Because of its proximity to the International Date Line, the island of Guam is the first US territory to greet each new day inspiring its slogan “where America’s Day begins.”
But before arriving in Guam, my flight from Palau made an interesting stop on the island of Yap. I’d not heard of Yap but let me tell you, what seemed like the entire royal family boarded the flight draped in crowns of flowers and leis. Still not sure if all the flowers meant they were A) a wedding party B) the actual royal family or C) just making an everyday Yap fashion statement.
As the Yap passengers boarded, one flower-draped islander turned to the other behind him and snapped a photo rattling off a string of words I didn’t understand followed by one that I did, “Facebook.”
Yes folks, even Yap is on Facebook. (Mark Zuckerberg, you deserve every single one of those billions of dollars.)
When we finally landed in Guam it was almost 6am. I made it through immigration and customs quickly and decided to see if there were any rental cars available.
I hadn’t made any advance plans for my day trip to Guam figuring I’d just sort it out when I got there. That turned out to be a lousy idea as there were no cars available anywhere. It was looking like my tour of Guam would be limited to what I could reach from the hotel.
My stopover in Guam was really just a day trip, I had yet another redeye flight coming up at 3am tonight. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 3 nights of redeyes in a row. But even though I wasn’t actually spending the night, I’d still reserved a hotel room so I could at least grab a nap and have somewhere to store my bags.
I hopped in a cab to the Marriott Resort (2017 Update: the Marriott is now the Pacific Star Resort & Spa) and was very excited when they were able to check me in at such an early hour. I was upgraded to a roomy suite which had a terrific view but, like the entire hotel, was somewhat in need of a renovation.
Since it was still raining buckets outside and I’d been on a plane all night, I decided a nap was in order.
I awoke a few hours later to slightly better weather (no rain but no sun either) and tried to summon the desire to play tourist in Guam. Just as I was failing miserably at that, I walked out on to my balcony and saw the most beautiful rainbow over Tumon Bay below. It turned out to be the first of three and pretty much the theme for my day.
Though I didn’t have any wheels, the resort area of Tumon Bay was a sight in itself so I decided the least I could do was head out and explore my immediate surroundings for the day.
The sun came and went all day with bouts of rain showers in between but it was still a great day at the beach. I walked from one end of the bay to the other and did a little swimming in the gorgeous clear blue waters.
The beach area reminded me a lot of Waikiki in Hawaii but without the fancy resorts. It’s interesting that Guam has such amazing natural beauty but the hotels and resorts seem decidedly outdated. Almost like Hawaii 20 years ago.
Regardless of accommodation, I thought the island was lovely and I wish I’d had the time and the transportation to explore it further.
It was also nice to briefly be back where English was the primary language and I could use American dollars again. Almost like a quick stop at home.
After a sunset dinner, I tried to squeeze in another nap before my 3am flight to Seoul. Two more nights on a plane and I’ll finally be in Auckland. Can’t wait!