weather

Part One: It’s Seoul Cold!!!

We’ve made it home safely from my birthday trip to South Korea. Nothing could have prepared us for the cold we felt the moment we stepped outside. It has been three years since I’ve lived in the States and four since I’ve lived somewhere that gets super cold weather like Seoul. We’d bought jackets and sweaters before we left, but that still wasn’t enough. The first day of our trip was spent looking for gloves, scarves, hats, long johns and stopping for hot tea at cafés. I was stunned by the cold and the first night I was miserable. I was thinking, “Why didn’t I think of a warmer place to go for my birthday!!”

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Sinchon:

I’ve been wanting to stay at a hostel for awhile now and I’d heard that Korean hostels were sometimes as good as hotel rooms. So after some research, we decided to stay at Chocolate Tree in Sinchon. The room was spacious and the staff were very helpful, BUT the bed was terribly uncomfortable! After the first night, I got used to the springs from the mattress pushing into my ribs.

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In the evening we walked around the neighborhood and wandered into random grocery stores. Korea has GREAT snacks!! We bought tons of little treats that turned out to be delicious.

 

Next up…Gangnam!

 

 

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I Survived My First Tropical Storm!

Tropical storm Halong is on it’s way west now after making a mess of Guam for the day. I’m sick of writing about the weather, but this year we’ve just had bad luck. There have been a few close calls with typhoons and storms in the last couple of months.  This morning (Wednesday) we were put in COR 1 (condition of readiness), which means typhoon winds are expected within 12 hours. The night before we were told that the storm would hit the next evening, but the next morning they said the storm had moved quicker than anticipated and would arrive at noon! I was a little worried because we weren’t prepared. When Peter was released from work, he stopped by the only store he could find that was still opened and bought some supplies.

I decided to cook brunch in case we lost electricity and sure enough, the power went out. Peter called GPA to report the outage and 20 minutes later the power came back on. I finished cooking, but at noon we had lost power again. We spent the next few hours listening to the radio, watching movies on my laptop, napping, and waiting. Thanks GPA for calling us throughout the day to make sure our power was still on!!

I wasn’t scared because the meteorologists didn’t seem too concerned about it escalating into anything more serious. The scary part, or the part that made me anxious, was that with out typhoon shutters closed I could hear loud noises outside, but couldn’t see what was happening. Occasionally we would open the door and check things out. The wind was SO strong and the rain was coming at us from all directions.

By 3:00PM Peter and I were STARVING. All we had available was dry food; rice cakes, granola, cereal, peanut butter, bananas; not very fulfilling. About 30 minutes later, our power came back on!!! We actually jumped for joy and ran to the kitchen and began cooking!

In Oregon, our weather is pretty much predictable. Sometimes in the summer we get windstorms, but they last 30 minutes and don’t cause much damage. So as you can imagine, neither of us having experienced this type and strength of a storm, we were a little nervous. I’m so thankful to K57 Newstalk radio who kept us calm and aware. That’s the best way to get news during a storm, so make sure to have a battery powered radio handy!

It’s still dark and rainy, but I’m relieved that the worst of the storm is over. Damage to the island was very minimal and all the villages are in clean up and recovery mode. I can’t wait for rainy season to be over!

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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