Thursday, October 22, 2009

Random Facts About Guam

We have hit the two month mark as Guam residents. Over the past couple months I have composed a list of things about Guam that make it unique. Some are cool, some are not so cool, and some are just plain strange.
1. Everyone runs on "Chamorro time" or island time. This means everything is done at a much slower pace whether it be driving, preparing your food, or trying to fix a problem such as a busted dishwasher that is flooding your kitchen.
2. The highest speed limit is 45 although most non-locals drive at least 50. If you get pulled over, you are required to pay something like 5 dollars for every mph over the speed limit you went and that is it.
3. A Guamanian is someone who immigrated to the island. A Chamorro is someone who was born and raised here. Or something along those lines.
4. There are a ton of stray dogs here and they are called "boonie dogs." Some look stray and some look like perfectly cute puppies. They sometimes rome in packs and most are scared of humans. There is no rabies on Guam. As a dog lover this is particularly hard for me. I saw a boonie dog get hit by a car and it traumatized me for life. Jarrett thinks he is going to come home to a house full of boonie dogs.
5. The majority of tourists are from Japan. Hence why mostly everything is written in Japanese and English, at least down in Tumon which is the tourist area.
6. Everyone says "Hafa Adai!" Which is I guess the equivalent to people saying "Aloha" in Hawaii.
7. People like to hike around here, and if you go hiking at a place without a trail it is called "boonie stomping."
8. A crappy, rusted, beat up car is called a "boonie car." We own one!
9. Locals chew some strange tobaccos here. One called betelnut which turns your mouth red.
10. Most locals welcome outsiders but others are very territorial over their land, girls, beaches, certain hang out spots, etc.
11. The south end of the island is where a lot of the old locals live.
12. People complain about driving distances even though the island is only 30 miles long. For instance, someone came into the restaurant that I work at when we had just closed and they complained that they had driven all the way from Navy. A total of about 15 miles.
13. Spam is very popular.
14. Some locals tell me I look like Lindsay Lohan. I'm not sure whether or not to take that as a compliment considering well...many reasons.
16. The AC in most buildings is set at a chilly 65 or below. Making it this cold inside is not necessary regardless of the temperature outside. This causes me to bring a sweatshirt with me wherever I go even if it is 90 outside.
17. Guam is like the melting pot of Pacific Islanders. People come all over from Palau, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Samoa, Saipan, Rota, Tinian just to name a few.
18. Guam thinks the beer of America is Budweiser or Bud Light. They don't even ship Coors to the island.
19. Everything is a day later here even though we are a day ahead in time. TV programs shown on Monday nights in the states come on Tuesday nights here. This can get confusing and I often forget what day it is.
20. The motto is "Where America's day begins."
21. The roads are made of coral and they have a lot of potholes and frogs on them that get squished.
22. The guys I work with like to point out that I am often the only white person in the whole restaurant. And if a white person walks in, they announce that I am no longer the only white person.
23. People don't tip here. In fact, a 10% gratuity is charged to each bill at most restaurants because of this. At first I thought I was a bad waitress but then I figured this out. I had a $67 bill the other day and guess what my tip was? $0.00
24. Nobody uses street names here. All directions are given by landmarks. To illustrate this for you, when we were signing up for our utilities, each place made us draw a map of where our house is located so that they could find our house. When asking for directions the reply often sounds like this "turn right at the Mobil station, go through three stop lights, and then turn left at the dog tied to the tree."
25. The people of Guam live the island life. Reggae is blasted, flip flops are the shoe of choice, fruity drinks are sipped, bars on the beach are popular places to be, and the outdoors are enjoyed.
26. First birthdays are HUGE celebrations. Deaths are honored with rosaries and week long festivities. Cook outs on the beach are very popular. And fiestas are going on every weekend.

Well there you are. I could list more but I will save you. I could write a book. I am falling more in love with Guam, its people, and culture every day.


Mama Mote said...

I REALLY want to visit. The beach is all I need. That's great that you are falling more and more in love with your new place. You're right - some fun and some strange lifestyles. Love the directions. Well, you're ahead of me with a job. I'm still looking, but figure when a job comes, it comes and it will be just right for me. And I'm in no hurry. love you guys