chilling feet

chilling feet

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Guam!!



(While exploring for caves, we wandered down onto the coastline.  Fun but
the ocean kept threatening to try and wash us out for a swim!)
Well we are at it again, it being the traveling and trying to see as much of this world as we possibly can.  I am revitalizing this blog with some posts just to keep family and friend updated with fun photos, hopefully some adventurous stories, and mostly so my mom knows I'm still alive.

So why Guam?  A lot of people asked me that the past few months, especially since I had to leave a wonderful job at Hope to head off into the wilderness.  Perhaps the best answer, and the one that will remain true for us on most questions like this, is the one George Leigh Mallory gave in 1924 to the New York Times.  When asked why he would go off and pursue being the first to climb Mount Everest, risking life and limb, his response was succinct.  "Because it is there."  While Mallory paid the ultimate price in hopes of climbing the world's tallest mountain, we use the same response for answering the 'whys' when asked.

(The hotel we stayed in for the first two weeks while Sarah got started in
work and we searched for our first home had a nice view over Tumon Bay.
This shot shows more of the trees and other hotels but notice the color of the
water!  More pics to follow)
There are always motivations for why we pick a certain location though, I suppose, and this one was no different.  Sarah had a job offer for working here in Guam and so it rested on a list in the back of our minds for a while as a possibility. When we decided we wanted to make a run at getting both of us to the South Pole in Antarctica and it started becoming a reality (we actually both have jobs there for the next winter beginning in February but that's another story and there are still some hiccups), a place like Guam started gaining a little bit more steam mostly because, you guessed it, it's warm.  Sarah has been on two Antarctic journeys now and it made sense to both of us to seek out a place with a little bit of sun before retreating it for months at a time at the Pole.  But Guam also holds some of our best of friends, Wes and Katie Johnson and family.  When we added all the factors together, including Guam's location being near to other places (Japan, Vietnam, China, etc) we would like to visit, it became our top choice for next the next stop.  We will be in Guam until December 10th, with a short pause to head up and do the Northwest Passage, but again we are getting ahead of ourselves.

(That gives the basic location)
Where in the world is Guam!!  In the words of Jane, "Guam is a real place?!" Yes.  We are in Guam as pictured on the map I borrowed from online. It is part of the Mariana Islands which form an archipelago (8th grade geography terms hard at work being refreshed in my brain - click on the link to learn more from wiki). Guam has an interesting history and was first found by explorers when Magellan (yes, that Magellan) landed on Guam when attempting to circumnavigate the world.  We are reading a book about the history of Guam and have not made it far yet, but the natives were subject first to Spain, then to the Japanese, and now the Americans.  Yes it is still an American territory and remains one of the last remaining "colonies" in this world, according to the book.  Click on the link for a brief synopsis of Guam's history, again according to wiki.

Hafa Adai!  Hafa Adai (pronounced "hoffa day") is "hello" for Marianas (the island chain Guam is located in) Native Chamorro language. It's used more or less the same way as "aloha" is used as a greeting on the Hawaiian Islands and the people are super friendly so far.  Ok, enough info for now.  Pictures and a few with stories of what is behind the photo.  


(Just hanging on the beach in my sweet Agape North t-shirt from Memphis.  Not a bad view)
(Two Lovers Point, where as the story goes two lovers threw themselves into oblivion rather than to live apart.  Apparently some Spaniards where going to have her marry one of their own and the lovers would have nothing to do with that.  It is a high cliff and if the story is true it would have been a heck of a fall. It's a pretty place for a lookout but our day was cloudy. We will be going back on a more clear day to enjoy the view)
(Sarah is posing by what are called lattes.  Not the kind you drink silly. These are ancient structures the original Chamorro people would build to support certain important structures.  Now one can see latte statues around as memorials to the native way of the Chamorro lifestyle.  I like to imagine them full of tasty hot joe)
(We made it down the hike and into the caves.  This one has a nice underground swimming pool in it!!  In total darkness unless you bring your head lamp.  Gollum??  He wasn't there but next time we are taking our second head lamp because Sarah likes to turn it off and then just stand there to freak me out.  No thank you. We wadded in water just to about our waste until you get to this little pool, making our way through the cave in water, and then you can swim with your feet not touching the ground. A really special place!)
(With the flash you can see how beautiful the cave pool really was - even though when Sarah turned out the lights you cannot see any of this!  So crystal clear)
(I had to add one more photo from the cave wanderings in the water.  It was pretty fantastic even though it scared me. The photos with the flash really showed the beauty even more than the small head lamp could by itself)
(So we get to hang out with these "savages" as their dad calls them while in Guam.  Evie and Wesley.  Pretty fun crew.  This pic was taken while watching a little bit of Hercules. When I'm not ninja fighting with little man (he loves the ninja turtles and is always saying "fight me"), the princess gives Sarah and me drawings and helps me take down the little man)
(A little bit of a blurry shot but it shows the hike down the side of a cliff we took to go in search of a cave where we could wander and even swim??  Some nice folks had put up some rope for people who would come after them. Sweet)
(A Spanish plaza built to commemorate the one the Spanish built here a long long time ago.  Pretty cool.  There used to be a palace but now just a few porticos and such.  Cannons.  Cool.  Beautiful park)
(We turned the head lamp off and took a pic.  I would have kept working to get one where the water could be seen behind us but it was already about as much as I could do to take one like this.  I kept figuring when I looked it later we would see some creature behind us creeping up to get us! I think I would rather have one or two other people with us for caving.  So who wants to come?  Come on!)