A Little Slice of America

Sister Barb Cook blogs about Guam

The Marianna Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the North-western Pacific Ocean. They are south of Japan and north of New Guinea. The south end of the Marianas chain is the island of Guam

The economy of Guam is dependent on the U.S. Military and Japanese Tourists. It is located on one of the Mariana Islands. In this area of the Pacific Ocean two tectonic plates have collided and the Pacific Plate is moving westward and plunging below the Mariana Plate and has created a region, which is the most volcanically active convergent plate boundary on Earth. Just east of the island chain is the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the Earth’s oceans and the lowest part of the Earth’s crust, which is near Guam.  In this region according to geologic theory, water trapped in the extensive faulting of the Pacific Plate is heated by the higher core temperatures from the center of the earth [during its subduction] and the pressure from the expanding steam causes in the hydrothermal activity in the area, and the volcanic activity which formed the Mariana Islands.

I chose the Island Discovery Tour and we circled the island, soaking up the scenery as palm trees border tropical, sandy beaches.  My island drive took me past forested mountainous areas and many of Guam’s villages.  We also passed the entrances to several military compounds.

The tour did take me to Gef Pa’go Inarajan, a replica village.  Residents have faithfully recreated the ancient village with buildings made solely of natural materials.  Bamboo and other woods serve as pillars of the many shelters each topped by a traditional thatch-palm roof. Re-enactors demonstrated basket, fan and mat making from coconut palm fronds.  We also sampled immature coconut, and learned how they process sea salt.



As we continued our circular tour around the island we stopped at the Pirate’s Cove for where we ordered off the menu for lunch. [Guess who had a cheeseburger and coke!] This popular, open-air restaurant was a pleasant change from shipboard fare.  The scenery was lovely and the beach inviting

We visited the ruins of Fort Santa Aqueda, a once powerful Spanish fort, from which we could see the capitol.  The fort is near the governmental center of the island.  From here we could see the city and beach below as well as high-rent and highrise hotels in the distance.

Our next stop was north of Tumon Bay to see the sheer 378-foot high white limestone cliff known as Two Lover’s Point. Legend has it that a Chamorro maiden and her lover, with their hair intertwined in a love knot and their hearts joined leapt to their death in the roaring waves far below.  Her father had promised her to a Spanish sea captain, but she was in love with a local village man. Denied permission to marry, they threw themselves over a cliff rather than suffer the pain of separation. Thousands of pledges of love were attached to the rocks and a wedding party was posing for formal pictures at this romantic and picturesque place.

In the afternoon, after the tour, I wanted to visit the world’s largest K-Mart, but my tour bus dropped us off at the Hyatt Regency, and I had no way to contact my sisters who had rented a car.  But they did make it to K-Mart, and remarked many times how friendly and attentive the staff was in the store.  They said it really was huge, especially since they had to walk from one end to another many times filling everyone’s shopping list.  They succeeded in finding everything and came back to the ship loaded with K-Mart shopping bags for us all.



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