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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Holidays in Guam

It goes without saying that, if you’re not from Guam, Christmas just isn’t the same. December is the beginning of dry season and has some of the most beautiful, sunny days. So, it’s hard to get into the spirit of the holidays. Each Christmas I’ve spent in Guam has been very untraditional for me. My usual Christmas, at home in Oregon, consisted of family and food. In Guam, we’ve spent the holidays hiking, BBQing at the beach, swimming, and this year eating at a buffet and visiting the aquarium. We try to make it fun, even though it’s not a traditional way to celebrate the holidays.

On Christmas Eve we drove to Agana where the governor’s house was decorated with Christmas lights. We were allowed to walk throughout the property. It was beautiful!

Because there are so many tourists and military people away from their families, nearly everything remains open so it’s easy to find some way to celebrate. Most of the hotels hold holiday buffets and we chose to go to Sea Grill. Our favorite duo, Jesse & Ruby, were the entertainment. We also got discounted tickets to the aquarium and won a gift certificate to eat at Sea Grill again! This Christmas, it rained throughout the day and wasn’t very nice-looking outside, so the aquarium was the perfect place to go.

After that we went home, watched some Christmas movies and fell asleep after all the eating we had done. When we woke up, we watched The Hobbit at the theater.

Hope you all had a nice holiday!

We’re Going to Seoul!

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I’d never given much thought to traveling to this side of the world prior to my move to Guam. When I was younger, I’d always been more interested in traveling to Europe to see family. I never would have thought that moving to Guam would mean I would get to explore Asia and the Pacific Islands. It first started with our trip to Philippines then to Japan (which has been one of the best trips of my life!) and soon Seoul, South Korea!

We crunched the numbers, found good deals on flights and places to stay, and decided to just do it. Although most things in Guam are pricey, flying to Asia has been way more affordable and obtainable in Guam than if we were back in Oregon. We have tried to take advantage of that opportunity. So what better way to celebrate my 30th birthday (O.M.G. I can’t believe it) than with a trip to somewhere neither of us have been, South Korea! It’s been more than a year since we’ve been off island so we are really looking forward to this trip! Very excited to add another country to the list 🙂

If you’d like to suggest anything I should do/places to eat while there, please feel free to leave a comment thanks!

 

 

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.

Sitting on Top of the World

I don’t know the significance of these crosses on top of the hill near Leo Palace. We’ve passed them a few times on our way to the red dirt trails, but this time we stopped on the side of the road to follow the path up to see what they were. We sat in the grass and watched the clouds pass by and the hills illuminate as the sun set. Tons of young, microscopic grasshoppers jumped all over us, but we were too mesmerized by the view and calmed by the breeze to care. Just another beautiful day in Guam.

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.

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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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. ❤

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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 made 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