One day visiting the USA

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of Guam  ,
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

He Said:

Guam is the furthest you can get from North America and still be in US territory. After spending over nine months out of the US, it was more than a bit surreal to go from Hong Kong last night, then this morning be sitting in a Guam diner eating a hearty breakfast of steak and eggs, surrounded by English speaking staff and patrons, and listing to a soundtrack of "Air Supply" playing on the restaurant stereo!

Before I continue, here is the back-story about why Guam is "Where America starts its day". Although inhabited by the Chamorro people since around 1500 B.C., Guam became a Spanish colony after Magellan landed in 1521, and was later given to the USA as part of the settlement of the Spanish-American War in 1898. In 1941, it was taken over by the Japanese and not recovered by American troops until 1944 after a lot of brutal fighting. Ironically enough, is still under siege from the Japan, although now from their tourists fiercely combating for duty-free bargains! Over a million Japanese a year visit Guam to take advantage of the low prices on luxury goods, nice resorts, and decent beaches. Think of it as the Japanese Bahamas.

Besides tourism the major industry here is based around the large US Navy base. If the Hawaiian island of Maui and Fayetteville, North Carolina were to have a child together, chances are it would look a lot like Guam. The island has the high rise resort hotels, souvenir shops, upscale boutiques, lush greenery, and nice beaches of Maui while once you get off the beaches you'll find the beer joints, go-go bars, tattoo parlors, and nondescript strip malls of any community near a military base.  It's just weird to see all of that in a small outpost so far out here in the Pacific!!!

Our layover in Guam was only for twelve hours. We rented a car, and honestly a dozen hours was about all the time we needed. I was glad to finally see Guam (and finally be able to get a Chalupa Combo at Taco Bell!), but there are far prettier and interesting islands in this region to Palau, the one we are flying to tonight!

She Said:

Hmmm...Guam....I would say skip Guam unless you have to go there to make a connecting flight.  It's not that there is anything wrong with it...the sand is white and the water is clear and's just that there are so many better places that aren't so far away from home.  And there was something slightly seedy about it.  I guess it was the mix of strip clubs and tattoo shops dotted in with the run-down bars and the 80's style version of several American fast food chains (the Pizza Hut with the 8 ft roof, Wendy's with the giant orange haired Wendy on the sign, and Taco Bell in an Alamo-style brick building complete with an actual bell) that made it seem like the American city that time forgot.  Add that to the Mall of Micronesia with it's kiddie train ride going though the middle of the mall and the stores selling airbrushed t-shirts, and it really felt like 1985.  We did make a trip to the US Post Office there, and I must say that the postal workers in Guam seem a bit happier than their bitter counterparts in New Jersey!
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carmen on

If you were so unhappy while you were here, please do not bother to return.
Didn't your mother ever teach you, "if you can't say anything nice, then keep your damn mouth shut!"

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