Saturday, 9 February 2013

Let's Guam!

Before I came to Japan, I barely knew Guam existed. In the textbooks I noticed references to it, and students had sometimes mentioned it. In my mind I thought it was a poor man's Hawaii.

Winter was getting me down and it's always a great idea to get out of Japan to keep one's sanity.

I wanted to go to a beach. Anywhere as long as it was somewhere to get away from it all, and preferably hot enough to swim. I found some really cheap airfares to Okinawa, but from everything I read at this time of the year it would still be too cold.

Hawaii was an option. I almost booked it. I was also keen to get rid of my American dollars at the same time! She couldn't really afford to go there, but she found a very reasonable package "tour". Three nights for 46,000 yen!

There had to be a catch right? The plane left late in the evening from Narita, so we'd be arriving there very early in the morning. We flew with EVA Air on a not so long three hour or so flight. Not the most prestigious airline, but not much to complain about. Maybe they needed to update their printed napkins. They had a picture of Christmas mistletoe next to their name!

We stayed at the Pacific Bay Hotel. It's no five star hotel. There was a slight smell of damp. Having said that though, the room was clean, the staff polite, and they do have a free Internet access in the lobby which is always nice.

Before I left I wanted to buy a mask or goggles. I hunted around all over Tokyo for a reasonable pair. Since it was out of season, it wasn't going to be easy. After a huge runaround I found a mask and goggles for 500 yen at Donki! Sweet.

I'm glad I got it, the water was crystal clear and close to where I took the above photo, there were plenty of fish to swim with. Be warned though. Seemingly curious Picasso triggerfish do protect their territory in breeding season and they DO bite. She got nipped a few times. I swear I could hear the Jaws theme a few times.

So what else is there to do in Guam? Shopping! Included in our tour package was a free bus that took us around to all the shopping malls. Apparently Guam is home to the biggest K-mart in the world. Most of my purchases consisted of lots of ravioli, some Sara Lee cheesecake and.. a Lego tie fighter!

 Guam is strongly marketed to the Japanese. The majority of the tourists were easily Japanese (about 80%). It seems like they outnumbered the locals! There are numerous wedding chapels along the beach where it wasn't unusual to see a Japanese wedding.

We left VERY early Tuesday morning. Unfortunately later that day this happened.

Guam feels like a safe, enjoyable place to visit. I had a great time and it was a wonderful timeout from the loud hustle and bustle of Tokyo. The locals were very friendly so I could see myself coming back here again.