Friday, December 7, 2007

Guam via Japan

I picked a doozy for my first out of the country trip. I suppose the Bahamas and Canada do not count right?? Guam by the way is beautiful. It is tropical, in fact. Who would have thought?? Certainly not me.

I went to Guam to visit my bff and college roommate and her hubby. It was definitely a twofer. I got lots of pool time, sightseeing, and quality time with the bff. She is 8 months preggers and the trip was even complete with a labor scare where we spent all evening at the Naval Hospital. The bff's hubby is a doctor in the Navy so consequently, I got a tour of the hospital while we were there. I think Guam is a hidden secret. If you can get past the "massage parlors" for the Japanese tourists and the 24 hour travel, it is certainly worth the trip. That being said, it is very unusual.

My bff gave me the island tour complete with the history of Guam and WWII. It was all very interesting. We stopped to eat at this semi-outdoor restaurant on the ocean and their specialty was Greek food. That struck me as odd for a number of reasons but I consumed the best Greek salad that I have ever had. While I enjoyed my visit, I probably would never make it there as a resident. Guam is devoid of good shopping. The local handmade goods are wonderful but the mall is worth a visit, just for the laugh. Surprisingly, they did have some stores that surprised me such as Macy's but overall, the shopping is horrific. Lest I forget, I will now mention that Guam has the largest Kmart in the world. People act as though it is the holyland. The place is packed with Japanese tourists. Yes, of course I went there and I took pictures. Sorry to disappoint but it looks like any other Kmart anywhere!!

I am in Narita Airport in Tokyo at the moment. Having a long layover is nice when you don't know where you are going but now I know where I am going and still 5 hours to wait! Ugh. Here are some interesting observations.... The cashier at McDonalds understood English and understood "no meat" so my egg mcmuffin was devoid of meat. I was elated with this accomplishment. I was hungry due to the fact that breakfast on the plane was sushi and something that looked like milk in a juice box. I passed on that. I can't believe I was soo excited to see a McDonalds. I don't even like the place. Also, I am totally in the minority here which I think is a good experience for anyone, especially a white American. I can count on about two fingers the number of times I have been the minority anywhere. And uh, I hate to say it but the Japanese are cleaner than we are. Their bathrooms are very clean, their planes are very clean, and many of them are walking around with surgical masks to avoid the beastly germs that one picks up in airports. The only low point is that most of the snacks are not those sold in the U.S. and I have no idea what they are and all the magazines are in Japanese. Oh, and the terminal I was in on the way out had a salon so I thought I could get my nails done in this looong layover but this terminal is devoid.

Just when I thought I was done describing how interesting the Narita Airport is, I forgot to tell everyone that Terminal 1 is full of high end stores-Gucci, Coach etc. I personally have never been to an airport that resembled a shopping mall. This is all very informative and I encourage anyone that has not been to this side of the world, to do so. I think I would like to come back but the flight is a killer.

I am off to wait some more and try out the toilets that are just a hole in the floor!! Yeah right. Thank heavens they have the regular ones. The whole bidet think cracks me up too. Oh!! One more thing. Japan looks a little like Michigan. It is cold here and the trees are very similar. I am certain it doesn't all look like MI but when we were landing, this struck me as odd.

I have a tan if anyone is interested. The interesting part is that I am pretty tan and had 45 sunblock on the whole time.