26 November 2007

Rota - "Home of the handwaves"

26 November 2007

Ok, I’m finally ready to offer more of an explanation for all of these pictures.

Eric and I decided, if we couldn’t be with family for Thanksgiving, we’d go on mini vacation instead. I was actually pushing for Guam, but Eric’s co-clerks, Robert & John, invited us to Rota so we decided it would be more fun to go with a larger group. Guam could wait.

Rota is a very quiet island. It’s not the place to go if you’re looking for amusement parks and fancy restaurants; it is, however, the place to go if you’re looking for a beautiful, relaxing getaway. When we first arrived, we probably drove for 15 minutes without seeing any sign of civilization. When we finally made it to the “big city”, Songsong village, there were probably a total of 4 restaurants (all ma and pop’s), and I think we ate at all of them during our weekend stay. The people on Rota are about as nice as they come. It’s called the “Home of the handwaves” for a reason. I would say 4 of every 5 cars that passed gave us a friendly smile and a wave. At one of the restaurants, Robert mentioned that he liked their hot sauce so the owner just said, “Here, take a bottle.”

The thing I’ll remember most about Rota though is it’s raw beauty. Even our $50/night hotel had a gorgeous view of the ocean only a few steps away. We left the door open for most of the weekend so we could listen to the waves. I guess we have the ocean here in Saipan, but the waves are pretty puny here. Plus, there are a lot of dark colored rock formations all along the beach in Rota. I guess I prefer the soft white sand for beach strolling, but the beaches there were quite impressive to look at.

We also had a couple of humor highlights in Rota. Believe it or not, all of the rental cars were out so we had the pleasure of packing 7 people into a borrowed Toyota Camry. That meant 2 of us had to be the designated lap-sitters. During my lap time, I made the mistake of sticking my head out the window to conserve on space, and of course we got pulled over - not for the over-loaded car or for the lack of seatbelts, just, "keep all body parts in the car." From then on, we kept ourselves hidden behind tinted windows in our cozy sardine can.

Later in the trip, Eric, ever the comedian, decided to spice things up. Let me explain. During one of our adventures, this time to a waterfall, the group was split up so Eric decided to prepare for a dramatic reunion. Next thing I knew, he was taking off his shirt and I was helping him secure his palm leaf loincloth with vines (fortunately, he had shorts hidden under there). Next thing I knew, he was completely in character. No longer Eric, the law clerk, suddenly he was “Eric, the savage Rota warrior”. When the rest of the group arrived, he jumped, while crouching and grunting of course, from behind a tree with his wooden club and Reeboks. I can confidently say he struck fear in their eyes. We all thought it was hilarious, and, fortunately, we all have plenty of photo evidence.
All in all, it was a great trip! I could probably go on and on about all of the gorgeous things we saw, but it’s late, and I don’t want to bore you with descriptions. That’s what the pictures are for, right? Enjoy!
Pona Point - stunning (probably my favorite spot on Rota)

Songsong Village lookout (aka makeout point)

Bird Sanctuary

Taga Latte Stone Quarry (I'm a happy meditator)


Sitting on my harley in front of the ancient Chamorro Cave Museum


Swimming hole (another favorite spot on Rota)

22 November 2007

Thanksgiving Firsts

22 November 2007
Jonathan woke up at 4:30 in the morning to prepare this lovely bird.

French Silk Pie

This Thanksgiving was a Thanksgiving of firsts for me.
  • First time away from family.
  • First time being interviewed on the news.
  • First Thanksgiving in 85 degree weather.
  • First time having a smoked turkey (it was delicious!)
  • First time baking a french silk pie.
I hope you're all enjoying a fantastic holiday! Thanksgiving is already a thing of the past for us here on this side of the international date line, but a fond memory indeed. I spent the morning baking, the afternoon socializing, the evening eating, and the night - more eating. After a nice dinner at Jonathan's we ate entirely too much pie at "Pie Night". There were about 50 people there, and each family brought a pie. You can imagine the spread. It was fun for me to bake my first french silk pie entirely from scratch. As you can see from the photo (as it's melting in the sun), it could use some improvement, but there's always next year. And, it did get devoured rather quickly so let's hope that's a good sign.

And the fun is just beginning! Tomorrow we fly to Rota. That's the southernmost island of the Marianas, and it's supposed to be the least developed and the most gorgeous. Pop: 3000.

Stay tuned...

16 November 2007

Twilight Fan?

16 November 2007
Kristen Stewart was just cast as Bella for Twilight the movie. I don't know anything about her as an actress, but looks-wise, she's pretty close to the Bella that exists in my imagination. We all know the movie won't compare to the book, but I'm going to watch it anyway. Good luck finding Edward!

13 November 2007


13 November 2007
Eric had the car today. Whenever that happens, I tend to get restless - whether I have work or not. I've just never been good at sitting for long periods of time (I guess I'm in the wrong profession). So, I decided to go on a walk. And what better place to go than the beach? Laulau beach that is. It's one of my favorites, and it's only 2 or 3 miles away from our house. Last time I did this walk I made the mistake of not bringing a camera so I made up for it this time by taking about 100 pictures. I had the beach all to myself today!

12 November 2007

Old Man by the Sea

12 November 2007
Meet the "Old Man by the Sea". Amazing, no?
See the resemblance?
Karate Kid 12
This place was incredible! Getting there took a 20 minute hike through dense jungle, and we had exactly an hour to get there and back before dark. There's no way we could have made it out of that jungle in the dark. The path was really narrow, and we had to climb over and under branches and slip and stick in the mud. There were even a few spots where we had to use ropes to maneuver the slippery inclines and declines. It was definitely a worthwhile adventure though!

08 November 2007

New Ride

08 November 2007

We are officially an SUV family! We decided to replace our Altima with something more evenly matched to the rugged terrain on this island. We got an excellent deal on this Nissan Pathfinder, and we love it!