3.29.2010

Globetrotting to Asia, then USA and back.



I am off to a faraway destination, a place I have never really heard of before. Guam. Before leaving, I didn't know what to expect, except Z. told me this place is Where America's Day Begins and in It Started With a Kiss, Zhi Shu and Xiang Qin have their honeymoon in Guam (filmed in Hawaii, of course). This had to be one of the most random destinations of my life, probably one of the last places on earth to visit, but I had high hopes that this was going to be an exotic getaway.
Going there, it took an entire day of flying, plus the lay over. The plane from Narita to Guam consisted of only Japanese passengers. That alone made me feel out of the loop. When we landed, I was convinced I landed on another planet. The airport made me feel like I just traveled back to the '70s and the music in the taxi cab was beyond bizarre. After settling at the hotel and laying on the beach for the afternoon, I saw three military jets fly through the sky. They traveled swiftly by like a thief in the night, dashing gracefully in a band on a mission. I've learned that a beach isn't just a beach. My usual ritual at the beach is running down to the waters, barefoot in the sand and running towards the ocean until the cool water reaches my feet. However, this beach makes me sit and wait, watch and not go in. My mom told me I needed to stop acting like a brat because there are people dying to see this. After going to Hawaii and Australia, I've realized I've seen some of the most beautiful places on earth. The beach where I sat that day reminded me of Malaysia. It feels like Asia here.
The next day, our friend arrived in Guam and we spent another day at the beach. We walked along the beach from property to property. There's seaweed everywhere on the sand and in the waters. I wasn't used to this. The beach was almost deserted. We seemed to be one of the only tourists on the beach. Lines of chapels run down the beach, reminded me of Las Vegas. There's this geometric, all shades of blue chapel, which I'm in love with. I finally went into the waters. My mom pointed out how clear the water is and it was. The waters there are clear everywhere. Sand storms came and we moved onto a higher land. Later that night at sunset, we ate dinner at the executive lounge of our hotel. At sunset, the lighting made everything in that moment, gloriously beautiful. I stood on the balcony and watched the setting sun glow over the ocean in Guam. It was one of those perfect moments in my head that I always want to remember.
We took a tour called Discover Guam. It was a beautiful day, a day filled with millions of thoughts by the end. Our first stop was the Two Lover's Point. From Two Lover's, there was a gorgeous view of a true blue ocean. I've never learned so much fascinating history and this trip made me actually like history. Before the Japanese took over Guam, the Spaniards were there. Magellan first came in contact with the Chamorros (the indigenous and original settlers of Guam). Did you know that Magellan later got eaten in the Philippines? By that, I mean cannibalism. And that was it for Magellan, he led himself to his own demise. Then we saw Spanish ruins and rocks that the Chamorros carved and built. Nobody knows how they came to accomplish building these rocks. Their house structures were similar to the ones I saw at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. Visualizing architecture makes me realize that I know more about life and how people lived in the past. Then throughout the tour, we saw more historic sites and saw the influences from other cultures. We were taken to more gorgeous look outs and at one of them, I had coconut with soy sauce and wasabi. I can't believe I ate it and it sounds strange and gross, but it was surprisingly sweet for someone who doesn't like soy sauce or wasabi. The highlight of the tour was the War in the Pacific Museum (one of the National Parks). This sounds clique to say, but the story and history of Guam is the story of Avatar. The Japanese knew exactly how to plan out the bombings during Pearl Harbor. They bombed Pearl Harbor and Guam at the same time. They bombed Pearl Harbor first, but since Guam is a day ahead, they bombed Guam the next day. Before the bombings even happened, the Japanese treated the Chamorros as second class citizens and slaves. At one point, the Chamorros wanted to be saved by the Americans. Then World War II ended with the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I was there in a museum in Nagasaki to see the horrors and there I was in Guam, witnessing the loopiness of history. All people want is land and power. Today, Guam still hasn't been rightfully returned back to the Chamorros. It's still an ongoing battle and Guam has a strong military base there that's continually growing. Now I understand why my grandpa boycotted all rice cookers made in Japan. I've realized that history has everything to do with me. It's about my ancestors from the past, present and future. It's why things are and came to be today. It's made me think back to reading George Orwell and "Shooting an Elephant." It's made me think how relatively small countries like England and Japan have conquered other big lands. It's made me ask questions. Why have historically, indigenous populations been removed from their lands and relocated? Why have people with darker skin tones been treated differently? Are we always going to be "Black and Blue"? It's made me rethink about everything, study people, life and living. Knowing all of this, the sadness, but the truth made the rest of the day bittersweet.
Guam is a beautiful island, primitive and natural. Guam has been through a long suffering history and getting to know Guam has been eye opening experience. I didn't give Guam a chance to love until the end. The food is really good, we ate at Proa and authentic Chamorro food is amazing. Guam is still a completely different world to me, almost like Pandora, but life in Guam is simple. The people there aren't caught up in the things of the world, they voice their opinions by actively participating in politics, spend lots of time with family and friends and seem to have a real grasp of the meaning of life. The story of Guam is one that everyone should hear. Someday I want to visit Guam again, explore more history and run into the ocean of their untouched and ravishing beaches.
(Pictures: the ocean, a view of the capital of Guam, a coconut crab and one of the biggest lizards I have ever seen)

6 comments:

xoxoKrysten said...

Awesome pics!

ColeAndJosephine said...

I think it sounds like an amazing trip!

ColeAndJosephine said...

I think it sounds like an amazing trip!

ColeAndJosephine said...

I don't know why that double posted...

Beauty Is Diverse said...

Nice pictures.

Jeyam said...

Hello there! I' just browsing around to find some nice people (I'm brand new in the blog's world!) and I found you! I hope to hear from you..
Blessed be,
Jessica