Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Biba Guam!

66 years ago today, Guam was liberated from the Japanese by the US Marines.  Each year, on July 21, Guam celebrates its liberation.  Pretty much all of Guam shuts down and lines up for the parade down Marine Corps Drive.  In Guam, Liberation Day is a bigger deal than the 4th of July   Price and I went so we could see this,

Which was being led by this,

One of the things I enjoy most about Guam are the signs.  People here really express themselves through posters and placards.  Today was no exception.

A walking billboard.

I'm not sure if the sign above is referring to the anticipated military build up on Guam (you  know, the one that may cause the island to capsize) or what, but political signs addressed to senators are a common occurrence.

And then there was this one, with a very informative PSA.

Which obviously wasn't being observed by several parade participants.

Car seat in the back of a pick up.  Luckily, no kid is in it.

But wait, maybe the baby in the BUMBO ON TOP OF THE TRUCK would be better off in the back of the pick up?

In addition to the signage, we saw lots of palm frond hats, ancient Chamorro in loin cloths and one biker dude who was wearing spurs.

One of the best parts about Liberation Day is the food.  The parade route is a non-stop party, families begin camping out a few nights before the parade to get a spot.  They start cooking before the sun comes up.  And many of the families invite non-locals to share in their feasts.

We were lucky enough to be invited by these nice people,
There were two roasted pigs, bar-b-q chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, red rice, and too many desserts to count.  Plus, the best finadene sauce (it's a Guam specialty) I've ever had.  They welcomed us like family, handed us plates and wouldn't let us leave until our plates were loaded up and we had drinks in each hand.  It's the kindness of so many of the people here that makes it easier to be here, away from home.

But in case we needed a reminder that we aren't at home and are here, there were no horses in this parade (I cannot remember ever watching a parade with no horses), but there was this lizard.

I don't know, maybe there were some horses in the parade, we only stayed for the first 3 and a half hours of it.  It went on for two more hours after we left- hot, tired, stinky, sweaty, slightly sunburned, super thirsty.  But really happy that we got to experience another aspect of Guam's culture.  Thankful for the kind people who fed us.  Reflective of the Guamanians who lived under the rule of the Japanese for 3 years during WWII and the Marines who came and liberated them.

Happy Liberation Day!

Oh and he had fun too, watching his first parade... 


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