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Beware of the Guam Massage Parlor

The day after I arrived on Guam, Peter had to go to work so I was on my own. Before he set me loose on the streets of Tumon he said, “Oh yea stay away from the massage parlors!”

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They’re the places with the Christmas lights on all year long, usually open 24/7, and in the evening there are ladies that sit outside. They’re hard to miss. During our evening walks in Tumon we see non-local men walking past one of the lit up massage parlors. A lady in lingerie usually pops out of the dark building and calls out, “massage!” to the male passerby’s.

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I guess it’s surprising to me that 1. there are so many of them on such an incredibly small island and 2. it is so obvious what they do. Maybe I lived a sheltered life in Oregon, but I’d never seen anything like that. Sadly, I’ve become used to them and I don’t even notice anymore. It’s hard to differentiate between the legitimate massage/spas and these ones, I guess I’m lucky that I hate massages so I don’t have to worry. I do wish there weren’t so many in Tumon because they make the village look trashy, but they must be making money because they have prime real estate along San Vitores Road.

Dear massage ladies, at least stay inside when wearing lingerie and leave the Christmas lights for Christmas!

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!

 

 

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Creatures of Guam: Butterflies!

I used to love chasing butterflies when I was a little kid in Oregon. They were usually very small, yellow, maybe they were actually moths. I thought they were so pretty. In Guam, I don’t need to chase butterflies because they seem to be everywhere and will land on me if I’m still. I had never seen black butterflies until I moved here. It sort of feels magical when you walk through an area that hasn’t has been walked through in awhile, and tons of butterflies flutter around you.

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Photos at Latte Stone Park

A few months ago Peter and I decided to check out this small, dark park in Agana that we often see. It’s shaded by tons of huge trees and very well maintained. There are latte stone and a cave from WWII. It would be a nice, quiet place for a picnic or to relax during your lunch hour. Definitely stop by if you are in the area!

Uno Magazine Best Blog 2013

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I receive a lot of lovely messages on my Facebook page from people all over the world inquiring about life in Guam. Last month I received a different kind of message from the Editor-in-Chief for Uno Magazine Guam. I was asked if they could put my blog in their “2013 in Review Best of Guam” issue for “Best Blog.” My first reaction was, “Is this real?” Then I was like, “Woohoo yessss!” Thank you Uno Magazine for acknowledging my blog and for the very nice write up. What a great way to end 2013!

Creepy Creatures: The Rhino Beetle

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One day as I was walking downstairs to the laundry room of my building, I noticed this small, black thing wedged in a crevice between a door and a wall.  As I approached it I immediately recognized what it was by its hind legs. A coconut rhinoceros beetle! Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the negative impact they’ve had on the island. Here is a story about the devastation from Pacific Daily News. According to the article, trees along the beach in Tumon have been chopped down due to damage by the beetle. One of the most beautiful things about the beaches are that they are lined with coconut trees, so I was saddened when I went to Ypao Beach and saw stumps where trees once flourished. As of now, the beetle has spread to all villages on Guam. There are different ideas about how to get rid of the pests, but I’m not sure if any of them are working. It’s surprising that these beetles are able to cause any damage at all because they look drunk and uncoordinated when they fly.

When Peter came back home from work, I told him what I found. I know that he’s been wanting to catch one so he was really happy. Without a second thought, Peter scooped it up into his hands and took him upstairs. He then tied a rope around the beetle and put him in a pot of dirt. The beetle began digging its way deep into the pot and stayed there. We considered killing it because that’s what you’re supposed to do, but it felt wrong. It’s not just like a bug you can squash with your foot. It’s thick and its signature rhino horn on top of its head is amazing! Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing a lot of these lately and I’m hoping that it’s not a sign that they are taking over. Let’s just hope that Guam is able to get this problem under control.

 

Scoot, Scoot!

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Before I moved to Guam, Peter told me he drove a scooter and a motorcycle and that I’d have to get a helmet. I thought, “No way am I going to be able to do this.” Before we left Portland we went helmet shopping. Of course I had a panic attack, feeling like I couldn’t breathe in that thing! Here I am a year later and I LOVE riding around on them.

Surprisingly, not too many people drive scooters or motorcycles on Guam. Being an incredibly small island, there are a lot of vehicles on the road; thus, causing a lot of traffic. In addition to the traffic, the coral based roads are full of potholes. There isn’t really a dependable public transit system in place. Using the scooter has been nice to get around quickly and spend less on gas.  A few things have happened while scooting, beetles and other bugs ALWAYS fly into us and they usually hit us right in the middle of the face, sometimes geckos that are sleeping on the scooter fly off and onto our legs or arms, and sometimes we hit one of those potholes that shakes us up a bit!

Many people here don’t understand how we can get by without a car. When we had a car, it was the worst driving experience of my life! The roads on Guam are not built for all the traffic and the drivers don’t always follow the law (often running red lights and speeding). It took me nearly an hour to get home after work, when it should have taken me 15 minutes. I’m not sure where people are going at all hours of the day/night and why families need one car per person. A car does make life easier during the rainy season, but we got by without one before and we can do it again! The view is so much better when you’re not boxed in and the wind feels so good on a hot day! Just remember, if you see a motorcycle or scooter on the road, be a kind and respectful driver. It’s only unsafe for us out there when other cars  drive recklessly!

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So This is Happening…

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There’s a typhoon somewhere in that picture that is causing all the ruckus on Guam. Today is the first day in the last three that it hasn’t been raining the entire day. I went out briefly Thursday evening and Tumon didn’t look too bad. The roads were flooded but the tourists were still out, covered in plastic for protection from the wetness. Since then, I haven’t left the house and I’m going crazy! We lost power for a day and it has flickered on and off every-now-and-then, but so far things are good for me. I can’t say the same for others on the island. There has been a lot of flooding, in some areas it looks waist deep. Trees have fallen due to the strong winds and some villages are without water. I finally went out to see the damage and I’m so happy that I live in Tumon because it’s not all bad. There were actually people swimming in the ocean against warnings that it was dangerous. I hope the rest of the island is doing better! The storm is slowly moving on but the rain and wind should stick around until the end of the month.  I guess that’s the trade off of living on a beautiful island, sometimes you have to withstand the storm to really appreciate the beauty of the island when it has passed.

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