A Christmas discovery..

We’re at home, with a Christmas Playlist on.

Bevin, out of the blue:

Oh! I figured out why country music is a thing! It’s something for Altos to do, since nobody writes shit for them.

I… Can’t really argue against the concept

Also, 80’s/90’s (or earlier) Christmas music is the best, and it’s not because we’re old, it’s just objective truth.

Perhaps I need to choose new colors…

A variety of similarly-colored water bottles. Also a cat.

I accidentally put down my new water bottle next to my two old water bottles, and realized that I seem to have a rather specific set of color preferences… Perhaps I should branch out?

Also, I’ve been trying since Guam to get my phone to capture the beautiful color of the Hydroflask I found there, called “Laguna”. (It’s the one on the left)
It doesn’t come across here, but it’s very much the color of the beautiful blue water. More green tone than the camera wants to acknowledge.

Okay, back to doing chores with my little helper.

The war in the pacific is following me…

After getting home from Guam last night we got up to go to work.

The rest of this week Bev is helping out at a different plant, located an hour away, and today I went with her and am going to get some work done from coffee shops. So I drop her off and find the nearest Starbucks.

Upon walking in:

Welcome to the Midway Starbucks… Expect battleships?

I mean, I guess atmleast it’s not the Bataan Starbucks? What are the odds though?

Fun trivia fact: did you know the battle of Midway was where over half of the Japanese carrier fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor was sunk?

Anyway, there’s your WWII factoid for the day. I’ll keep an eye out for zeros while I’m working.

32 hours later…

We made it home! Almost exactly 32 hours after we left the hotel “this morning”.

What a Tuesday. Anticipating going to bed in a couple hours, this day will have been 34 hours long. Plus 4 before we woke up, and 2 more after we went to sleep for total of 40 hours between 12:01am and 11:59pm on Tuesday Dec 12 from our perspective.

A single day that’s 40 hours long and 9000 miles wide. Now there’s an experience you don’t get to have too often.

Hopefully at least!

Leaving on the last jet plane. Into the wild blue yonder dear friends, once more.
I love flying at night, especially with how many neighborhoods around here are just COVERED in Christmas lights. The picture doesn’t even come close to doing it justice.

During our flight from Guam to Honolulu I sat next to a guy from Saipan who was leaving the islands for the first time. Hawaii was impressive to him, I can’t imagine what he’s thinking now, having gone through LA and landed in Seattle where he’s going to try and get set up. The island he lived on is slightly less than half the length of Guam, at only 14 miles. From the single high spot you can actually see the whole island he says.

And our Lyft ride home from the airport was 24 miles, almost the entire length of Guam.

Sometimes the scale of things just really gets you.

I hope that guy enjoys Seattle. I assured him he did NOT in fact have to worry about frostbite upon arrival.

Kitties are very suspicious.
Eventually they figured out that they remembered us. At which time they immediately remembered that it was dinnertime.
All is back to normal.

Kitties got up to some shenanigans while we were gone and got themselves into some places they’ve never gone before. Whoops! Learning for next time.

We’ll try and post a few more things in the next few days as we go through all the pictures from the other phones as well. But for now: we’re home, and ready for a nice sleep with actual lying down and such. What luxury. Almost like we’ve been upgraded to first class!

And even more miles to go before I sleep…

It’s 10:15am on Tuesday it Portland Oregon. We got out of bed 24 hours ago at 4:15am on Guam. (where it is currently 4:15am on Wednesday…)

Everyone is very tired. At least half of us are almost home and tucked in for the.. Day?

Almost home to have a proper non-sitting nap.

Only one more 3 to layover and then 4 hour flight for Bevin and I. The Tuesday that never ends continues ever onward.

At least there were some mountains in the distance.

Oh mountains, my mountains, thank you for showing yourselves today.

The last day adventures…

We’re currently in Honolulu airport, where it is once again Monday. Oh joy, we get to experience 4am Tuesday morning for a 2nd time, just what I wanted.

The morning got a late start because we were enjoying snorkeling and swimming in the bay. I do wish we had pictures of that, but we really don’t like to be the people with the GoPro firming everything, rather than enjoying it. The bay is lonely though we were 100-152 yards off the beach, and the water was never too deep for me to stand up. (and thus for Bevin or Caren to use me as a platform if needed.) The water is clear enough that you can just look down and see the fish swimming around, but it does get truly spectacular when you get the goggles on and see it from below. I’m certain there are plenty of videos of snorkeling in Tumon Bay available on YouTube if you really want to see!

Since we got a late start we weren’t able to do the breakfast at the hotel and had to wait to get lunch. This turned out to be excellent because their lunch had some great items, including a local dish called Kelaguen that they did a very good job of, in fact the best version we’ve had since arriving!

After lunch Caren and Bevin and I went to the Guam Aquarium. We weren’t expecting much, based on the reviews and seeing the entrance (it’s in a mall) but it was really pretty great! I think they have the longest walk-through aquarium tunnel I’ve ever seen!

Bevin named the turtle “Dragon Ball Sea”. Its real name was Napu, which means “waves”. We wondered which it would prefer.
We saw these outside in the ocean!
The absolute grumpiest looking fish ever.
Caren declared this to be “that Star Wars looking fish”. Accurate.
This fish just sat there staring at us. And then turned and stared as we walked by. We figure he’s a cousin of the aggressive one in the bay that bit Caren on the foot…

Our last day was going to be just mostly sitting around, perhaps some swimming, but some early morning internet sleuthing uncovered a few extra family graves, including one that was quite important to Dave: Auntie Bita.

Unfortunately he never knew anything else about her, so we could never find her. Didn’t even know what the true relation was. It’s possible she was just a family friend. All we knew was that her headstone had ten picture in the upper right. She was a very important figure in his childhood though, and he was very much hoping to find her.

Well Marcia and her Ancestry account did!

As soon as Dave saw the picture he knew this was the right one!

It turns out that “Auntie Bita” was actually Great-aunt Rita, and she’s buried just a few headstones down from her sister, Dave’s paternal grandmother, Maria Taitano Aguero. We literally walked right by her last time we were at this cemetery and didn’t notice the picture. (Dave had remembered seeing a picture of a dark headstone, so hadn’t looked at this one.)

The two in the foreground are grandma and grandpa Aguero, as they’re standing at Auntie Bita. We were so close!
Dave telling us about Auntie Bita.

One further bit of research that was accomplished in the morning was finding out the actual neighborhood that Dave’s grandparents used to live in! He remembers it being across from a schoolt we had visited all the local schools and not found in. Narrowing down the search grid to about 5 blocks though we were able to determine what is now a park/playground used to be a school, and we found his grandparent’s house!

The old Aguero house.

When we drove by someone was in the font yard, so Dave hopped out to talk to him! It turns out that the guy’s parents are neighbors, and bought the house from the Agueros! He and Dave chatted for a bit while we watched the neighborhood roosters run around. (they’re like squirrels! They’re just everywhere!)

We did a little more last minute souvenir shopping and picking up some things we needed before heading back to the hotel.

Last sunset over Tumon Bay

Eventually we went back to Meskla, clearly our favorite restaurant since this was our third trip, and had nome more delicious quasi-local food.

After dinner it was back to finish packing and turn in so we could get up at 4. Bevin and I went on a walk down the beach though. It’s really quite lovely out there in the dark, but there were a surprising number of loudly drunk people. There’s some kind of flying fish in the bay though that only comes out at night, and skips along the surface like a skipping stone. And tons of little schooling fish that come right up to the tide line.

Unfortunately it’s even harder to get pictures on the water at night, so you’ll just have to take our word for it. 😎

Bevin, carrying her somewhat enlarged bag stuffed with goodies, headed to the airport…
The sign at the airport says that KFC serves Kelaguen. Which can be chicken, but is definitely not fried…
Still getting used to being on a 777 and being so high up. It’s quite a plane!

We survived the flight from Guam back to Hawaii without too much difficulty. It was a bit ahead of schedule due to 100mph tailwinds and cut about an hour off the time.

Flying over Kauai on our way to Honolulu
The first Starbucks in over 2000 miles, bit of a novelty. (there’s technically exactly 1 on Guam, in the Westin hotel lobby.) Not sure if the return of Starbucks implies we’re back in civilization, or have left it behind…
Our plane home. There is no glass between me and the 777, the terminal is open-air.

So here we sit in Honolulu, 12 hours after leaving our hotel, waiting for our 11pm flight, and 11 hours away from touching down in Portland. On this flight we have the entire middle column of the 777.

Håfa (last) Adai delayed.

Last day was surprisingly busy with some last minute discoveries!

Unfortunately a full recounting shall have to wait, as it is 11:15pm and the alarm is set for 5 hours from now…

But fear not, the story shall be told!

Our last sunset on the island. Tomorrow begins the long journey home.

Finishing Sunday, just as everyone else starts it…

It’s 9pm Sunday night, we just finished dinner on the beach. At home in Texas it’s 5am Sunday morning.

The slogan “Guam: where America’s day begins” is more than a little true! It began, had a middle, and is practically over, just as it’s getting started back on the continent.

One of the unforseen challenge of staying at a hotel visited in large part by Asian tourists is the side-of-the-road issue while walking. We move to the right. They move to the left. Chaos ensues as we stare each other down, vying for cultural dominance on the part of our team.

Fortunately for us I’m taller than 99% of the people we see, they generally blink first when confronted with the possibility of running headlong into me.

After we left the coffee shop we went on a driving tour of the area trying to find some locations Dave remembers. Unfortunately we couldn’t find his grandmother’s old neighborhood, but things here HAVE changed quite a bit since he was here last…

Lookout point on top of an old fort above Agana.
Non-operational costal defenses. A worry about an invasion of pirates!
Looking down over the old homeland.

After our tour of Agana and Barrigada we did a little more souvenir shopping at a store everyone saw. Everywhere we go we see this little dude, and I keep forgetting to look him up and see what the story is. Who is this tiny egg man?

Back in Marcia at Dave’s room, looking out at the water, we decided we wanted to go swimming some more. But the sun is an evil death laser, so we waited until closer to sunset. In meantime: bubble tea!

The dark spots in the water are big coral rocks. That’s where the best fishes lurk.

We went out quite a ways this time, in search of even better fish-watching. There are some pretty cool ones, and if you get out to the big coral patches they’re not even bothered much by your presence, you’re on THEIR turf now.

In fact, this morning Caren got bitten by a fish. Just a nice little kiss on the foot, but there’s still a mark even tonight! Bevin atd I laughed at her panicked flailing, and then immediately felt bad. 

For dinner we went to the grill on the beach of the neighboring hotel. (they’re the same chain, that one is the ridiculously high end one…)

The pool/gardens at Dusit Thani. Very relaxing in the evening.
A short wait for dinner, but a lovely setting for it!

We got a table literally right by the edge, looking down at the beach.

The guitarist doing live music did actual voices for his covers. His Shaggy was pretty great, and his Satchmo for “what a wonderful world” had all the right growl to it, even if it wasn’t quite low enough.

Enjoy living in the past Sunday people!

Sunday morning coffee

We were in the neighborhood, Bevin had to come back…

Doing another visit to some cemeteries this morning, and stopping to get some coffee at the fanciest coffee place around. Because Bevin.i

It turns out this building is an old bank. Their kitchen is in the vault. Still a pretty neat spot!

The mostly blank one 2nd from the top is Dave’s maternal grandfather Jesus Pangelinan Mendiola

Back at the hotel waiting for breakfast earlier I had a sudden snap of irreality on account of the Christmas tree. I just do not feel like it’s December, and sometimes it just feels really out of place to notice the Christmas stuff…

So we found a more Islas-themed place to hang out.

Anyway, we’re at the coffee shop waiting for our order. Afternoon plan is to drive through Agana and Barrigada looking for places Dave remembers, and go pick up a souvenir or two at a place we saw. Maybe some snorkeling or a nap after that. Rest of the afternoon and one more day to go!

Creatures of Habit. Chose the same spot to sit in this giant 3-story coffee shop as last time!
At least 1 of these contains actual coffee…
Genetics prevent Bevin from NOT buying something that contains mango.