Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The blog was mostly on hiatus for the summer because of all the wonderful travel opportunities I've had while living in Japan.  My store was closed for one month, so I was able to Space A to Guam for almost a week.  With only 7 passengers on the plane, I arrived at Andersen AFB where I was met by our friends who live on the Navy Base in Santa Rita.  Since the island is quite small (approximately 30 miles long and 4 miles wide) and no major highways, its still a relatively short trek from base to base (normally 40 minutes without traffic). 

Guam is the largest of The Mariana Islands and is full of lush jungle, fantastic weather, warm water temperatures (about 85 degree Fahrenheit), terrific Chamorro food, and a relaxed island life.  While many tourists visit Guam for shopping, there are also a variety of things to do and see around the island.  I was fortunate to have friends that were wonderful hosts and tour guides, so I saw probably much more had we had gone there on our own.  Here are some of the highlights and recommendations I have if you ever have a chance to go there:

Go Snorkeling

No only is the water warm, there are many locations on Guam to snorkel.  Some of the best snorkeling I did was down at Gab Gab Beach on the Navy Base.  Equipped with diving boots I was able to venture down the stairs into the water at Gab Gab and literally see a ton of fish.  There are also many dive boats for people who want to snorkel and dive.  Best thing about this is that you don't need to bother with a wetsuit.  There is supposed to be great diving and I presume snorkeling on Saipan...another of the Mariana Islands that I'd like to visit while we still live in Asia.

Chamorro Village on Wednesday Night

This was a terrific night market with tons of food, crafts, vendors and entertainment.  I had some of the best BBQ there, and got to pose with a crab and a old guy wearing a native costume.  The location is easy to find along the main highway, and well worth checking out.

Chamorro BBQ.
Tumon Bay and Two Lovers Point

Tumon Bay was inundated with a lot of tourists.  It is close to the airport, to the major hotels and to shopping.  The beach is nice, and you can take a bit of a walk to some of the area restaurants.  Not far from Tumon Bay is the popular Two Lovers Point.  We went for sunset and the view was spectacular.  The monument is set high on the cliff and boasts an ancient tale about two young lovers.  Kind of a Romeo and Juliet type of story with a tragic ending.  The scenery and grounds were breathtaking.
Hotels along Tumon Bay.
The southernmost part of the island is also worth checking out.  There are villages, lookouts, tons of history, a chance to see or ride a carabao (not caribou), and a trip to Jeff's Pirate Cove restaurant in Talofofo.  We didn't eat at the restaurant, but I did shop in their gift store which has some interesting things.  Overall, my experience in Guam was fantastic.  So much to see and do.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Military Lodging in Tokyo

Tokyo is an expensive place to visit, but can be affordable for military families, US Civilians on PCS orders, and US Government Contractors looking for reasonably priced lodging. There are two government properties worth staying at depending on your budget, location, and amenities you are looking for.

The New Sanno

Room rates are dependent on your grade so its pretty cheap to stay here compared to Japanese hotels. The rooms are pretty nice, and the dining, shopping and swimming pool make for a nice getaway to Tokyo.  It is often difficult to get rooms on the weekend, but if you go onto their website you can see the room availability.  

The New Sanno is easy to get to via train and car, plus they offer free parking. This location is great for getting to Shinjuku or Shibuya.


Hardy Barracks

If you want somewhere cheap to stay in Roppongi, Hardy Barracks is a good option especially if The New Sanno is booked.  The rooms are $35/night (or they were last year) and nothing fancy, but they do offer a continental breakfast.  This location is great for touring Tokyo Tower or Imperial Palace.