Guam is tropical but definitely not a paradise. Guam is situated in the west pacific about 13 degrees north of the equator. Temperatures are hot and humid year round with temperatures in the 80';s and 90's. Trade winds blow during the dry season and offer some cooling. During the wet season, rain and thunder storms occur frequently and with intensity. They disrupt computers and cell phone service. Typhoons are always a threat. One major one occurs every 8-10 years. Minor ones occur too, as well as earth quakes. Houses are constructed like concrete bunkers to with stand the typhoons. . Windows have shutters.
The military dominates the island with its naval and air bases. Troops deploy from Guam.
Security is tight. The military routinely changes civilian flight
plans to accommodate its needs for airplanes. The island people, the
Chamorro, do not like the military.
Unemployment on Guam is higher than on the U.S. mainland. Employment comes from three sources: military, tourism and Guam
government. All civilian job applications must go through the
Department of Administration (DOA) where they are rated for
qualifications. There is much favoritism with jobs going to island
relatives who are not qualified. The outsider job applicants refer to
their job applications as (DOA), dead on arrival when they reach this
Roads are poorly maintained and congested. Drivers don't follow the
Rules of the Road. Accidents involving pedestrians are commonplace. The
police fail to enforce traffic rules.
Land line phone service is unreliable. Most residents resort to cell phones. Cell phone service from Guam to the U.S. mainland is questionable at times.
Cost of Living
The cost of living is high because everything has to be imported. Gas,
grocery and electricity are particularly high. Shortages occur
routinely. People learn to stock up on the basics when they can.
Housing is cheap. However, this will change when the military moves its forces from Japan to Guam.
The public school system at all levels is terrible. Teachers are
understaffed and underpaid. Teachers teach without the requisite degrees
and some of them are hardly older than the students they teach.
Except for the military, health care is poor as well. Patients wait a
long time for appointments. The island lacks equipment such as MRI
machines. Testing is done on the island, but results must be sent to
the mainland for analysis.
Dogs roam the streets uncontrolled. If a dog is hit by a car, nothing
is done to remove it. Dogs, especially black ones, are a food delicacy
among some cultures on the island.
The native people are called Chamorro. Other people make up the
population such as Japanese, Korean, Pilipino and Vietnamese. English
and Chamorro are the official languages. Guam is a territory of the U.S. It uses U.S. currency and the U.S. postal service. However, if you are going to send a package to Guam from the U.S. you need a customs form.
Tourism and recreation
Tourism is big business in Guam. Guam
was once occupied by the Japanese. Japanese World War II bunkers are
the biggest attraction. Parts of the island are very beautiful
including the beaches and water. Guam boasts many water parks. Many hotels and apartment complexes have swimming pools.
Travel to Guam
Passports are required to travel to Guam
from the U.S. Flights typically depart from San Francisco. The first
leg of the trip is San Francisco to Hawaii then, Hawaii to Guam. The
whole trip takes approximately 14 hours.
Festivals and holidays
Guam celebrates many
festivals. Guam is Catholic and celebrates all the saints" days. It
celebrates its own independence day. Very little work is done in the
month of December because of the Christmas holidays.
If you are an intense, type a personality, stay away from Guam. You will be frustrated all the time. Things get done very slowly there if at all.