I had a great time capturing the silhouettes of the row of coconut trees against a splendid sunset, I was lost in what I was doing and forgot I had a companion.
When I looked behind me I realized that the once magnificent, well-lit, lively hotel was now a sad, lonely abandoned building. Thick grass had grown on the beachfront, somehow fencing the structure in and creating an image so forlorn that it would have moved to tears those who had seen the hotel, which once hosted Japan’s imperial couple, in its heyday.
In the gathering dusk, the hotel looked like a scene from a horror movie. It stood there, dark and menacing and my imagination started to play tricks on me. I trained my zoom lens on the rooms and almost expected a face to peer from one of the windows. I was getting scared and actually jumped when my companion tapped me on the shoulder.
We made our way slowly to one of my favorite wedding venues on island, St. Angelo Chapel, which was a few yards away.
Despite the fact the Palms Resort closed down three years ago, the chapel is still used for weddings. The lawn was still manicured, and the chapel did not show any signs of the desolation and abandonment that Palms Resort now exuded. The chapel was a separate world by itself.
We went around it, careful not to touch anything while taking photos. A few minutes later, I was startled again and this time by the silhouette of a man approaching us from across the bridge. He asked what we were doing. We learned that the men fishing on the shore were security guards who alerted another guard about our presence.
We explained that we were just taking photos and were leaving, which we were only too glad to do. We made our way back to our car at Paopao Beach and left for home.
I was hesitant to download my photos from my memory cards, sad to see such a big hotel transformed into yet another abandoned structure.
But I saw no faces peeking out of the hotel windows in any of my photos. If you get the chance, visit the Palms Resort beachfront at twilight, you will see what I mean.
First published at the Marianas Variety here: http://www.mvariety.com/special-features/around-the-island/59396-the-glory-that-was-the-palms-beachfront