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Walk this Way

October 14, 2011

We’re nearing the end of the rainy season on Guam, which means sunshine.  The past few months have had long stretches (relatively speaking) of gray, which is not my favorite color by a long shot.  I’d been busy working on a couple of concurrent projects and had not been outside at all in several days, save for trips to meetings, and that doesnt really count.

So with bright blue overhead I willed myself to leave the confines of four walls, a floor and a ceiling at 5:30 PM yesterday to take a walk.

On an evening as this with a potentially spectacular sunset in the offing, I normally head north up the beach so as to get the full effect of sun sinking into the ocean.  Feeling contrary, tonight’s trip was in the opposite direction.

The Fiesta Resort, adjacent to our apartment, is home to Asian package tours.  The place fills regularly with Chinese and Korean tourists, who often perch at waters edge in the curious crouch captured above.  She’s not sitting – her posterior is but an inch above ground.  This seems to be a perfectly comfortable position of rest for people in this part of the world, athough us overweight Westerners can’t catch a breath if we tried it, as it shoves our potbellies into our lungs.  I’ve felt self-conscious about photographing squatting people, and the fat islander scowling in the background didn’t help any.

I moved on.

The reason I don’t walk this way in the evenings is explained by the above photo.  At this time of year, the sun sets behind the Hilton, obscuring the most picturesque of views.  It’s not a bad shot, relatively speaking, but the view out at the Beach Bar is ten times better at a quarter of six.

There are three resort hotels south of our apartment, not counting the Fiesta.

The most recognizable and iconic of the bunch is the Marriott, with a sloped facade to the sea.  I’d like to say it’s a nice hotel – but it’s not.  Locally it’s known as the Moldyacht, as the building is lousy with mildew.  I get the sniffles and a headache just entering the lobby; I’ve no idea how people stay there.  Guests have regaled me with stories of dank bathrooms and green stuff growing in the carpet – ick.  At least it looks good from here.

Next door is the Pacific Islands Club, a sprawling mega-resort with enough visual interest to merit its own post.  It’s easily the largest complex of its kind on-island, save perhaps for the largely vacant Leo Palace.

On the way back from the Club, I pass othe most prominent WWII bunker on Tumon Bay.

It’s a crazy mix, this Guam.  Resorts, jungle, islanders, Asians and their history all tightly mashed together on this Pacific outpost.

A tremendous dichotomy, this next photo.

Guam is an Asian wedding destination, as mentioned in earlier posts.  Couples are often seen on the beach with their planner, photographer and entourage getting their wedding photographs.  What makes this photo a corker is this is a staged shot during an actual photo shoot.  The camerman is just out of the shot on the left, she’s in an immaculate wedding dress; he’s in sneakers and jeans with his shirt untucked.  They’re consulting their IPhone for reasons unknown.  The love of Western culture runs deep in Japanese society – but jeans and an Apple product in your wedding album?  We are similar, yet very different it seems.

It gives me a headache thinking about it.

A few yards down the beach the damnedest thing happened to me.  I was passing the two finest homes on the island – homes owned by the brother and sister pair who developed Tumon Bay and hold title to no less than five of the resorts. Their properties are guarded by a pair of very aggressive and very vicious guard dogs.  I’ve watched them scare the hell out of more than one group of beachgoers, bared fangs, barking and snarling.You can tell by their body posture these are not playful pups by any stretch of the imagination.

Feeling rather frisky, I figured I’d address them to see what their reaction would be.  “Hey guys!  How you doin?”

The dog at the fence lowered his head from view.  When he surfaced, he had a tennis ball in his not-insubstantial jaws.  He spent a few moments chewing it, then proceeded to try to balance the ball on the stainless cable serving as a boundary. It seemed as if he waspushing the limit of his range – he knew what he wanted to do, and he knew he wasn’t supposed to.

He did it anyway.

He dropped the ball on the beach, nearly ten feet below.

I picked it up, watching the reaction.  Still taut, the expression changed.  I’d seen the look before.  These were guard dogs, yes, but social animals like you and I.  They craved attention, and the ball was a way to get it.  I both identified with and felt sorry for them.

I walked over to the ball, picked it up and washed it off in the sea.  Standing at water’s edge, I flipped it back at the dogs.  They licked the salt off, then dropped the ball over the fence again.  We played guard dog catch for a good ten minutes; I’m certain the master would not have been pleased, as this would lower the dog’s aggression towards passers by.

They looked like sad puppies when I said goodbye.

With a few minutes of light to go, a sunset pic:

The south end of Tumon Bay – not without surprises.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2011 4:48 am

    I am glad you had a nice relaxing evening. The experience you shared was great:)

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      October 14, 2011 5:46 pm

      Thanks. You know the dogs; it was surprising to interact with them.

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