Saturday, July 5, 2008

10 Things That Made Our Guam Trip a Winner

Since my family travel responsibility has swelled to airfare for three now, today's fuel prices-slash-airline-woes and the related effects on travel expenses gave me a wonderful excuse to keep our summer trip simple and spend five nights on Guam. As the title states, here's ten things that made our Guam trip a winner;

10. So we get out of the Guam airport at nearly 11pm on a Thursday night and my bro Mike T. has a loaded Mazda CX-9 waiting for us. We didn't drive much but when we did it was in style. Thanks T, you're the man!

9. We spent the first two nights on the back-side of the island in Yona with our friends, the Lackey family. Larissa experienced lunch at the renowned Jeff's Pirates Cove for the first time and we joined our hosts for happy hour at Jimmy D's. Also joining us were Rob's partners in a biz venture created to land some of the military construction sub-contract money that is and will continue to flow into Guam. Some interesting stuff, large companies that are the big players in the business of military build-up, look for smaller partners for sub-contracts but the key is that the smaller partners must have minority owners who provide "points" that are a basis of selection for the awarding of multi-million dollar contracts. This particular group not only has Pacific islanders as partners but is led by a native Hawaiian, wounded veteran. I was told of another group bidding on transportation contracts whose officers are three females, two of whom are minorites, one handicapped. Being a white male with clinically sound body and mind doesn't pay in this game. A fun happy hour with a great group of guys who are motivated. I wish them lots of luck and a big thanks to the Lackeys for your hospitality!

8. Denny's for breakfast four of the mornings that we were there. The menu isn't as big as it used to be but we didn't even have to discuss where to go. The choice was near instinct.

7. In California, shopping at KMart is about as in vogue as being a Schlitz drinker or chain smoker. The Guam K-Mart however is the highest grossing store in the chain and for us islanders, clothing aside it is where you can find anything and just about everything all under one roof, which is a convenience that we don't take for granted out here. The weather was rainy most of this trip, this was kind of a shopping trip anyway so........two trips to the store and too many dollars later, we had way more than we could fit in our allowed luggage so a big thanks to Angel and Andy at KarBiz on Marine Drive for packing and shipping our overflow back home for us.

6. Day 2, leading up to night 3 we checked into our hotel, home for the next four days and three-and-a-half nights. For convenient location right in the middle of Tumon, and a budget rate of about $60/night after room tax, the Pacific Bay Hotel was a great find. Mac & Marti's bar and Subway are downstairs, the VIP Chinese restaurant is also in the building, laundry room on our floor, only a ten-minute walk north to Pleasure Island's restaurants and entertainment with the beach just a short walk away. Nothing fancy whatsoever but for a place to sleep and shower in, it filled the purpose nicely.
5. Tumon Bay is a great place, on the beach as well as a hundred yards above the tideline on Pale San Vitores Road. Unfortunately, the weather didn't allow enough beach time but we did spend a good amount of time in the meat of Tumon, promoted in Japan as Pleasure Island. Great eating there as we enjoyed TJI Friday's and Outback Steakhouse. It's a fun trek, walking along the road with nicely designed buildings, well-kept sidewalks with much to watch or enjoy such as the Slingshot ride and Underwater World. Noticeably missing were prostitutes running about while their handlers lounge on plastic chairs on the sidewalk, yet amazingly tourism still works there. That's a joke for Saipanese readers to relate with.

4. The Micronesian Mall on Guam may not have it all as far as shopping goes but they have enough and the amusement center upstairs next to the food park is huge for being able to keep the kids moving and not whining in the mall. We probably spent a combined eight hours there over two days. My four-year old son wants to move to Guam just for the rides and arcade at the mall. I was able to re-supply my work wardrobe for a reasonable price, Larissa picked out more stuff for our daughter than herself as usual, then just as Richard would begin fading into meltdown, we'd revive him with a trip to the amusement center. A great set-up.

3. The whole concept alone of walking through a three-hundred foot tunnel running ten feet under water in an 800,000 gallon saltwater aquarium alone makes Underwater World a must see when visiting Guam. I filmed a ten-minute-or-so video in there and once we work out our interface issues between our video camera and computer, then I will download and embed it here.
2. Saipan's loss is Guam's gain and when our beloved Jon Cramer left Pacific Island's Club Saipan a few months ago to take on the same roll as activities director at the Guam resort, we lost our prime tournament organizer on the Saipan volleyball scene but we gained someone to call on Guam for waterpark passes. The Guam PIC is sweet, a must see and play when there. We were supposed to go to the Polynesian dinner show as well but had to cancel after my daughter boinked her head pretty good in the kiddy pool when Daddy took his attention away for a moment. It was a fun half-day, thanks JC and Bart, much obliged!

1. This was my first extended stay on Guam since I moved back to Saipan from Guam four years ago so it was fun to catch up with some old friends and introduce them to my family. When I lived on Guam, many of my Saturday nights were spent watching live music at Marty's with my good buds, Mike T., the sales manager for Triple J Motors, Guam and Jeff Rios, car racer and owner of AutoWorks, a leading auto services company on Marine Drive. That's Mike on the left, his company web photo that's surprisingly not a precinct mug shot. He thinks smiling is nerdy and once nicknamed me Shrek for my toothy smile. Anyway, since Marty's is now closed and Kore is no longer a band, we couldn't relive the past so Jeff threw together a bbq at his house. Thanks to Jeff, Sonia and kids, as well as Mike, Maribel and kids for dinner and a real fun evening.
I also spent a late one at Mac & Marti's until past 2am with my old friend and roommate from Palau, Suguru Ishiguro or Ishi, perhaps one of the nicest, most proper men on the planet. You know, one of those guys that will never hang up the phone until you do first or won't turn and walk away until you do first. Ishi runs Tony Roma's and Capriciossa on Guam for W.D.I. Inc. Ishi, it was great to get to catch up on things again and don't forget to forward this to Mimi, I promised her!
So that was our simple but fun trip to Guam. You had better go there now before the 25,000+person population explosion hits once the Marine base is relocated from Okinawa.


bigsoxfan said...

Glad you made it before the rush. Must have been a week for accidents, the lad received his first glass cut to the knee recently. Didn't you like it better when they just lay there all cuddly and sluglike? Doctor is still alive and slugging it out. Mark

Anonymous said...

about #9, are you saying your friends are white males, able bodied and of sound mind, or did they create a 'minority' designated company?

SteeleOnSaipan said...

I'm saying neither, the first description was describing myself and they created a minority designated company because three of four of them are minorities.

That said, this is a blog for my family and friends to enjoy and anonymous comments aren't really welcome.

Marianas Pride said...

Guam is an awesome getaway! But it's too bad that we have to board Cape Fear just to get there.

I remember the days when we had jet service between Saipan and Guam...

But then again, I remember the days when we used to have 24 hour power! ;)

Anonymous said...

Guam is way way better than Saipan & more economically stable.

IHOP & Chili's are coming to Guam!
Way better than Denny's