Thursday, September 8, 2011

Guam: Restaurants and Adventures (Part 3 of 3)

If you're just tuning in, here is the link to Part 1 and the  link to Part 2.


The food in Guam is incredible.

Right after we landed, we took a taxi to our hotel and asked the driver about places to eat. Without even thinking about it, he said Churrasco.
Bonus: in the same building as our hotel.
Churrasco is a Brazilian barbecue that offers a no-meat option (yay for me!) with a kickass salad bar. Very reasonably priced, too. And the desserts were fancy!

This is called Princess Cake. I'm not sure why.

Right across the street from our hotel and Churrasco is Ban Thai, an excellent and authentic (obviously) Thai restaurant.
They offer food in Mild, Medium, Spicy, and Thai Spicy.
Husband, always searching for food so spicy it will physically punish him (no joke, if it doesn't make him sweat and cry, he's disappointed), ordered Thai Spicy. The waitress was a little skeptical, but she put the order through as Thai Spicy. And so it was.

Three days later he was still suffering what became known as the Thai Gypsy Curse.

We'll probably eat there again on our next trip.

Margarita's is a Mexican restaurant one building away from Churrasco (with a spa between them). We ate there four times. It's also worth noting that they had both vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, which is pretty rare in this hemisphere.
Picture stolen from here.
Vegetarian chimichanga! So. Much. Food.

Two vegetarian tacos and one mahi-mahi taco.
We didn't take advantage of it because we went to dive and not fish, but if you catch some fish, they'll cook it for you.

Small lizards also hang out in the other side of the window, which delights me because I did not grow up with them and seeing one is still something exciting.
Not on the menu.

One other restaurant that everyone kept telling us about was The Beach, a bar literally on the beach.
It's not much for food, but it's a good place to get a beverage and enjoy your friends' company and the sand between your toes. Or the beds on the beach. Kind of an odd concept, but there it is.


Every Wednesday there is a street festival called Chamorro Village. There are tourist souvenirs, flower print dresses and Hawaiian shirts, food stalls, stuff like that. We didn't stay long, but it was worth walking through.

Especially for the opportunity to see a horrible alien creat- I mean "coconut crab." This girl had a plastic strip tied to it like a handle. She is a badass.
This girl is immune to the horrors of that gigantic crab. That crab is frickin' scary.

And there was this guy! A bagpiper trying to raise enough money to get to the World Bagpipe Championship. I'm not a bagpiping connoisseur, but he seemed pretty skilled. Good luck to him!

One day we went to the Ocean Jet Club beach resort to check out parasailing, jet skiing, banana boat rides, and to chill on the beach. We didn't do a lot of activities, but we tried out parasailing (surprisingly relaxing) and a banana boat ride (sitting on an inflatable hot dog towed by a jet ski). Not really a thrill ride, but worth trying.

We made some small talk with some Japanese girls using our terrible Japanese and they asked to take our picture with them. That's when we realized we were the only Caucasians there. Everyone else was a local working or a Japanese person visiting the resort.

We stumbled upon a coconut demonstration run by a local who showed us how coconuts are husked, split, and prepared. We tasted the coconut water before he scraped out the meat and cooked it with sugar in a frying pan over a small grill. Not bad, really. Apparently if that mixture is packed properly (traditionally in leaves), it can stay good for a month.

Then he folded fish necklaces out of palm leaves.

We really went to Guam to go scuba diving, and it was great! Phenomenal visibility, water so warm we didn't need wetsuits, and lots of interesting critters. At one place we must have found the spot where the fish are fed, because a school of aptly named butterfly fish surrounded us, very much like butterflies, and all but landed in our hands. Very cool. We also saw sea slugs the length of my arm from shoulder to wrist, some covered in spikes. And a lion fish's butt. And an eel or three.

One day, I'll be comfortable enough with diving and using the equipment to divert some of my attention to operating an underwater camera. Then you guys are going to be in trouble.

I was saying that because I wanted to show you these pictures and then I got distracted. These are from a boat ride out to a dive site, through the bay.
Pretty! Also sunny and warm.

Possibly a WWII-era wreck, otherwise they probably would have moved it.

From a distance, it's easy to forget how huge industrial equipment can be. This thing looks big, yeah, but the thing that puts it in perspective is the white pickup truck to the left.
There are people sitting in front of that pickup, too.

Down the street from our hotel is a neat attraction: the Slingshot.

I don't know who came up with it (some Australian blokes, we're told), but it's brilliant. It slings you waaaaay up in the air, but then you sit there for a while and have a great view of the main street, the beach, and the ocean to the horizon. The other cool thing they do is they have a video camera attached to the ride for the benefit of the people on the ground, then they play the video back for you when you finish your ride. We had our friend videotape one of these. He narrates a little before we blast off at 0:59.
We stay in the air for a really long time and finally get lowered at 2:20, then at 2:45 our friend asks if we soiled ourselves.

The beach during the day:
I see you! You suck at hiding, small crab.

No crabs here, it's just pretty.

Twilight Beach walk:

There's a small aquarium attraction called Underwater World. We didn't really expect much from it and it wasn't in our original plans, but after our first flight out was canceled, we figured we'd go since we had some extra time on our hands. It was surprisingly worth our time.

It's not the giant awesome multi-story adventure that the Osaka Aquarium is, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The first floor is a tunnel through a giant tank filled with rays, sharks, fish of assorted sizes, and some turtles.

I took some video just inside the entrance, but it might be disorienting. I got distracted by every new fish that entered the viewfinder.

I could have stayed there for an hour. Evidently at night they turn that area into a restaurant, so that's on our To Do list for the next trip.

The theory still holds true: every aquarium has that one giant fish that stares at the people.
This fish followed us around the whole tank. Then he got his gills cleaned by a dartfish.

We couldn't figure out if this was a genuine airplane wreck they transplanted from a coral reef or a replica for the benefit of people that have some knowledge of military equipment.

This turtle looked a little disgruntled, but it stayed still enough for me to take pictures.
Say cheese!

I know this fish's mouth is open and it's showing us its bottom teeth, but it sure looks goofy from this angle.

Upstairs were more individual tanks with interesting fish. I had no idea that such a thing as "upside down jellyfish" even existed.

Flounders. You'd think Picasso designed 'em.

Lionfish! Or something similar.
Garden eels are semi-creepy wormlike critters that live in a hole in the sand. Every other display I've seen of them, they've been skittish and disappear whenever I walk up. These guys, though, weren't shy at all. In fact, two of them were having a heated argument.

Found you!

One of the anemone tanks was a little unsettling. Something about poisonous, plastic-looking, wavy things all gathered together like that is vaguely alarming.
Do NOT swim in here.

This tank also contained the least friendly anemonefish I've ever seen.
I swear they're scowling. Not cute in the slightest.

Something surprising: a fish that is really unskilled at swimming. I love frogfish because they're hideous and clumsy I bet they have personality. (Edit: It's a stonefish, not a frogfish. My bad!)

They make me giggle.

Outside the aquarium are artful turtles on the wall.

I wasn't going to bother taking pictures of all of them, but they're all worth seeing in person if you happen to be in the area.

Our flights back were hard to catch (that's the tradeoff for flying military space-available, things constantly get canceled, bumped up, or rescheduled without warning) and we spent an extra couple nights in Guam and a night in Okinawa, but it all worked out okay. We'll do this again sometime.
Dawn in Okinawa, on the way to catching a flight home

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