What to Expect from Guam?


You’re in the military, or coming here for some other work-related reason from the United States?  Yes?

You will either love it or hate it.

It looks different/nice: All the palm and coconut trees.  This black algae gets on all the building making it look dirty.  No tall buildings.  No highways.  35 mph speed limit everywhere.  We have power, water, cable, phones, internet.  But it’s pretty dark at night; no street lights.  The buildings are all concrete boxes.  Same types of cars.  Most of the people are brown or yellow.  But no one will look at you strangely if you are Caucasian, African-American, or Hispanic.  Guam is a truly diversified place tolerant of racial differences.

It’s inconvenient/convenient: The pace is slow here.  Guam is techno-phobic.  Not really, but we still do things the old fashion way.  Expect long lines.  Pay bills in person.  Drive everywhere to do business or errands.  In the States, you just call to hook up services and utilites.  Not here.  Things get done much, much slower here too.  People don’t speak proper English here, so they may be hard to work with.  Also, a lot of people don’t know what they are doing.  So again, getting things done may be a problem.  Not much traffic here, though.  Also parking is never a problem.  The people are actually very friendly and nice.  Very hospitable.  I’ve heard so, so many times that the people on Guam are the treasure.

It’s expensive/inexpensive: Food is imported.  Not much local farming.  Most local produce found at the Dededo Flea Market.  So expect to pay when you go grocery shopping.  Electronics are priced high.  Power and water is expensive.  Cellphones are about the same.  It’s a humble place, down to earth.  Not a Hollywood.  So clothes from Macy’s or Kmart is good.  But if you want to buy Gucci, LV, or Christian Dior.  We have that too down by the hotels.  We dont’ have high tax here so goods and food is generally cheaper.  Guam is also a tax haven.  Especially for property.  Property taxes are only 1% of ‘assessed value’ (much lower than market value) on buildings and .5% of assessed value on land.  But rent is expensive for what you get.  Houses are also kind of expensive for what you are getting…compared to the States.

It’s a different economy: The unemployment in the States is now about 11%?  Well, Guam was always about 13-15% unemployed.  Most people here only make about $10 -15,000 a year.  How about that?  And much of the population is on public assistance.  That’s good news for business people.  They could open businesses here with lower labor costs.  But the goal is to raise the standard of living on Guam.  But surprisingly, people for the most part are content here.  We don’t have much robberies or burgerlies compared to the States.

It’s small/big: It’s small if you think of it as just Guam.  When you feel like going somewhere, there’s no where to go!  You can only drive around Guam when you feel claustrophobic.  But if you think of Guam as a hub to Asia, you could go to Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Philippines, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macao, Korea, etc…all over the weekend for relatively not that much.  Maybe $5,000 for the weekend or week.  What an opportunity to travel.

It’s fun/boring: It can be boring.  But there’s plenty to do.  The diving is world-class.  Hiking is fun.  Duty free shopping is at it’s best here.  Regular shopping is pretty good.  We got a few malls here.  Travel to Asia is great!  The golf here is phenomenal…7 golf courses!  Food is very good at the hotels.  The asian cuisine is very good.  But there isn’t much diversity in the food.  No Cajun, Mediterranean food, or Greek food…etc…There are movie theaters here.  Internet is pretty fast, so you can game online.  There is cable television from the States.  We have nightlife here too.

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  2. jchenwa

     /  September 1, 2009

    Thank you!

  3. jchenwa

     /  January 8, 2011

    In response to the number of hits on this post, if you want or need more information of Guam, please visit: http://www.guide2guam.wordpress.com

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