Tropical paradise: Reader takes a trip of a lifetime to visit family in Guam
In May of 2017, I took a 22-hour flight to the island of Guam. I went to visit my granddaughter, Sabrina Barnes, and her family. Her husband, James, is stationed on the island with the Navy.
Daughter-in-law, Vivian Owens and granddaughter, Jill Binion, accompanied me. They are the mother and sister of Sabrina.
We arrived at Sabrina's house at midnight. I was very tired. I told everyone that I loved them and went to bed. Five o'clock in the morning I was awakened by a roar and the shaking of my bed. Earthquake! That was the first of two quakes I experienced.
Guam is a beautiful island. 30 miles long and 8 miles wide. There is only one area of the beach with waves. This is were the locals go to surf. The rest of the island is surrounded by a Barrier Reef and is quite calm. My granddaughter pays $500 a year to the Hyatt Regency Hotel to use their pools and private beach.
We visited an open air market and my great-grandson, Nathaneal, couldn't wait to have meat on a stick. I wasn't sure what the meat was so I opted for what looked like, and I hoped was, a hot dog. The locals sell baked goods and some fresh vegetables.
There is no wood on the island and all the light and telephone poles are cement. Houses are concrete block sprayed with stucco.
Just about everything is shipped to the island. Milk is $7 a gallon, on the base it's $5.
The base is surrounded by a high fence and on this, at intervals, are round metal cylinders. These are snake catchers. A live mouse is put inside in hopes of attracting the snakes. I didn't see a snake and that was fine with me. I did have an encounter with a gecko. We took a jungle cruise on the river in Talofofo. Before the start, I decided to use the outdoor bathroom. When I reached for the toilet paper I got a handful of gecko. He had decided to nap on the roll.
We rode around the island one day and saw some dome dwellings. We stopped to take pictures and the resident was in the yard and invited us in for a tour. One of the Monolithic domes was a garage with a studio apartment above. The other was her house. They were very unique.
The kids attend school on the base. Some locals pay tuition for their kids to attend the school. They feel that the kids get a better education.
There are some modern stores on Guam — Twenty-One, Michael Kors and also a K-Mart.
I enjoyed my visit with Sabrina and James, Andrew, Nathaneal and Vivian. The flight is long, but worth it to see this beautiful tropical island. Just check the toilet paper before use.
Betsy Guardasoni is an Irwin resident.