We took off from Denver and flew straight west over the Rockies. Not sure I've ever done that before.
Shot of the Bay of Alaska, through a tinted plane window. I tried to figure out which mountains those were on the left and right based on the map on the plane, which was not very detailed. Perhaps that's Mount Fairweather on the left?
One rarely sees other planes in the sky, so this was an interesting sight. My Alaskan friends could probably tell me whether it was more likely heading for Fairbanks or Anchorage.
We arrived very late Sunday evening. Late enough to not see any water as we flew in.
Monday was beautiful, and one of the only days without rain. We, of course, hung out on the beach and drove around about half the island. It is not large. Population is about 165,000, and 60% of that is military. We visited the War in the Pacific Museum and I paid $9 for a small tube of sunscreen.
View from my balcony at the Westin.
There are many war memorials and parks on Guam. It was the location of a major battle for control of the Pacific during WWII, and Guam remains the U.S.'s major military presence in the Pacific. Above is a photograph of a beach during the war. Below is the same area today.
I would love to say Guam was paradise, but there were a couple things I did not like about it. It was extremely humid. So much so that doors were literally dripping with water. Also, we were there during the rainy season, so we didn't see the sun much. However, it certainly was still beautiful.
This is an area called Two Lovers Point. Of course the story has something to do with two lovers jumping off the cliffs to their deaths together.
People now buy all these wooden hearts, write messages on them, and lock them to whatever they can. Usually fences...
but even trees.
My first dinner in Guam, at a place called Terry's Comfort Food, which was recommended by a local. Some kind of chicken in spinach, and with red rice, which is a staple in Guam.
Our first night there was the only night we saw a bit of a sunset. All the other evenings it was either pouring, or threatening to.
We did get to spend a little time on the beach Tuesday evening, and then went to a restaurant called Fisherman's Cove at the Hilton for dinner, where I had a delicious salmon, with stingy amounts of kalamata olives and grape tomatoes.
Every Wednesday night, at a place called Chomorro Village, vendors market their wares and there's lots of delicious food. We heard there was also native dancing, but we were unable to find it. We tired of the tourist trinkets sold at most of the stalls, but we did find some amazing food.
I wanted to try the stuffed squid, but at $12 apiece, I didn't spend that on something I wasn't sure I'd like.
I got the spicy sausage instead, and it was my 2nd favorite meal on the island. Delicious!
Here I am with Paul Lockhart, Astronaut Extraordinaire, a co-worker, and boss.
This is a photo of my favorite meal on the island, eaten at a restaurant called Proa.
Taro cheesecake for dessert!
At the Pacific War Museum this wall caught my eye. This is the list of 1,548 Marines, 226 Army soldiers, 55 Navy corpsmen, and 55 sailors killed in action on Guam after only 20 days of fighting, liberating Guam on July 21 through August 10, 1944.
We were so fortunate Sunday to wake to no rain, which meant a couple hours of paddle-boarding on my birthday before setting out to drive around more of the island we'd missed the Monday before.
We came across this amazing bay that was completely protected from the pounding waves just outside the rocky boarder. Locals were swimming and jumping into the water from what looked like an old lifeguard station. There were ruined walls and steps up the side. If they fixed this place up, it would be even more amazing.
A random statue.
Unfortunately for us, we didn't realize this place closed at 5:00, or we would have hurried to see it. Below is a diagram of the cave that a Japanese man named Yokoi lived in for 27 years while avoiding capture.
Read a little about it here.
On Monday evening we were honored with a private tour of a B1 bomber, given by it's pilots, WSOs, and the men who keep her running. Although Sunday was my birthday in Guam, by the time it was my birthday in the rest of the U.S., it was Monday, so I considered this a birthday present, too.
We ate burgers and fries for the first time - at a restaurant called The Beach Bar, where waves lap almost to the tables. I washed mine down with a Sunset on the Beach.
Tuesday morning, time to head home. Of course the day we leave it's bright and sunny for the first time in a week. With no time for a swim, I just snapped a few photos and made sure to do a little wading.
Rainbow in the clouds.