and I got along fine so we rented Mary's van to explore other villages on the island.
We drove south past Colonia and the airport to the village of Malaay on the southwest coast where this impressive "rai" bank was displayed.
"Rai" don't have to be moved because enerybody knows what village owns each one of them. They are still used as currency to settle debts or conflicts between villages.
The Malaay community house was ancient but well taken care of.
A beach near Malaay.
From Malaay we came back to Colonia and moved southeast to Balabat village where we found this "rai" bank.
This "rai" was big enough for the cookie monster but just a little heavy to digest.
And here is the Balabat community house.
In Gagil, we found this community house in the process of being built.
Gagil village was well-organized to feed and entertain groups of tourists from the island's luxury hotels.
Naturally, Gagil also had a handsome and well maintained community House.
After observing the unfortunate effects of intense cultural alienation in Saipan and Guam, It was refreshing to see that the Yapese still value their identity.