What to do During Rainy Season

I didn’t even get to say goodbye to the dry season.

So what the heck is going on with the weather in Guam?!! I really feel like I’m in Oregon again. It’s been dark all day today and rained most of the morning.  The only difference is the intense humidity that follows the rain. The forecast doesn’t look very promising and from what I’ve heard we are having monsoonal rain. Along with the storm, I’ve come down with a cold. So that means that our weekend has been spent inside, cuddled up on the sofa, watching movies and eating soup. Sounds fine to me!

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 This is about the most sunshine we’ve had
in a couple days, if you call that sunshine.

Sooner than later I’m going to get tired of being indoors and will want to do something. So what is there to do when the rainy season arrives and you live on an island that has mostly outdoor attractions? That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out for the past few years! Here’s what I do!

1. Guam’s super cool aquarium Underwater World. I took my parents here when they came to visit.

2. Shop, shop, window shop! There are a few malls across Guam and luxury shops in Tumon. Even if you have no money to spend, it’s nice to get out for a walk and window shop. Peter and I often take walks in Tumon, grab some chocolates from Godiva when we want to feel fancy or eat at one of the many restaurants located in the area.

3. Eat! I’ve tried a couple new places this month. One day I was craving steak, which is rare for me as I don’t eat beef regularly. We went to Angus Steak & Grille in Harmon for the first time and had a great meal! The servers were very pleasant and informative.  A few days ago I was invited to JOINUS Restaurant Keyaki, a traditional Japanese and Teppan-Yaki food. I didn’t know what this was or what most of the food was! I ordered what I recognized (chicken teriyaki) and watched as they set everyone’s food on fire!

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4. Watch the sunset because even though it may be covered by clouds, the colors in the sky and the way the clouds are illuminated are amazing!

5. Wait for a break in the rain! (You could be waiting a long time) The rain seems to slow down in the late afternoon, which is when we usually leave the house because we ride a motorcycle.

6. Go swimming anyway because you’ll be wet either way. Although right now swimming can be a little dangerous with the high surf and rough waters, I still see vacationers making the most of their trip to Guam and splashing around at the beach.

7. Visit museums! There are a few history museums on Guam and this month there was an art exhibit in The Plaza called Guam Art Exhibit. I went to this last year and I was so impressed. This year we attended the spoken word event and had a lot of fun.

8. Bowling is a pretty popular sport on Guam, Peter and I were part of a bowling team and we played for a year! Lots of fun and food. If bowling isn’t your thing, Central Lanes  also has ping pong and video games so check it out!!

9. $5 movies! Peter and I like to catch an early movie because it’s quiet, cheap and something to do while it’s raining.

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Stormy Times

This morning I woke up, looked out the window, and saw the beautiful blue sky. Not long after, Peter called and said there was a tropical storm coming and they were preparing for it at work. I don’t watch T.V. and I rarely grab a copy of the newspaper, so I went online to check the weather stats. Sure enough, the news were reporting on the tropical storm that is headed straight for Guam. Now, I never really know whether I should take things seriously because it seems like the media blow things out of proportion. There have been so many storms that people were worried about and were hyped up, that ended up missing us completely. Either way, Peter and I always stay semi prepared. We have flashlights, batteries, food, propane and a burner, typhoon shutters, and we will usually do a big grocery shopping trip just before the storm arrives. It’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s been a realllyyyyy long time since Guam was hit by a typhoon and people say we are overdue for another one.  Over the last three years that I’ve lived in Guam, we’ve been pretty lucky that the typhoons haven’t formed until the storm had passed our island. I’ve never experienced a typhoon and I hear that the past ones have left parts of Guam without power and water for MONTHS. Let’s just hope that this storm doesn’t turn into anything bigger over the weekend. The rainy season has wasted no time in giving us scary storms. Looks like it might be a rough one this year.

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Photo of the approaching storm.

(map from : http://goo.gl/n1ARyA)
 

At the moment, we are in condition 2 readiness. Read what that means here.

Stay safe everyone!

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Who Rents a Convertible During Typhoon Weather?!?!

   WE DID!!

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Since we haven’t done any traveling this year, we decided to extend our 4th of July holiday weekend and do something fun. We’d been planning our Guam stay-cation for over month. We were going to rent a convertible and drive around the island and also go zip lining. But the weather in Guam had other plans for us. When our long weekend arrived, so did a tropical storm.

We hung out at The Beach Bar with some friends Thursday evening and, that should have been our warning, we were blasted with sand as gusts of wind came through. At the end of our evening, the rain started pouring down. The next morning it wasn’t raining but it was gloomy and so, so windy. For some reason we thought it was still a good idea to rent a convertible and cruise the island.

That evening all of the 4th of July festivities had been cancelled so we ate at Arashi Bowl in Harmon. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but once you open the door Manga artwork covers the walls and it’s really cool! The food was delicious too!

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Saturday morning we woke up, hopped in the car and began our drive south. During our drive down we’d feel drops of rain, pull over, put the top back up, drive off, think the rain had stopped, pull over, put the top back down. We did this until we reached Piti and saw a HUGE, dark cloud hovering over the village and felt the cold breeze. The weather was all downhill from there. We continued on South, pulling over a few times because the visibility in the rain was terrible. We ended up at Jeff’s Pirates Cove and had a late lunch. The rain intensified and so did the wind and incredible thunder and lightening! We stayed there for a couple of hours but the storm was only getting stronger. Finally, the time came and we needed to drive back to the car rental to return the car.

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Later that evening the storm had calmed a bit so we walked to the Tumon BBQ Block Party. We ate empanadas from Sea Grill and tried some of the BBQ meats. At the end, we stopped for fresh coconut water and decided to go home. I think the rest of our weekend was spent trying to stay dry. I guess I should say goodbye to the dry season and an unwelcome hello to the rainy season! Stay dry, Guam!

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He Did It!

From the time I was born until I was about 16, my family spent the summers fishing. As I got older, it was usually just my dad and me fishing in the deserts of eastern Oregon. I loved it!

Fishing in Guam is very different and challenging. Peter and I decided to take up fishing and bought a pole from Kmart during one of their sales. We fished at Cabras Island near the power plant, the Oka viewpoint cliff, lots of different beaches and the Masso reservoir. We had NO luck. We got fishing advice from everyone, even the lady who worked at Sweet Home who said her husband was a fisherman. We would see people fishing with bread or hotdogs and so we tried that too! I’m sure if we were on a boat out in the ocean we’d have no problem, but the small-time fishing we wanted to do seemed impossible.

It wasn’t really a big deal to me whether we caught a fish, but Peter was determined. About a month ago, we went back to Masso Reservoir and it finally happened. Peter caught a fish. Though it may have been the smallest fish ever caught in the history of fishing, he did it and was so happy. He caught three more and decided that was good enough. We released them all back into the pond and left feeling satisfied. Good job Petey <3

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Stop and Smell the Flowers

One of my favorite things about living on a tropical island are the tropical flowers! During my evening walks in Tumon I see lots of different types of flowers, but most of them are plumeria. Occasionally Peter will cut a branch from a plumeria tree so we can have fresh flowers in our home. They usually live for a week in a vase and smell incredible. Their scent is so strong that they fill my kitchen with a sweet smell and it lingers in the air when I walk past one of the large trees.

Hibiscus is another common flower here in Guam. I didn’t know that they came in so many different colors. The photograph of the white flower with a purple/pink center is one I found in Inarajan! I haven’t found one that smells nice like plumeria though.

There are also lots of other brightly colored flowers that seem to grow like weeds, but they are gorgeous and I wouldn’t mind if they grew in my garden. Most of these flowers seem to grow anywhere, abandoned homes, side of the road, everywhere! They just need sunshine and rain and they’re happy. There are so many more flowers on Guam, but these are my favorites.

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I Quit My Job and Moved to Guam on CNN.com

 A couple of days ago I noticed that I was getting traffic to my blog from CNN.com. I clicked on the link that was bringing people to my blog and found that an article had been written and my blog was referenced! I was very excited, shocked, and happy. If you’d like, you can visit the article here: 6 of the World’s Most Colorful Colonial Holdouts

I love it when Guam is in the spotlight for something positive!

The post that the author referenced was Go Eat, about my time at the Inarajan fiesta.

thanks

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Snorkeling and Walking on the Reef

This morning I called my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day. He randomly asked me if I had been swimming and told me to watch out for sharks. I said to him, “Dad, there’s a reef, so it’s hard for the sharks to get in. But now you’ve scared me!”

This whole weekend was spent at the beach. No complaints here. On Sunday, Peter had a gig at Jimmy Dee’s Beach Bar to play during a beach rugby tournament. It’s been SO hot lately, and Sunday was no exception. I had a good time, it was relaxing and fun! That evening we swam in Tumon as we watched the sun set. Beautiful rays shot out through the clouds making another breathtaking sunset in Guam.

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Today (Monday) we had brunch at King’s then headed to Ritidian. As if I didn’t get enough beach time from the previous day, I wanted MORE. And why not? The weather has been perfect, hot, but perfect beach weather. These are the type of days that made me fall in love with Guam. <3

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We’ve had low tide for a few days now and the usually rough waters of Ritidian were calm, shallow and HOT! Because the water was so shallow and the sun was working hard, the water warmed up. Warmer than I’ve ever felt it.

We snorkeled near the shore and saw tons of cool fish. Then I noticed that the tide was so low that the coral was sticking out all the way to the reef. We decided to walk to the reef. The water went from ankle deep near the shore, to no water at all. For most of the walk my feet were out of the water, that’s how low the tide was. After a long walk, me slipping on all the bumps and crevices in the coral, we made it to the edge of the reef! I’m so scared of going out to the reef because there are so many stories in the newspaper about people being swept away into the depths of the ocean after falling over. I make sure Peter and I stay away, but today was an exception. It was great! If I had a bucket list I would have crossed off “Walking out to the edge of the reef.” I looked back to the shore to see how far we’d come and it was a little further than the length of a football field. I said, “So this is what’s on the reef!” As I looked down at these strange sea plants that had long stems with big things that looked like bubbles on the tips. We walked over them and let some of the water splash on us from the waves hitting the reef. I looked out to the dark blue water  and  got an eerie feeling, thinking about what my dad had mentioned earlier. The ocean is both beautiful and scary to me.

As we walked back to the shore we found a deep pool of water that we thought would have some stuff to look at. We put our snorkels on and saw that the pool was filled with sea creatures. I saw a very LARGE spiky sea urchin, tons of black fish and some other larger multi-colored fish with lips that looked like they were kissing, baby needlefish AND my worst fear of all a small sea snake! After that we walked back over the coral and headed into the shade.

What a wonderful weekend. All the worries that had been on our minds were cleared away as we explored the waters of Ritidian.

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 Note to self: First trip back to Ritidian (just the two of us) after our engagement. 6-16-2014

 

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Things to Do in Guam: Get Dirty!

Over a year ago, Peter came home and said he found a dirt bike that he really wanted. Since it was his birthday and a really good deal for Guam, he bought this bright green used bike. At the time we had a scooter and maybe a car (I can’t remember). Since then, we now only have the dirt bike and it is our ONLY mode of transportation.

We’ve taken it out on a few expeditions like riding around this abandoned golf course in Barrigada. There are lots of cool, paved trails that are good for riding.

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We also explored the red dirt roads near Leo Palace.

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But the most memorable adventure was on Peter’s birthday (a couple of days after buying the bike). We packed up some snacks and drinks and headed out to Channel 10 to do some riding. It was during the rainy season, but hadn’t rained in a week or so. We thought everything would be dry and, for the most part, it was.

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The main road we were riding down was pretty dry; although, some of the side roads looked flooded. Suddenly our dry road turned into THIS! A huge puddle.

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We passed through it easily, but it wasn’t until we were headed back that we ran into trouble. We rode along the outside of the puddle and ended up getting stuck in mud on the left side. I jumped off the bike so that my weight wouldn’t pull the bike deeper in, but it was too late we were really stuck. Peter called me over to help unload everything and I stepped in ankle deep mud. Ugh! We worked for about 45 minutes trying to pull the bike out, I found an old plastic bumper and tried to wedge it under the tire, but the mud was sucking everything in. We decided to take a break, drink some gatorade and rest in the bushes. Peter called his friend in Oregon for some advice on how to get our bike out. He basically said you need to man handle that beast, and that’s just what we did. After over an hour of being stuck, we were free!!!! I was muddy from head to toe, but thankful that we were unstuck. I’m pretty sure Peter will never forget THAT birthday!

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Despite the horrible time we had with the mud, the view was gorgeous!

 

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Asan Falls

I’ve been trying to do one to two small hikes/walks a week just to get some fresh air and see something new. We’ve been getting good use out of our trail book, so I guess the money was well spent. Some of these trails have no trailhead so it would be impossible to find, if not for the book.

Yes, we found ANOTHER waterfall. I had no clue there were this many on Guam. I guess I can check that off my bucket list for Guam (if I had one). This time our adventures led us to Asan. The trail started behind some newly constructed homes, which I was worried that they would someday restrict access to the falls. The book said the hike would be very difficult, but to the top of the waterfall it was very easy. It looked as though the way to get down to the larger falls would be difficult.

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We again didn’t come prepared to swim so we just sat at the top of the falls and looked down. Another peaceful retreat away from our day-to-day life in Tumon. From here I couldn’t hear anything but the water falling and frogs. From the top of the road I would never have guessed that this beauty was here. More Guamanian mysteries.

I felt that this was the perfect spot for a doughnut break (everywhere is a great place for doughnuts).

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The other, larger waterfall further down, which we were unable to locate a way to get to, has a 25 foot drop. I’m sure we will go back and try to find it. We found this rope that Peter used to climb down and check things out. The swimming hole looked very deep, but probably not deep enough to dive.

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After that we drove to a little viewpoint on Nimitz Hill and watched the sunset. That’s our Guam life!

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