Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Island of Guam

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.

Military Presence

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.

Employment


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 government agency.

Traffic Congestion

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.

Phone Service

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

Housing is cheap. However, this will change when the military moves its forces from Japan to Guam.

Schools

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.

Health Care

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.

Animal Control


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.

Population


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.

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