Christmas Eve on Nauru

It was Christmas Eve on Nauru. The road from the airport to the Menen Hotel was crowded with cars full of people singing and laughing on their way to the season's festivities. We were surprised at how happy the people were. I suppose we naively expected them to be in a constant state of depression about the destruction of their homeland and their bleak prospects. We checked into the Menen Hotel situated in a residential area on the eastern side of the Island. The building itself was new and elegant, with spectacular views of the reef and the ocean beyond. We tossed our bags into our room and started walking to stretch our legs after the long plane ride.

from Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature
by Carl N. McDaniel and John M. Gowdy