Thoughts regarding recent news about Guam

As of late, Guam has been ALL over the news. I was at work and received a text from a friend saying she read about Guam on CNN and if my family is OK. A few minutes later, a co-worker walks over and asks me the same thing. I was at dinner, and the tv was on, and the newscaster brought up Guam yet again. Just this evening as I launched Safari, Yahoo news showed: Trump congratulates Calvo because tourism will double through all this media attention. So, yes, Guam has been receiving an abundance of attention.

(This picture, quite possibly, could be a serious misrepresentation. What if they were just moving? To caption it that is just crazy.)From my brother in Guam

But, in reality, life goes on in that little island. My mom will continue rearranging her plants in front of the house, my brothers will continue to go to work everyday, and the kids will resume school after summer break.

There’s really no point in panicking. What can panicking do for you? Also, as far as evacuating…where would they run to? Its a small island.

Sometimes, the media portrays things in extremes. And, sometimes its all a gimmick.

To my fam and friends in Guam…I love you and I know this too will pass.

 

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?

Guam Food List

My blog lives…

Sorry I’ve been missing these past few weeks… Juggling things in your life is a real talent. Also, I’ve been running dry on ideas for my blog. But, alas, I was reminded by a girlfriend of mine a list I had made of restaurants I wanted her to try on her last visit to Guam…and I thought…”why don’t I do a blog post on that?” So here it is…

My dear friend Krystal visited Guam in 2008. Before her journey, I recommended a few of my favorite places that would leave an indelible mark. Those places were, and still are, my top picks.

Jamaican Grill. They are known for their Jerk BBQ Chicken and Ribs. Ya Mon, It is some serious food. When you eat BBQ…you always need your rice and they have Jamaican Rice and Red Rice. I come from a family of 7, so we always get their family platters and order 1/2 Jamaican Rice and 1/2 Red Rice. You gotta do both…they are equally as good. For lunch or a quick bite, I always go for their Jerk Burger with curry mayo and fries. A must try!

Shirley’s. A staple on the island. Plus, one of her son’s was my next door neighbor…they were awesome! Shirley’s is famous for her fried rice. So, I always order that with my 1/2 chicken. You will find an array of items to order on their menu and the portions are huge.

Joinus Keyaki-Teppanyaki. The restaurant has had some remodeling done but the food is just as good as I remembered. There has been a price increase, but that is normal for businesses to stay afloat. With that being said, I recommend coming here during lunch for the prices are still reasonable and you get to do some shopping after. Ask for garlic chips with your angus beef and get some syrup (sugar water) for your iced tea and enjoy the teppan show.

Capriciossa. Pasta for days! Gotta try their Seafood Spaghetti (I believe its the s-9…) and their Black Ink Squid Spaghetti. The portions are huge, so you can definitely share among friends and family.

Chamorro Village. Every Wednesday night there is a Night Market. There are food vendors, clothing vendors, souvenir vendors, and more. It gets really crowded and busy, so for some they prefer to go on other days during normal business hours. You can ride the trolley or drive to Chamorro Village. If you do go, get a fiesta plate. Usually this will be red rice, BBQ meat (chicken, beef ribs, pork ribs, etc.,) chicken kelaguen, and potato salad. Also, get shrimp patties, takoyaki, and pickled papaya or mango. My mouth is salivating as I type…

McKraut’s. I reminisce when this place used to be a small shack in Malojloj with a slogan “Not Healthy but Tasty.” How it has grown! It is now a full-fledged restaurant and bar. This place is legendary for their brats from when they were a small shack, but now their menu has expanded.  I ordered Jägerschnitzel on my last visit, which was breaded pork served with mashed potatoes and red cabbage vegetables. It was good. The only downside to this place is the slow service. But what can you expect? It is, after all, island time.

My new favorites on island:

Pika’s Café. Open only for breakfast and lunch or brunch. However, come early because the place has a tendency to fill up quickly. Tinaktak Burger, Loco Moco, Korean BBQ on Rice…are items you can NEVER go wrong with. It kept me coming back for more. I didn’t appreciate their penne pasta…but that’s why I go to Capri for pasta.

Niji at the Hyatt. A place to visit for all you can eat tempura and green tea tiramisu. Need I say more?

I hope I made some helpful suggestions and, if you are visiting, enjoy your time in Guam!

Guam to California. Lesson #1: Freeways

I decided to have a special feature on the blog every first Thursday of the month. This feature will be called Guam to California. I will be sharing personal experiences and lessons I’ve learned since leaving the rock (Guam.)

This month’s lesson is about freeways.

Prior to moving to California, I drove on two major roads from age 16-24. Those two roads were Marine Drive and Route 16. I always thought that the speed limit was 55mph but discovered recently that it was only 45mph. Oops! That is the fastest speed on island, legally. Majority of the roads on island have speed limits of 35mph or 15mph in residential areas.

So, when I moved to California I was excited to drive at the normal rate I was already going…(65mph +) and to be able to do that without feeling guilty.

The confusing part was finding out if I was going North, South, East, or West.

For two years, I was dependent on my GPS because of that. I only stopped using my GPS because it got stolen…but looking back, i’m kinda glad that happened because I was then forced to learn the roads and remember them.

I have a few funny stories about driving here in California. One day, I was heading to a meeting, and called my uncle because it was my very first time driving without him or anyone else, I wasn’t sure if I had to take 5 north or 5 south. He wasn’t answering and the exits were coming up quickly and so I just decided, on a whim, to take 5 south. So as I was exiting, he called back and he told me 5 north. So fortunately for me, I was still on the on-ramp, and I just continued on to the off-ramp and took the northbound freeway.  I made a complete circle. I felt like an idiot after that. Lol.

Another evening, I was driving back home and one of my girlfriends called me, to make sure I made it home safely. But, because I was still on the road, my GPS was giving me directions to exit and she heard the GPS speaking…she started laughing because I have been living in that studio for almost a year but still needed a GPS to give me directions to get home. Yup, that was me!

Another thing about freeways, are CARPOOL or HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes! They are amazing! Some carpool lanes require only two passengers, others a minimum of three. Carpool lanes are meant to encourage people to carpool so that there are less cars on the freeway and/or to buy/lease a low or zero emission vehicle. According to ca.gov:  “As of April 8, 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued the 63,255 Green Clean Air Vehicle decals. The maximum number of decals available is 70,000.” 

I say carpool lanes are amazing because you get by through traffic much quicker than the other lanes on most days. However, most carpool lanes are in effect only during certain hours, so before or after those hours, anyone can use those lanes.

So, as you can see…I’ve garnered more roads, highways, and mileage (and some tickets..ahem!) under my belt compared to when I was 24. And because of that, I feel that driving on Guam is WAY too EASY.

Hope you got a kick out of reading about my experiences on freeways. Happy and Safe Driving!

My Reasons for You to Visit Guam

Yay! I finally got my charger back and now I’m ready to type away…

So, naturally a portion of my heart will always love Guam. It’s where I was born, it was where I was raised, and majority of my family and friends still live there. That is reason enough for me to keep coming back. However, for those who don’t have family nor friends there, this is why you should visit Guam:

  • Gateway to Asian countries or the United States..depending where you come from. Guam is 3 hours away from the Philippines and Japan. There are direct flights daily with various air carriers. Guam also has a direct flight to Honolulu, Hawaii. Although, Guam is a U.S. territory, it is safer for U.S. citizens to travel with their passports instead of their Driver’s License because some of the connecting flights to Guam are from International countries. For non U.S. citizens, you may need a Visa to enter Guam, depending on your country of origin.
  • Shopping. Guam offers an array of affordable fashion and high-end boutiques ranging from Calvin Klein, Nine West, Coach, Kate Spade, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors to Louis Vuitton, GUCCI, Prada, CÈLINE, CHANEL, and Hermès. Not only is the selection optimal, but I also discovered that prices are lower in Guam than it is stateside. For example, the LV Favorite MM is listed online in the U.S. as $985.00. It is sold in Guam for $900. Also, the popular bags, such as the Speedy and Neverfull, are made in France or Spain, whereas stateside these bags are made in the U.S. itself.
  • People. Guam is a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures. Many Filipinos have migrated to Guam from the early 60’s to the 70’s and made Guam home. I am a  product of a Fil-Guamanian home. My parents are not indigenous to Guam, and therefore, I don’t call myself a Chamorro, but I am definitely Guamanian. There are also a handful of Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Micronesians, and Middle Easterners that have made Guam home. Because there are many ethnicities on island, you will find that local people are friendly and welcoming. With that being said, don’t try to claim the island as yours or give someone the staredown, because you’ll be creating enemies instead of friends.
  • Lifestyle. Every island I’ve ever been to, has a much laidback approach. Guam is no exception. Everything runs on island time. And that could be a good thing or a bad thing. However, the hustle and bustle of city life does get old and sometimes you just need to slow things down a bit…and Guam is all too familiar with that. Also, Guamanians and Chamorros are not big on brands and fancy clothes (ironic considering we have a huge selection of high-end stores.)  You can walk into any store with flip-flops, t-shirt and jeans and be treated the same, or even better, than the average tourist.
  • Food. Now because the island is a melting pot of different cultures, you will also find a variety of different restaurants and dishes. Many places have been influenced by the local market. For instance, Jamaican Grill, which from the name of it denotes that it serves Jamaican food, however, you will find local favorites like red rice and chicken kelaguen. The McDonald’s on island serves portuguese sausage and rice. And, you will discover many other restaurants that offer local favorites with outside influences.
  • Beaches. White sandy beaches for miles, which is all public property. Guam boasts a number of different beaches all around the island that offers a variety of sea life and sand life. You will also find lots of beach space ALL to YOURSELF.
  • Tax Free. Although in line with shopping, this is a reason in itself. No sales tax! I love going to Wendy’s and paying only $.99 for a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger or shopping at Ross and finding an awesome dress for $19.99 and paying the actual sticker price with no tax added…Love it!
  • Warm Weather. Winters give me cold feet..literally and figuratively. I dream of defrosting in a white sandy beach, with a moscow mule in my hand, and the sun setting before me. This works if you have warm weather around you… and you’ll find plenty of that in Guam. Typically weather ranges between low 80’s but expect humidity. That is island life..

So, I hope I have convinced you enough to go and take that plunge and visit the beautiful island of Guam! If you do, don’t forget to make some friends along the way…and tell them that IslanderinHeels sent you there.