My Exciting and Memorable Moments on Guam

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On July 4th 2011, I, my dad and my mom went to Guam for summer holiday. I remember it vividly because I and my parents both experienced many exciting and memorable things for the first time. We experienced all sort of things such as skydiving, seawalking, flying, etc., things that we will always remember. Although we officially were to go to Guam for 5 days 4 nights, we were only on Guam for 3 nights because the flight to Guam was due to leave at 10:30 pm Hong Kong Time, and we spent the whole night on the plane, and I only got 3-4 hours of sleep, which made me exhausted and sick, so I basically spent the next morning in the bus trying to recover as I felt miserable. Fortunately, I was better when we got to the Sheraton. At the Sheraton, we had another great experience - our room was a suite! The good thing about it was that it had two rooms, with one room being a bedroom with 3 beds while the second room, the first room, had a TV, a sofa and desk. That meant that a person could read in the first room while other people slept in the second room. There was also a great pool, with one pool extremely deep while another one had dead bugs and leaves in it, but had a great, rather exciting slide. Below are events that happened during my stay in chronological order.

Skydiving

On the first day, to everybody’s surprise, mom decided that she wanted to go SKYDIVING, claiming that she had to prove to me that it was safe. At first, I didn’t want her to go because I was afraid that the chute would fail to open and she might not make it, but in the end, she and another member of our tour, Nok, were registered as skydivers with the company while I, dad and Nok’s fiancée, Edith, would be observers and watch them at the drop zone. When we got to the company building, we found that there were some other Japanese who were jumping as well. At first, we selected the minimum altitude, but when the Japs selected the maximum altitude (14000 feet/4200 meter), we chose it as well because we would lose face if we were not equal to the Japs. While my mom, Nok and the Japanese got suited up and met their instructors (the people that they would be strapped on to and the ones who would actually control everything), dad, Edith and I got into a car and were driven to the drop zone, which was a large area covered with sand to absorb the impact. The plane containing the divers passed overhead and one by one, the instructors shoved their clients out of the plane. Nok was fifth and my mom was last. Down at the drop zone, we could see tiny white dots (the drogue parachute, intended to activate the main chute via drag) as they freefell for a minute. The Japs’ chutes opened first while Nok’s and my mom’s opening last. The chutes then started flying towards the drop zone and one by one, the chutes preformed a U-turn before hitting the sand and slowing down to a halt. After a photo, I met my mom’s instructor, a Russian named Yuri, who was fortunately the most dedicated instructor since he was very kind and took the longest video with a wrist-mounted video camera. When we returned to the building, we saw the videos being played on TV screens and we deduced that Yuri’s one was the best since all of the other instructors’ videos were short and simple. Later, Yuri told me that although on Guam, the minimum age for skydiving is 18, at other places, there are no age limit at other places such as Russia, Europe and Australia. He told me that his son experienced his first skydive at age 5 in Moscow, the capital of Russia. Later, of course, we purchased the video to take home and show as proof. Afterwards, we returned to the Sheraton where we swam for a while. That night, we ate at an American restaurant called “T.G.I.Friday”.

ABC- Alupang Beach Club

The next day, we went to a beach belonging to ABC, or the Alupang Beach Club to go on a dolphin watching tour. After a 20-min drive when we got on the boat, we were disappointed greatly because we only saw a few glimpses of dolphins, and they were all very far away. Afterwards, the adults went on a banana boat that was so boring that you could practically fall asleep before we went to some place for snorkeling and after that, fishing, something that I was looking forward to. However, as I was adjusting my mask, the captain ordered everybody onboard just because there was some “strong current” and he claimed that it could kill us. Oh yeah damn right! That captain only called us onboard for one damn reason-so we wouldn’t sue him if anything did happen. When we returned to ABC beach, we went parasailing, where mom, dad and a couple of Japs went on a banana boat that was fortunately far more entertaining. After that, we went onto the parasail, which was unfortunately less exciting than one I experienced in Sabah when I was younger. Later, we went to the local flea market for a while and bought chocolates. For dinner, our guide, Tim, brought us, Nok and Edith to a restaurant called “Samurai”. Because of Tim’s influence, we even got a private car owned and operated by the restaurant to ship us back to the Sheraton.

Seawalking & Snorkeling

The third day was the best - it had one of the most memorable experiences ever. In the morning, we went on the seawalking tour with a bunch of Chinese and Japs. We went to the Fish Eye Park which was a popular dive site. There, I experienced something entirely new - seawalking. The concept of seawalking is that you get a giant helmet that resembles the ones on old-type diving suits that weighs 37 kilograms (I’m only twenty something kilos!) put on your head. You wear a normal swimsuit, and the giant helmet feeds you air, creating an air pocket that allows you to breathe while walking on the seabed. You can also wear glasses and contact lenses. The amazing thing about this technology is that while underwater, you can actually put your hand inside your helmet! There is a gap that allows you to actually see the water, but at the same time, no water enters your helmet. The explanation is the air that is frequently pumped into your helmet creates pressure, which creates the air pocket and forbids water from rushing in. After twenty minutes on the seabed, we had to return to the top so the other groups of people could have their turn. When we were back on ship, I and the other people in the first group went snorkeling. The underwater world was beautiful and there were far more varieties of fish than Phuket or any other place. I and my parents even saw some needlefish which were completely straight. My mom got the crewmen to give us some fish feed and they gave us a bottle of it but they told us not to hand feed because the fish would bite us. At first, we scoffed at this wise advice since we had hand fed while seawalking and although we were bitten by what were probably Great Trevallies, their bites did no damage. While hand feeding, my father got bitten by what was probably another type of trevally, leaving tooth marks. However, because there was no blood, there didn’t seem to be any bad damage, so my curiosity got the better of me and I requested my dad to give me some feed so I could seek out that fish and try it. Bad mistake! While feeding, a trevally, most likely either a Yellow-finned trevally or Bluefin trevally, came up to feed and although it didn’t do it on purpose, the trevally’s teeth got my middle finger, leaving a complicated gash. I immediately withdrew my hand and found blood. I returned to the ship where the crew gave me a Band-Aid. Fortunately, they didn’t tell us off and I immediately returned to snorkeling, where I didn’t hand feed again. Being brave, my father did, and when the same type of trevally that had given him injury appeared, he immediately activated his defense system (aka. “His fist”) and although he missed the trevally, it swam away

Flying

After seawalking, we returned to the Sheraton to shower before we went to the airport to experience something new - flying. At first, we had to wait for a long time because the weather was bad, but after it cleared up, the pilot met us and directed us to a small plane, probably a Cessna. Dad went into the pilot’s seat while the pilot went into the co-pilot’s seat. Mom and I sat in the back. The pilot showed Dad some basic controls before we took off. It was very thrilling, but also scary. We flew over Guam several times and we saw that most of Guam’s inland was undeveloped. However, after the flight, my dad told me that he thought that it was actually a bit boring because of several things: 1) we flew too slowly, 2) the altitude was too low, 3) the pilot refused to let him fly into the clouds, 4) the pilot refused to let him do any sharp turns. After flying for a while, we landed and were immediately met by a Japanese couple, the next flyers. We took photos and were driven back to the Sheraton.

Fish Eye Marine Park

For dinner, we went with some other members of our tour to Fish Eye Marine Park where we viewed the underwater world for a while before we went to a restaurant for dinner. Mom remembered the place because she ate a lot of crabs that would be expensive in Hong Kong. There were native Chamorro dances and I went to the souvenir shop with mom where we made friend with a guy, named LEE whose family owned the shop - a Specialist in the US army who was just back from Afghanistan. His job was to man the heavy .50 Browning M2 machine gun mounted on Humvees and he was currently off duty because the recoil broke a bone in his wrist and he was recovering. When there my mom bought several T-Shirts and two identical shark tooth necklaces, the guy also gave me another shark tooth necklace for free since his mother wasn’t there to stop him

Submarine

On the final day, I and my family got another memorable moment - we got to ride in a submarine. What’s more, we got it all to ourselves, all 3 of us. The submarine was called the Atlantis V and it showed us Guam’s seas. After riding a shuttle ferry for 15 minutes, we got to where the Atlantis V surfaced and met a large group of Japanese tourists who had just finished the tour. We got in and we immediately started. First we went to a coral mountain at the depth of about 10-20 meters, where we saw hordes of Giant Trevallies, Anemonefish, etc. We were also lucky enough to see several sea turtles resting and swimming. Near the end, we descended to 46m and we saw the seabed although there was a lot of sand and no fish at all. Afterwards, we returned to the surface and returned to the Sheraton to await the plane to fly us back to Hong Kong.

Reflections

My trip to Guam was very memorable because my whole family experienced something new. Also I learnt and discovered many new things. Guam is unique because although it is very small, it is surviving well, thanks to good business opportunities. For example, skydiving is an once-in-a-lifetime thing, and when tourists visit Guam, most of them would snatch at the opportunity to try it, such as my mom. Then, the company gets even more money through neat persuasion. We planned to spend only $270 on my mom’s skydive, but then the company persuaded us to first select maximum altitude, which was more expensive, and then purchase the photos and video, making us spend more than $530 in the end. It was the same with seawalking - we ended up spending far more than we intended to thanks to purchasing video. However, my dad was furious at the sight of colored smoke bleaching out from a power station and he complained that there weren’t enough environmentally friendly measures in place, and I completely agree with him. Also, at the flea market, my mom tasted a new delicacy - coconut sashimi. After we finished sucking the juice out of a coconut, we would give the empty shell to the guy at the stall and he would split the coconut in half with a machete before scooping all of the flesh into one half before adding soy sauce and wasabi. My mom and Edith said that we could bring the practice to Hong Kong and we think that it would be a good business. Also, while flying, I saw that most of Guam’s inland was undeveloped, and I think that the flat land could be used to build holiday villages or ranches where people could ride horses or ATVs. Overall, my trip to Guam was extremely memorable and I dearly hope to remember it.





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