I visited Guam during my Golden Week vacation. As you may know, Guam is a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean. The unofficial motto is "Where American Begins" because it is so close to the international dateline. The island is 30 miles long and 4 to 12 miles wide.
This was my first US trip since I moved to Japan six and a half years ago. I expected a gorgeous exotic island, but I was disappointed by the run down, neglected look to everything. After living in Japan, some things were surprising or even shocking.
1. Everyone speaks English!
2. The look of American money has changed since I saw it last. Maybe the bills have enhanced anti-counterfitting features or maybe the pictures have changed?
3. Vehicles drive on the right side of the road and the vehicles are so large.
4. No convenience stores or drink machines. In Japan there are convenience stores and drink machines on every block. (How convenient!) To buy a cold drink, I had to go to a grocery store in Guam.
5. Almost everyone had tattoos and there were more tattoo shops in Guam than convenience stores in Japan. Tattoos are frowned upon in Japan because of the association with the Yakuza (mafia).
6. Poor service and attitude of restaurant servers and store clerks. At one restaurant I visited, there were two tables of people waiting ahead of me while the hostess was talking on the telephone. She did not look up or acknowlege us until she finished her conversation. Maybe slow service is part of the island culture?
7. Tips or gratuity. In Japan there isn't the practice of tipping and service people do an incredible job. In Guam, the tip is automatically added to the bill.
8. Huge portions and high price. I would much rather have half the food at half the cost.
9. American chain restaurants. I had forgotten how many there are!
I'll have pictures and stories of my trip in the days ahead. I did some sightseeing and a little shopping. I enjoyed the beautiful views and learning about the history of Guam.