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    Oceania Travel

    Guam – Where America’s Day Begins

    A tiny spot in the Pacific Ocean

    Location: Guam

    A tiny spot in the Pacific – Where America’s Day Begins.

    There are no American tourists here.  There are Americans – a lot of them.  Air Force, Navy and Civilians.  But we have seen no American tourists.  Curious that.

    colorful flower

    Tropical Flower Guam

    Don’t misunderstand – there are a lot of tourists, all Japanese or Korean.  It takes about 3 and half hours to fly here from Tokyo and about four and half from Seoul.  But to fly here from Seattle you need to either go to Tokyo first, or Manila and it’s going to take about 16 or 17 hours or more.

    Well that explains a lot.

    tropical beach

    Beautiful Guam Beaches

    But we are here. Just shy of the international dateline – Guam is where America’s day begins.   On this tiny tropical island (13.5 degrees N) I feel like I’m in Hawaii, but without the bling.  Sure there are hotels, geared to the Asian tourists with some nice beaches and LOTS of shopping and even Vegas style shows at the resorts. But most of Guam is more of a low-budget bar and nightclub scene, geared to the military.  And massage parlors – where maybe you can get a massage but probably a lot more.

    guam beaches

    Interesting rock formations

    But look past these things and you find a remarkably beautiful place, with a fascinating history.  The beaches we have gone to are mostly deserted.  Stunning white sand, sparkling turquoise water and not a soul in sight.

    Mount Lam Lam

    On top of Lam Lam mountain

    We’ve walked through a nature reserve with thousands of butterflies, giant spiders and teeny lizards.  We visited caves where ancient people lived and left cave drawings.

    We climbed Guam’s highest peak Mount Lam Lam where local Catholics (75% of the population) make a pilgrimage each Easter.

    We hiked along an ancient and sharp volcanic flow to a beautiful beach called Sharks Cove.  No sharks but some of the prettiest blue water I have ever seen.

    We took a drive to the south end of the island and up the cliff lined east side and enjoyed amazing views of the never-ending Pacific.

    Guam Sunset

    On of several beautiful sunsets

    We saw some of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed from our west-facing condo in the town of Tamuning.  As the sun sets on this island the US Mainland is nearly a full day behind.  It’s prompted the local slogan ‘Guam: Where America’s Day Begins’.

    Two Lovers Point Guam

    The view from Two Lovers Point

    We visited Two Lovers Point, where the local “Romeo and Juliet” style legend of two lovers jumping to their death has created one of the islands busiest tourist spots. The Japanese love this kind of stuff and they swarm to it.

    We learned about the ancient Chamorro people, their tribal caste system that goes back 4000 years.  We learned that Magellan came here in the 15th century followed by the Spanish who occupied until the United States took control after the Spanish-American War in 1898.

    Sharks Cove Guam

    The deserted beach at Sharks Cove

    Japanese gun

    Japanese gun from WWII

    On December 7th 1941, just hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor the Japanese took control of Guam.  For nearly three years the native people were held in concentration camps, tortured, raped and beheaded before US troops recaptured Guam on July 21st 1944 – celebrated every year as Independence Day.

    Today Guam is an independent territory of the United States.  Residents are US Citizens but they do not have a vote.  Tourism and military are the base of the island’s economy, both which are thriving. It feels American – most of the time.  Lots of familiar businesses, and yet, it doesn’t quit feel like the USA.

    MahiMahi in a Miso mushroom gravy

    We found a delicious and eclectic food scene on Guam and we ate some amazing food.  Chamorro comfort food is rich and hearty and similar at times to Hawaiian

    Inarajan Pools south island

    food with lots of fish, rice and fruit as well as mashed potatoes and gravy and shrimp and octopus.  We enjoyed Mahi-Mahi, bulgogi beef, ahi poke, pork skewers, tacos, Ramen, German food and takoyaki (octopus fritters).  A varied and scrumptious blend of all the influences this tiny (30 miles by 12 miles) island has seen.

    And we enjoyed spending time with family.  Our reason for coming to Guam on the Grand Adventure to visit my niece and her husband.  They have been on the island for a year.  They have learned to like it despite the fact it is expensive and there are some  quirks (no Target, my niece complains).  Spending time with them was a joy, especially as we watch them prepare for their first baby.

    In Guam

    Davy and Rebekah

    So that was the real highlight of our time here.  Everything else was fluff.  Getting a family fix helps me focus on the coming ten weeks.  Ten weeks until we return to

    Chomarro Market Guam

    With my niece Bekah

    the Pacific Northwest for a two month visit.  But meanwhile we have some more adventures ahead – starting with a month in Australia.

    So stay tuned – the grand adventure continues.

    Signing off for now from Guam – Where America’s Day Begins.

    Fabulous.

     

     

    Asia Travel

    Farewell to the Maldives

    Our Full Time Travel Life Continues

    Three weeks went by really fast – surprisingly fast for as quiet as it is here.  We really practically had nothing to do, in our little piece of Maldive paradise…but we found ourselves relishing the peace – just our cup of tea in a life of full time retired travel.

    Morning coffee

    Three weeks in one place was great.  Even better, three weeks on an island that is only a mile and a half circumference, with no cars, restaurants or nightlife.  Hardly any shops.  What we did find on the island of Huraa was a quiet, religious and extremely friendly community, a great place to work-out everyday, a comfortable resort with good food and relaxing atmosphere, and a beach.

    Perfect.

    <imgalt="snorkling">

    Snorkling in the azure sea

    Our day consisted of getting up before nearly all the other guests, doing yoga and cardio on the beach for an hour and then walking or running two or three times around the island (twice = 3 miles, thrice = 4.5).  Next we had breakfast, then usually went to the beach sometimes til lunch others times skipping lunch and staying all day. This workout routine is a high priority for us in our life of full time retired travel.

    <imgalt=r"omanticbeachdinner">

    Romantic Beach Dinner

    A couple of times we went on snorkel excursions to smaller islands in the atoll.  Afternoons we played scrabble, read (a total of four books in three weeks), and spent hours and hours doing technical work to the blog. I spent one entire day in the hammock working on the blog. It is up-to-date and in good shape!

    Since there is no alcohol on this Muslim island we often splurged on an ice cream bar in the afternoon instead.   A little treat on a hot tropical island.

    Most days included a walk to the point to watch the sunset followed by dinner at 7:00 each night in the outdoor restaurant. The rest of the evening spent relaxing and reading.  What a life huh?

    We have loved our time here.  We feel healthy and rejuvenated and ready for what’s next.

    <imgalt="maldivesunset">

    Sunset on Huraa

    So what is next? Two days in Singapore, followed by a week visiting my niece and her husband in Guam.  Then a month in Australia, before meeting our friends John and Carole for three weeks in Bali.

    The days ahead will fly by, and April 22nd will be here before we know it.  That’s the day we sail from Sydney on a 23 day cruise back to the USA for a ten week visit.  We arrive Seattle May 14th and depart again August 7th as we plan to continue this life of full time retired travel.

    <imgalt="beach yoga">

    Morning yoga on the beach

    So thanks for continuing to follow.  Our time in the Maldives has given me the opportunity to do some more major work to the blog and I am really excited about moving forward with new opportunities to share our adventure through the blog –  I hope you are too.

    Please share our message with your friends!  Please sign up to receive the blog via email (much more reliable than through the crazy Facebook algorithm). The adventure continues! Singapore here we come!

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