Nation: Paradise with Rough Edges

Welcome to dropouts, bureaucrats and bone pickers

To get the flavor of America's far-flung Pacific territories, TIME Correspondent David De Voss island-hopped for 2½ weeks. His impressions:

"Ladies and gentlemen," the intercom Li crackles, "out of the left side of the cabin are the remains of the Japanese Imperial Fleet." Banking sharply into the sunset, the Air Micronesia 727 circles the Truk lagoon. Coral reefs color the water in pastels of orange, yellow and green, interspersed with the darker shapes of sunken hulls. "It was on Feb. 16, 1944, that we spotted 'em," the...

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