Things to do in Guam

Buying & Selling at the Dededo Flea Market

If we ever get up early on Sunday, our favorite place to go for some breakfast is the Dededo Flea Market. Vendors set up shop early in the morning to sell their fresh produce, fish, hot food, clothes, souvenirs and lots of other things. I love the smoothies, sticky rice balls, BBQ chicken, and looking at all the plants. Over the last couple of years it has grown a lot. More and more people have utilized the space to sell their own belongings, so it’s a great place to go to find a good deal on second hand items.

One weekend Peter and I also decided to sell some of our things at the market. We got up early on a Sunday morning, before sunrise, and headed up to Dededo. All of the spaces in the main area were already taken by people who sell every weekend. We stopped at the entrance where the lady took our $8 and guided us to one of the open parking spaces to the right. As we parked, glancing in our rearview mirror, we could see a crowd gathering. I thought maybe they were going to tell us not to park there, but when we hopped out of the truck they pulled out their flashlights and started looking at our things packed into the truck. Suddenly, in a frenzy, people started pulling things out and asking to buy them. It was crazy! An hour later, we were left with about one box and had made more money than we thought. We stayed for a few more hours to sell what was left. At 9am, we were hungry and had almost nothing left so we packed it up and left.

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Perhaps our success was due to the payday weekend or maybe because we were newbies, whatever the reason, it was a good experience and a lot of fun!

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Japanese Memorial, Park Life, and Pig Trails!

Hey everyone, hope you’re all having a great month! Just wanted to share some of my recent explorations in Guam. Starting with the South Pacific Japanese Memorial Park in Yigo. This shrine is in one of the buildings on the main part of the park.

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I’ve been here before but this time I wanted to see the Japanese caves. I took the stairs, which are covered by tree branches, down to the trail that leads to the caves. The trail also leads to a water well, that the Japanese soldiers built to collect water while living in the caves, and then out to the main area of the park.

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Below, shows the area where a Japanese general took his own life during WWII.

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Down in the lower part of the park where the Japanese caves are, we were surrounded by bamboo forests. They make a squeaking noise when the breeze moves them, it is a little eerie at times but so peaceful.

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On sunny days we go to the park! Sometimes when we don’t have time to go for a hike or leave Tumon, you can find me sitting at Ypao Beach Park in Tumon. I love reading, people watching, and feeling the sun on my skin.  Just enjoying my life. Occasionally there are people at this park making boats, like the one in the photo below.

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Finally, what started as a hike to explore more Japanese caves on Nimitz Hill ended with a swarm of mosquitoes attacking us. We hopped on the bike and drove off and around the corner to the trail that goes to Fonte Dam. We followed the trail all the way down until we couldn’t take the bike any further. Because it has been raining on-and-off these past few weeks, the trail was muddy.

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From there we hopped off and walked around a bit. There was this random bridge over a stream that allowed us to walk up some more. It was a pretty hot day so we just sat down, drank some water, and ate the snacks I packed.

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Of course I found LOTS of pig trails, and some dog prints too, that led to a muddy pool of water; I’m sure the pigs like to cool off in that puddle. Although, I would be terrified if I ever ran into a wild boar on a hike, I am always curious about them.

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Some of my best days in Guam have been exploring places where people don’t usually go. We have found a lot of wartime structures on random walks in the jungle. It’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle in Tumon and see a different side of the island that not many people get to see.

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My Happy Place

After this last trip to Ritidian and the outdoor hikes I’ve done since then, I think I’ll be staying out of the sun for awhile and give my skin a break. I love going to Ritidian for hiking, swimming, and relaxing under the trees. I always feel refreshed after beach days, especially after days at Ritidian. It’s so quiet, I could walk on the sandy beach for a mile without realizing it, and when it gets too hot I like to wade in the water. I love chasing birds, looking at the shells and rocks that wash up on the shore, and staring into the sky. It’s always beautiful here, that terrible drive is actually worth it! This beach has a special place in my heart.

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Exploring at the War in the Pacific Historical Park

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The park is one of Guam’s well known attractions. Lined with palm trees along Asan beach and wide open spaces that are great for kite flying, there’s more to it than what meets the eye. To think that some of the bloodiest battles on Guam happened here; it is now a peaceful, breezy park where I enjoy watching the sunset. When the sun and temperature go down, locals begin walking around the large grassy space for exercise and fisherman end their day by packing up their fishing equipment and heading home.

One afternoon I decided to explore the park beyond the usual area where the picnic tables are. We ended up finding this whole other area of wartime history and gorgeous views. It was a little hard to see through the overgrown shrubs, but up a steep hill near the park entrance we found Asan Cave. It was a small and VERY dark space.

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Further down the paved road to the park, there is another small sign on the left that indicates a trail. From the road you might not be able to see it, but if you walk toward the restroom then you will see it better. This is where the good stuff is!

The path is dark and intimidating because of all the trees and bushes that enclose it, but this makes for a nice shield from the sun. The trail splits into three directions, on my first trip we chose to go left which led to the area that is above the cave.

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On the way, we spotted a pillbox! The small windows look out toward the Piti Bomb Holes. We stopped here for a little picnic and imagined what is was like during the war. The pillbox was built into the cliff and looks out over the ocean. The space inside the pillbox is narrow and dark.

At the end of this trail, the views were incredible! In one direction the view looked out toward the road and hills, another toward the Fish Eye Marine Park, and another over the park, bay and the Governor’s Office.

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On another trip to the park, we took the path that goes down the stairs.

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Here we found another WWII remnant and a very secluded beach. I was amazed and surprised to find this shelter on the other side of the park. Does anyone else know that it’s here? It still amazes me that these historical structures are all over the island without any sort of protection. We should feel lucky that we get to learn about our history AND see it.

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From here you can either go left, to a beach with some really cool rock structures, or to the right where the water has carved out a shelf that allows you to cross to an even more secluded beach. (another great area to watch the sunset)

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Finally, back to the path that leads three different directions. Taking the path to the right took us down a grassy path that had colorful hibiscus, butterflies everywhere, trees, and breadfruit. This trail leads to the main area of the park and Asan beach.

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This was a great, easy walk for me to get out and enjoy Guam’s nature. I love exploring and finding new, to me, places. I feel like Guam is full of secrets and whenever I do something like this, it’s like I’m slowly learning what those secrets are.

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I Left My Heart in Inarajan

DSC_0070You would think that living on an island means going to the beach everyday, enjoying the sand and sun, and living a laid back lifestyle. Living in Tumon, it’s easy to forget that I’m on an island because things seem much faster. That’s why every-now-and-then we go south, where the true spirit of island life seems to live.

I first went to Inarajan when we were invited to a fiesta (Don’t Be Ashamed!) and again this year (Go Eat). It quickly became my favorite village on island. The historical part of the village is like walking down a street in the village that my dad is from in Spain. That’s what I love about it. It felt nothing like the other villages I’d been to. The Spanish influence was evident in the architecture of the old houses. The streets are narrow, the homes are dilapidated, and on some there pretty murals that depict a part of Guam’s culture. It’s beautiful and there’s no other way to put it.

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I again visited the village when my parents came to visit in February. My mom also felt that it reminded her of Spain. I think we both felt nostalgic and it seemed like she loved Inarajan as much as I do.

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As we walked through the village, we spotted this giant statue of Chief Gadao the chief of Inarajan located next to the Baptist church. Someday I’d like to walk to Gadao’s cave that is located in the area!

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(Read about the legend of Chief Gadao here)

That weekend they had a cultural festival where they taught us how to husk a coconut and throw a talaya (fishing net). Peter and my stepdad entered a coconut husking contest where they both cut their hands on the coconut grater!

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We ate red rice, with finadene and bbq chicken and stared out into the bay; we were hypnotized by the cool breeze and shining water. It was a hot day, but we didn’t care! After that we walked over to the bakery where the baker had made fresh bread. He taught us about the history of the village and the stove where they bake their breads on Sundays. Apparently many of the homes are historical houses and can only be renovated in a way that reflects their original appearance, which is too expensive for many people to accomplish. So instead, they are left to wither away. If I could, I would buy one of the homes and renovate it and turn it into a museum or something. I wish I could live in Inarajan! It would be a nice place to retire or raise kids.

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After our busy day at the festival, we headed to the Inarajan pools and watched the sunset.

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Mangilao Night Market

It’s nice to get out of Tumon to visit other villages. I finally went to the Mangilao Thursday night market! I don’t spend much time in Mangilao, but I will be going back to this market. Most markets in Guam start either super early in the morning (4am) or in the evening because of the heat. I’m not sure what time this night market starts because some of the vendors said they had been there since 3pm and sold out of most of their food. We left our house at around 6:30pm and stayed for maybe an hour. By that time, some of the vendors were starting to close up.

The market is located in a park next to the church and when we walked in, a lady on a loud speaker was calling out numbers from what I assume was a drawing they held. When she was done, they started playing island style music from a stereo. I immediately spotted the elusive tamale guy! Actually, I learned that his name is T.C. and he is from Guam but lived in The States, where he learned how to make pretty delicious Mexican food. He now sells them at various markets on island. He’s always very nice and friendly and we like to support his business. We bought some beef tamales and drinks.

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Across from him there was another food stand where I ordered a plate (pancit, bbq chicken sticks, lumpia). There weren’t too many places to sit, but we found some bleachers next to the playground and ate our meals. SOOOO yummy!

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After that we walked through the rows of vendors. Some were selling used items and some new, lots of fresh local produce, clothing, DVDs, handcrafted wooden tables, shell jewelry, and lots of other things! If you’re looking for an old school video game (NES, Super Nintendo, PS, original Gameboy…) you might want to check some of these vendors because they sell used games for older consoles.

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I’m always on the lookout for locally made products, which seem to be hard to find, and stumbled upon this booth. They had a variety of locally made products. One of the vendors ran over to me as I walked away and handed me their business card. The website is pretty cool and I’m definitely a supporter of the small business owner. They sell individual products and gift baskets, for those of you who are homesick, you should visit their website Guam Gift Baskets and for those of us who just want some cool products like coconut oil sugar scrub, body oil (a fav of mine for my hair), cookies, tea, clothing and other handmade items.

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On our way out we met a very friendly man who was trying to raise money for his cousin or sister who was running for Donne Queen for the Donne Festival! We bought a book of raffle tickets from them because they were so nice and funny.

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The Donne festival is in September and will be at the same location as the night market. Thanks for a good night Mangilao!

 

Weekend Shenanigans – Recon 2014

Just a quick little post about Recon this weekend. 

There was this really cool convention, at the Agana Shopping Center, over the weekend. Recon! It was my first time going to this kind of event, so I had no idea what to expect.

I was so impressed with all the people who dressed up in cosplay and as their favorite characters, especially those individuals who participated in the cosplay contest! I thought it was brave that they could get up on stage and act out their character, I could never do that! And the creativity in some of the costumes was awesome! Someone had made their entire costume out of cardboard!

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 I’m pretty sure Peter was thinking, “Where am I, what am I doing here?!” He’s such a good sport. I had lots of fun looking at all the booths and artwork. I even picked up a few comics!

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There was a dance group that performed and, my favorite, The Guam Territorial Band that played theme songs from video games and movies.

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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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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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