Guam for Dummies 1

Last week I completed the first sixth of my tour in Guam, a milepost that merits both drive-by reflection and ego-stroking. As it so happens, those are two pastimes I engage in frequently. For instance: having mulled over the details of the past four months, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that I’ve handled each and every situation flawlessly. It’s been said just now that I’m known for long streaks of flawlessness, but this last streak is a cut above the rest. In fact, its been such an expose of perfection that I can do no less than proudly submit the following as the first installment of what will soon be a world-famous playbook for any traveler who’s bags are labeled “Destination Guam”.


The first order of business when arriving in Guam is to join everyone else as an unpaid extra in the honeymoon photos of giggling Japanese newlyweds. This is easily accomplished as it does not require your cooperation. That said, being unprepared for your impending stardom can hamstring an otherwise idyllic evening on the strip. If you find the incessant, seizure-inducing flickering to be bothersome, just do what I do and think of each flash as a little rising sun. I believe the words you’re looking for are, “domo arigato”.

Next on the docket is buying a car. The roads in Guam can be unforgiving, and many people drive Jeeps for the durability and, uh, coolness-factor. Jeep owners are veritable founts of unsolicited advice, so preemptively defy them by splurging on a 1997 Saab 9000. Go big or go home, I always say, and my odometer is registering a (cough) pretty big number. This car will set you apart as a person who refuses to be pinned down by practicality or style.

Full disclosure: the very first time I drove this jalopy, I did have a tiny mishap. Whilst I cruised through the delightful traffic, charming craters, and carefree sheets of tropical rain that make Guam’s single highway so endearing, I suddenly noticed the sound of something ominous brewing beneath me. Just when I had it narrowed down to “nothing to worry about” and “one of my wheels is about to go native”, the unmistakable sensation of a wheel falling off brought me and my thoughts to a grinding halt.

The experience taught me a lot about myself and even more about the convenience of shady towing companies and chop shops. Sure, some people say that Guam is just a turd in the Pacific punch bowl, but I say this island is brimming with life lessons and adventure.


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