Apr 7, 2011

Return to Guam: America's Pacific Island

We visited Guam, an American territory in the Western Pacific, for the second time and meet up with Cindy Hanson, a friend we made during our previous trip. Cindy wears many hats but is always trying to promote Guam and tourism. On Saturday mornings she has a two-hour radio show and asked us to be her guests. During the broadcast we mentioned we had not seen any latte stones which are huge stones used as building supports by the Chamorros, the native people of the Marianas. Franklin Arturo called into the show and invited us to his country place in the northern part of the island to see the many latte stones on his property. It was an incredible experience. His stones are some of the largest on the Island.

Even more amazing was the story of George Tweed, the Robinson Crusoe of the USN. Tweed was the radioman who escaped capture by the Japanese during WW II by hiding on Guam for nearly three years. He was the only American to survive the Japanese occupation of Guam. The Japanese searched for him every day the entire time he was in hiding until his rescue on July 10, 1944. During most of that time the Arturos brought him supplies and kept the fact that they were hiding him a tight secret. When the Marines landed in Guam, Tweed signaled the American destroyers with flags he had made and a pocket mirror. He warned the military about the Japanese gun placements and asked to be rescued. Within five minutes of receiving his message rescue was on the way. While in hiding Tweed computed what he thought the government owed him in back pay. It amounted to about $6000, a tidy sum in those days. Tweed asked Arturo what he would do with all that money. He said he’d buy a four-door Chevy. Tweed returned to Guam in 1945, bringing a Chevrolet sedan to Mr. Arturo as a gift from the president of General Motors. Franklin Arturo shared his Tweed scrapbook with us. He invited us to share his barbecue lunch. Truly an amazing day.

With Cindy and her son Ezequle we visited the War in the Pacific Museum and the site of the concentration camp where the Japanese kept the Chamorros. We stopped for lunch at Jeff’s Pirate Cove and learned another amazing story. The restaurant is located where the last WW II Japanese soldier on Guam, Shoichi Yokoi, surrendered in 1972. He had lived in a cave in a remote part of the island for 28 years. He said he knew the war was over because he heard American music but remained hiding because he was afraid the Americans would kill him. The story along with news articles are posted on the wall of the restaurant.

Not only did we enjoy exploring Guam again but spent time relaxing around the pool. The Guam Hyatt has one of the nicest pools we have encountered. It has several levels with areas connect by waterfalls. After spending two months in Asia where we love the food we were craving for a hamburger. Each day when we were at the pool we lunched on an incredibly wonderful hamburger. So very good! We also visited the amazing tunnel aquarium next to the hotel. Duty free Guam is a heaven for shoppers with everything from K-Mart to Gucci.