Remembering 9/11/2001

On that horrid day, I drove my dad’s truck to work, which was at the Guam ITC building. It was right before 12midnight. I had the radio on… and all of a sudden there was a special announcement: One of the Twin Towers in NYC was hit!  I got to the office and they had the t.v. blaring and everyone’s eyes were glued to it.  The first building was on fire and people were jumping out, and later we saw another plane crash into the second building. We couldn’t believe what we saw!

Back then, I was working as a transfer guide for Japan Travel Bureau. I was assigned for arrivals that evening/early morning. As part of the arrival crew, we were responsible for greeting the visitors and taking them to their respective hotels. However, as we got to the airport, we learned that all flights were cancelled worldwide…and weren’t sure when flights will resume. That meant, we had no job for the evening/day.

We headed back to the ITC building and clocked out. It must’ve been 2am by then. A few co-workers and I grabbed a bite to eat at the King’s restaurant in Tamuning. We were discussing the events that just took place and what we were to do. In the corner of the restaurant, we saw the Lt. Governor (back then it was Madeleine Bordallo) and a few other men in a serious conversation. Apparently, during that time, the actual Governor was off-island and she was in command. She had some heavy responsibilities.

After our breakfast and conversation, my co-workers and I parted ways and went home.

I remembered my older brother called from California and he was highly distressed. A plane was also supposed to hit San Francisco, CA. He had only been gone for nine months, but already wanted to come home. My mom and dad didn’t discourage him from doing so…and he came back to Guam. He never left again…

Where were you then and what was it like?

Pocket Wifi

Pocket Wifi has got to be one of those things that you would consider a life-saver.

Previously, I did a blog post on apps that require data and how you could use those apps without being afraid of coming home to a ridiculously expensive cell phone bill.

Interestingly, a country that is known for its cutting-edge technology, wasn’t so wifi friendly. Especially when it came to free wifi at places of businesses. We rented a pocket wifi device at the airport, and this helped us traverse through unknown territory.

A few things you need to remember when renting a pocket wifi:

  • Have a credit card. Although, your debit card has a Visa logo, it doesn’t work as a credit card. The company we rented our pocket wifi’s from required this.
  • There is a mobile wifi router rental agreement that you have to sign, so plan to take a few minutes at the rental booth. We had to run to our train station because we didn’t realize how long the process would be. I would at least plan for 30 minutes – 1 hour. Especially when traveling with a group.
  • Keep your passport handy for they will need it to identify you.
  • Don’t lose anything. They give you a small bag that will house the charger and the pocket wifi.
  • Don’t forget to return at the same kiosk (we rented ours in the arrival terminal of the airport.) My brothers remembered to return their’s since they took the train back to the airport the same way we arrived, however, my husband and I decided to take the limousine bus back to the airport which drops you off directly at the departure terminal. Because of that, we completely forgot to return our pocket wifi until we were near our gate, and had to mail it back. They charge a fee to your card, for not returning it on the date you said you would, but upon receiving the pocket wifi they refunded the fee.

A few things to remember when using the pocket wifi:

  • Don’t upload videos using the pocket wifi because you will drain, not only the battery, but also the ability to keep your speed connection at 4G. I made this mistake and had to deal with 3G for the entire trip..which isn’t so bad, but when you’ve gotten so used to 4G…there’s no going back.
  • If you have a long day planned, keep the charger with you and have a standby battery pack. Unfortunately, with constant use, it goes for eight hours but very hardly anything longer than that. We almost didn’t have a way to find our way back to our hotel at 11:30pm. Thank goodness for taxi cabs.

I hope our experiences with the pocket wifi will help you on your next journey. Happy Travels!

How to Make the Most of a Long Layover

Over the past eight years since I’ve left Guam, I have gotten used to layovers in Honolulu, Narita, and now Seoul. I have found that if you do research on the airport ahead of time, you will be able to enjoy the 6 or so hours you have to spend there. The ticket I purchased this time around had a layover in Incheon International Airport (ICN) for 6 hours. I had been in this airport before, however, only had very minimal time to kill. This time around, I had double that time. What to do within those hours? Hmm…

  • Take a shower. I discovered online that the ICN had a shower and massage area. Shower was free for transit passengers with proof of a boarding pass and passport. Upon presenting the staff these items, they then hand you a teeny tiny towel, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and toothbrush. You then have your own private bathroom for, preferably 30 minutes only (however, I stayed longer and they didn’t kick me out..)
  • Take a nap. The ICN had specific areas all around the 2nd floor for resting and relaxation. Chaises are scattered throughout the airport for you to rest in comfortably until your next scheduled boarding time.
  • Eat. Many people find airplane food to be bland and unappealing, however, airport food is a different story. You can find a plethora of places to eat at airports. I always go for what’s local. Why eat American Food while in Korea? So, of course I went for Korean food.
  • Buy local goodies. Although, you might pay slightly more for a product inside the airport than outside, I still say buy something different and unique to each prospective country in which you become a transit passenger. This can be anything as simple as a snack or a hair accessory.
  • Explore the airport. At some major airports, there are cultural displays, museums, and other ancient artifacts to purposefully make passengers “OH” and “Ahh” to. So why not go and explore those?
  • People Watch. You know you hate to admit you do that..but its a natural tendency. I especially love to do it when I’m not in my own country or city. I love seeing people’s diversity, fashion, and reactions.

By the time you have done at least 3 of these things…your flight will be boarding.  Happy Travels! 🙂