Guam

♫♪A Mid-Winter's Siesta in Guam ♪♫

4:07 AM

Near Rinku Town next to Kansai Int'l Airport
Now I know what a real siesta is, but let me explain to why I call this trip to Guam a siesta rather than, say, a vacation. It was just soooo short..! I think we were only on the island of Guam for maybe 48 hours, the other 10 hours being spent in planes or airports, making for a grand total of maybe 60 hours.

Man, I don't know if I can handle these hardcore Japanese vacations, let alone a schedule in my vacation (that's just blasphemous!)

It was all over in a big blur of events and shopping (CINNABON!) and in the end, it had just felt like I had taken a nap from the busy life of work in Osaka. But a quick siesta-vacation is better than none at all. Said every person ever.

It all started over yakiniku out in Nara Prefecture with one of my mother-in-law's friends Mrs. Masuda. Mrs. Masuda probably hadn't had a vacation in forever, but on top of that, she was really interested in visiting more English speaking places. But with the two of them at barely passable shopping-English level, they recruited me to be something of a tour guide for them. Before we had finished all our meats, we had decided on Guam, sometime during the Winter. Warm weather, pretty oceans and outlet shopping, a truly dangerous combination.

The original plan was for me to find some cheap flights and hotels online, but we were looking to stay on a rather tight budget (Mrs. Masuda was saving for a LV bag), so ended up going to H.I.S. Travel. The packages included airfare, hotel, transportation to and from the airport, and a bus pass, all for 32,800 yen (at the current exchange rate 351 USD). I was a bit reluctant because the hotel choices were kind of limited, but that is a really hard deal to beat.

The view from our hotel balcony.

And so here we were, in Tumon Bay, Guam at the Bayview Hotel on a rather drizzly, but warm, Sunday morning. This was actually my first trip to an island in the Pacific, and I think if it hadn't been for the rainy weather, Guam could've met all my expectations of 'tropical island paradise.' But alas, the fates, timing and seasons, were not our side and it was raining the entire trip. That certainly didn't slow down my travel-mates, who were up early at six on a Sunday morning, ready to explore and make dinner reservations. I managed to sleep in until 8 only because nothing was open for them to be exploring in. Thank the gods.

An Alien sculpture in Micronesia Mall.

As everyone that I spoke to before I left told me, basically everyone on Guam speaks some level of Japanese. Almost to the point where I felt like an unnecessary add-on. Guam is what I imagine a Japanese-developed theme park based on America located in the tropics would look like. For people who want to feel like they're in America, but without having to really leave their comfort zones. The Tumon Bay area is all shimmery, high fashion outlet shops and high-rise hotels. The bus signs are in English and Japanese (with Japanese being in the bigger font) and even small shops like convenience stores and gun shops come with bilingual staffers and signs. It's kind of cool and scary at the same time. Scary maybe because I was expecting more America, and was definitely experiencing more Japan.

In the end however, English prevailed when it came to making reservations on the phone (I get that, understanding Japanese on the phone is HARD) and clearing up issues with said reservations.

Before taking shelter in the local outlet malls, we went to check out Two Lover's Point. I didn't bother to read the story of the two lovers (I was too busy trying to keep my umbrella from being ripped from my hands by the wind) but I'm sure it's something tragic and/or bittersweet. :)

It did have a great view of the bay that I regretted not being able to see entirely. When I go back (because I will), I'll definitely return for what surely must be a stunning view.

I believe I shared this photo on my tumblr while I was still in Guam. I love the deep, almost cerulean blue of this water. The stuff dreams are made of..!!

Unfortunately, by the time we finished with the snapping of the photos and such, the weather was on borderline typhoon. So we made a run for it, in a taxi, for the nearest mall. Our first stop was the Guam Premier Outlets. It's pretty far from the main Tumon Bay area and while there are buses that make their rounds to it, it takes a big chunk out of your time (you only get 48 hours..!).

It didn't have any stores of any real importance (unless you still really dig Skechers. Not gonna lie, I had a pair) but the ROSS was packed like crazy. I guess everyone loves a good bargain, even if it takes hours to find. They did have these NICE Betsey Johnson bags that I sort of regret not getting.. but at the same I have way too many bags.

The next stop was Micronesia Mall. This place definitely has the hallmarks of a mall from the late 90s/early 2000s. It just looked dated. The store selection was a bit better (they had a Macy's), and it was a lot cleaner than Premier but still pretty far from the main Tumon Bay area. This mall felt more like a local mall than a tourist one, but all the clerks still spoke Japanese. Sasuga natives of Guam. :)

The last shop we went to was DFS Galleria Guam, which deals exclusively in luxury brands. If you're looking for your Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Coach, it's here and it's all gorgeous. Super clean and absolutely trendy, it's actually still under construction (the white wall to the left of the photo above), but I can only imagine more gorgeousness and gorgeousity when it's complete. This outlet is also right on the Tumon Bay "strip" so it's very easy to get to AND it's open until like 11pm. Dat shit cray.

After the shopping marathon, we stopped back at the hotel for a quick rest and to get ready for dinner. We were getting ready for what we thought would be a crazy awesome seafood (and others) buffet. BUUUUUT...

Okay, well, there is seafood on the photo, but it wasn't the buffet we made reservations OR paid for. For some reason, the agents working at the H.I.S. office, though they clearly heard Polynesian Dinner Show at Fish Eye Marine Park, and charged us for that one, put us on the list for the Onward Polynesian Dinner Show. Now these lists determine which bus you get on to go to the dinner show, so it wasn't until we were at the Onward hotel and I asked one of the staff how much the buffet was that I understood we were in the wrong place..! Not only was this buffet cheaper (and lacking the awesome selection of seafood), it was also eerily similar to your average Japanese yakiniku restaurant. Delicious, but boring (for me at least. Why come to Guam for things I can do in Japan??? Why don't Japanese people share this sentiment with me!? lol).

After about 30 minutes of phone calling (on one of the staffer's cellphones no less. He was really a sweetie though and had a Bleach background on his phone :> ), being put on hold, hung up on, calling back and starting the whole exhausting process over, we got through to a Japanese agent. It was at this point that I allowed my mother-in-law to do that angry/I'm-so-disappointed-in-your-service voice that she does SO, so, so well. In the end, it turned out that we wouldn't be able to make it to the other dinner show in time, so they gave us a reservation for the next day and let us stay at Onward for free.

And so, probably exhausted and frustrated from her ordeal on the phone, my mother-in-law drank close to 7 or 8 beers and we all enjoyed copious amount of meat, veggies and shrimp.

With my mother-in-law tired and probably more-so drunk, we escorted her back to the hotel, then Mrs. Masuda and I headed back to DFS to pick up her brand new LV bag.

←Check me out posing with OPLV (other people's LV). NO shame my friends, no shame. :)










The beach at the marine park.
The following day started early as well with reservations at one of the many marine activity parks. A morning wouldn't be complete without some sort of complication though, so when we arrived at the counter to pay our activity fee, it turned out that they had given away our Sea Walker passes (it's an activity that lets you walk on the sea floor in this huuuge helmet! it looked so cool :< ) because we didn't pay when we made our reservations on the phone. I told the woman that who ever took our reservation failed to mention that part, and she kind of just gave the kanyeshrug and asked if we wanted to replace that activity with anything else.

I'm the type of person that, when I make plans to do something, and it suddenly becomes undo-able because someone is not doing their job, gets pissed. And so I pouted and sulked as we made our way to the buses to take us on a dolphin watching boat ride. All the guides were really sweet and funny though, so I couldn't stay mad too long..! :)

I would love a little house along here :)
It was another gray day, but it felt better once we got on the boat. The way the trip was supposed to work was: while on our way out to the find the dolphins, the customers who paid for the banana boat ride would ride a banana boat tied to the back of the boat. Well, that idea worked well until we hit a huge wave that almost capsized our little banana boat. We only lost two girls though, so we rounded back and I (alone, not one else seemed willing..??) pulled them back on the banana boat. After that, the staff pulled us back in because they said the waves were getting too dangerous.

I'm no sailor, but these seas look a bit choppy *serious sailor face*

And then one of our engines broke. Of course no one actually knew except for myself and a few others that understood panicked English.

And then my period started. I could've sworn that the day couldn't get much worse, but some god must've been out to prove me wrong. So there we sat, almost out to sea, with one engine, slowly trudging out way back the to docks. It took almost one hour.

But I didn't want to ruin my mother-in-law and Mrs. Masuda's trip with my girlie problems, so I put on my big-girl boots and a tampon and went back out there..! We did one more banana boat ride (which was actually a lot of fun..! I highly recommend it!!), and then had a little lunch. The brochure for the park said lunch buffet, but they only had rice, curry, noddles, and some salad. And water. I wouldn't call that a buffet, but free food is still free.

Later on, we tried to try a little snorkeling but a.) we had to kayak out to the snorkeling point, but that is not a good idea when you're the only young, healthy body D: and b.) the waves out by the snorkeling point were so high that you couldn't snorkel. You could barely touch the ocean floor when you weren't being tossed around by the waves. Eventually the staffers called off the whole snorkeling thing because of the waves and we were towed, in our kayak by a jet ski, to the shore.

We received a $5 coupon for our troubles and since, you know, being able to do one out of three activities ain't bad..! Except that it absolutely is, and I would never recommend that marine park to anyone.


That evening, we finally made it to the Fish Eye Marine Park dinner show, and we were able to celebrate a delicious end to a way too eventful trip. Eventful doesn't mean it wasn't fun, it was probably just more tiring than a siesta-vacation should be. My fancy drink was delicious though!!

The food was great too! They had paella, Spanish omelettes, chamarro, king crabs, dinner rolls and even some sushi..! I just stuffed myself with the chamorro because it was sooo good..! I wanted to take it back with me to Japan. :<  It also made me sad that I wasn't able to try more food native to Guam.

 After dinner, which only ran until a certain time, the show began. I tried to take photos of the girls, but seeing as they weren't holding a huge light-source near their faces while dancing, everything came out too blurry. The show was quite nice though, and I enjoyed getting up to dance with the girls. A+ for crowd participation.

While I was watching and snapping photos, I kept getting tapped on the shoulder by this guy. He's the host of the show, and I think he was just glad to have another person that he could speak with easily. ALSO, he looks a lot like my pop-pop (who passed when I was 11 or so), so it was really ...nice. I don't know, I probably can't explain it well without sounding a bit creepy, so I'll just leave it at that. :)

We were back to the hotel by 10pm or so, and the bus to take us back to the airport was at the hotel by 1:30am. It was short but sweet (most of the time), so I'm glad my mother-in-law and Mrs. Masuda invited me..! We'll be planning out next trip, though I'm not sure to where, and while that is nice, I'd like to try Guam again. Perhaps with a few colleagues of mine own. Colleagues whose idea of a vacation is lounging on the beach and drinking at the local bar perhaps? Lol I just want a real American vacation in the Pacific. :P

This post ended up a LOT longer than I intended. Sorry for all the wordiness. :< I've still got some photos from Nagashima and then photos from the summer trip to Biwa to share, so once I've edited those up, I'll post them as well.

Hope you guys are enjoying your February..! I'm totally ready to ignore this Japanese Valentine's Day that's about to explode chocolate and handmade goodies all over the place Lol

★Peaces★

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