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Two Years & Twice Around the World...  
Guam - Tumon Bay
COUNTRY FACTS Population: 171,019 Area: 541.3 km2 (all land) Gov't: Territory of US Religion: 85% Roman Catholic, 15% Other View Map
Tumon Bay, Guam, April 15, 2003  

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April 12-23. TAMUNING It was a relief to get to Guam after waiting around all day in Weno.  It was a full flight so we had gotten up early to be the first on the stand-by list.  We had breakfast in a bakery across from the airport and waited for the airport gates to open.  Then we had until 1:30 to kill before checking in and hoping that we made the cut.  We did.

We arrived in Guam without a hotel and found little help from tourist information or the broken public telephones. A nice person at one of the car rental desks let us use her phone to call hotels.  The best deal we found was at the Airport Hotel Mai Ana for $55.  It was only a few miles down the airport road and they picked us up within minutes of calling.  We didn't have any beach views but our room came with a kitchenette and the hotel offered shuttle services to major spots in Tamuning and Tumon, which combine to make Guam's largest commercial and resort areas.

The flu set in with me for the first few days so we were hotel bound.  A typhoon was scheduled to hit at the beginning of the week so we weren't missing out on any good weather.  It was promising to be a serious typhoon so Kmart and other stores were selling out of handy wipes and other supplies to get them through the storm.  Guam had already suffered from some bad typhoons in the past few months and the damage was still visible.  Roofs were missing tiles, palm trees were almost frond-less, Mc Donald's lost their air conditioning, Kmart lost their sign, and there was scarcely a water slide left in tact anywhere on the island.  Many people went weeks and weeks without running water and electricity.  We were enormously relieved when the imminent typhoon veered south and missed the island.

Guam is a comfortable place to spend a few days but we had to keep ourselves busy for more than a week.  Our business class tickets that United told us we could change without having new tickets issued was a different story when we arrived in Guam.  But the time gave us an opportunity to get the website put together, indulge in some American food, and stock on some supplies we needed for China.  It also gave us time to see how the SARS outbreak in China was doing and see if we still wanted to include China in our travel plans.  After watching every news program and reading up we decided the probability of encountering SARS during our trip was very low and while we eliminated eastern China from our plans we could see no reason to be deterred from going to western China and seeing some of the Silk Road.  The SARS scare even had most of the medical supply places on the island sold out of masks.  Fortunately, Rob was able to convince a wholesaler to sell us one box.

While we did spent the majority of our time in our hotel room reading, writing, and watching TV or shopping for supplies, we still got ourselves out to walk around Tumon a couple of times to enjoy the nicer side of Guam.  The resort hotels are luxurious with nice restaurants and tropical water parks, and the bay is beautiful but the main street along the bay is cluttered with a mish-mash of duty free shopping and porn shops catering to Japanese tourists.  However, typhoon warnings and the war in Iraq had thwarted most travelers.  Our hotel told us they were booked up for the month before the war broke out but most people had cancelled. 

On Easter Sunday we went all out and had brunch at Shirley's, a local diner in Tamuning serving large amounts of food ranging from pancakes to chow mein, a reflection of Guam's diverse community.  We also attended mass at nearby St. Anthony's before taking a stroll to the beach in Tumon.  Families were out in force BBQ-ing.

What looked like a long time in Guam actually went by quickly and in our last two days we still found ourselves scrambling to finish our errands.  We lightened our pack loads by sending back some of the camping gear and anything else that we decided had become "non-essential".  Carrying things on your back helps you differentiate more easily between your "needs" and your "wants."   

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FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA Kosrae March 25-26 March 27-28 Pohnpei March 29-31 April 1-2 April 3-4 April 5-7 Chuuk April 8-9 April 10-11

GUAM April 12-23