Saturday, May 12, 2018

Guam Vacation

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.


Mia said...

Hi, Pamela. I did not know that Guam is a US territory. I thought it was an exotic island, but as I see, it is not. I will be waiting to see the photos. Kisses, my friend.

Merlynn said...

You described USA so perfectly hahaha ! Do you sometimes miss it ?

kiwikid said...

Such a contrast to the Japanese way of life, looking forward to your photos

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela boy what a difference you experienced xx

Lin said...

So interesting to read your thoughts on the differences. xx

Vireya said...

Tattoos are a strange fashion, as they are not easy to get rid of once the fashion changes! There are tattoos everywhere here, too. But I think there will be a booming business in tattoo removals some time in the future.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I am interested on your opinion of Guam. Though it is a US territory, I don't find it an accurate comparison to the Midwest area I live in near South Bend Indiana. Most of the stores and restaurants here understand the competition is fierce and customer service and quality of goods is paramount. Of course their are exceptions, but they don't usually stay in business. I'll be interested to see the pictures you post. I have never thought of Guam as being an exotic island.

Tattoos are the rage here in the USA and have been for the last 20 years. My husband got tattoos while stationed in Korea during the Conflict when North Korea held the Pueblo. That was before tats were very acceptable. I got two when I was in my 30s when the fad was just catching on, but still had to hide them at work. Fads change, but piercings are still offensive.
xx, Carol

Leonore Winterer said...

I didn't know about Guam before, but I'm always happy to learn something new! You seem to feel very at home in Japan by now if all those things seem strange to you.