Which continent is Guam on

(M) a dream come true .... world tour!

Travel period: June 2013 - April 2014 | by Rolf Bilo

Guam, non-incorporated part of the USA

Strange legal status - am I in the US or not?

Originally, Guam was not on my planned route at all, but if you do "island hopping" in the western Pacific to explore Micronesia, you will not get past Guam. Almost all flight connections in this region go through the airport of Guam, in all directions. And so I made a virtue out of necessity and immediately planned a week in Guam, based on the fact that after 3 months of travel I will be happy to find technology, shopping and, if necessary, medical care in "civilization", if it is then would be necessary.

Shopping was ok, some of the technology failed because the 110 V and tri-band system knocked out my cell phone, and luckily I didn't need medical help.

Well, a week in Guam was too long for me, the island is something for divers, shoppers and honeymooners (most of them come here from Japan and Korea). Nevertheless, it is an interesting island with a lot to discover.

After the Spanish-American War of 1898, Guam belonged to the USA, but was not incorporated into the territory. During World War II, the Japanese conquered this island too, until they were recaptured by the Americans in 1944. Today Guam is the most important US base in the Pacific, around 53% of the island is military territory. In the north there is a large air force base, on which B 52 long-range bombers are also stationed. There is a large navy base in the south. Guam's economy is largely dependent on military base-related jobs and tourism from Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and the United States. As a result, nobody works in agriculture or fishing. All foods are imported.

Even after the war, Guam's status remained special; Guam is a "non-incorporated territory and outer territory of the USA", the people here are citizens of the USA, but are not allowed to vote, are only represented in the House of Representatives in an advisory capacity and have internal autonomy. Guamese also serve in the US Army. For me, a constitutional construct that is a little difficult to understand. But the way of life here is absolutely comparable to that in an American town.

As on many other Pacific islands, many relics from World War II can still be found on Guam. However, the status as well as the military presence ensures that these relics are not just standing around, but are embedded in national parks and thus cared for and signposted. There are also many memorials, sometimes just a small plaque. There are also military-historical peculiarities, after the fighting and the final reconquest by the US Army, some Japanese soldiers hid in the jungle. Three of them are known by name and were friends with each other. Two of them died of food poisoning and were found back in the 1950s. The last Japanese soldier, Sergeant Yokoi, was only discovered by locals in 1972 and then returned to civilization. He lived in caves and on what he could find in the jungle. The cave can be visited today, but on my tour it was flooded because of the heavy rains of the last few days; besides, I would probably not have paid an entrance fee of US $ 23 for a look into a tiny hole in the ground.

The American way of life determines life on Guam: it becomes very obvious in the streetscape, you hardly see any pedestrians and there are hardly any footpaths next to the streets; all routes are covered by car. Then there are plenty of shopping malls where everyday life takes place. Everything is under one roof: shopping, games, eating, leisure time. And then there is beach life on very narrow beaches, because there has to be space for parking in front of it, you prefer to drive into the water by car. There is a public bus service, but it is extremely unattractive, you have to reserve it by phone, the buses only run every hour and take strange routes. Spontaneous journeys are therefore not possible. As an alternative, you can use the many private buses that connect the shopping malls with each other. But here, too, there is the American freezing problem - which still bothered me -: Air conditioning in the bus, in the mall, actually everywhere is cooled down to 17-18 C, although the outside temperature is over 30 ° C. Everyone sniffles and coughs, but you need AC. By the way, my cold is gone.

Because I have plenty of time in Guam, I take it easy and do some everyday things like buying new pants and new shoes. But of course I also take a look at the island, to which I join an organized tour twice, during which the most important spots on the island can be seen. I explore the surrounding area - I live in a hotel in Tamuning - on foot, i.e. both the capital Hagatna south of here and the northern town of Tumon can be easily reached by foot (at least for Europeans).

My first tour is rather short because I arrive in Guam in the middle of the night, the immigration takes a little longer (the US entry regulations apply, i.e. ESTA procedure) and I therefore sleep until noon. But for 2 ½ hours I walk a first loop through Tamuning, of course I pass the fire brigade, where I have a short chat, and then I walk to the beach, to the visitor's center. The information there is rather sparse, so I walk on along the beach, then back towards town and end up in the "Guam Pacific Outlet" (GPO), a shopping mall that has a landmark character here. In between I keep seeing "native locals" with their almost characteristic fullness. They are called Chamorros and represent around 30% of the local population.

In the next few days I see the landing sites of the Spaniards (under Magellan) from the 16th century, the Japanese (1941) and the Americans (1944), remnants of the Spanish colonial times, which are more likely for the more than 300-year history of the Spanish occupation turn out sparse, and then a lot of beautiful landscapes. In the middle of the island you can see volcanic mountains, beautifully overgrown, partly with steep cliffs towards the sea. And then there are always beautiful bays to see. Occasionally rocks in which Japanese protective caves and bunkers were dug.

During my visit to the fire station, the firefighter who showed me around told me that the Guamese are "lousy drivers" and that the main range of operations of the fire brigade, which consists exclusively of full-time employees, are traffic accidents. I got this impression confirmed several times in one week, if you need 1.5 hours to drive around the island, it can't be far with the driving skills. It's not just that motorists are frightened when they see a pedestrian, people drive like the hangman here. And so I passed an accident on my tour and had to provide first aid. A lady had strayed from the street in a tropical downpour and hit a power pole and knocked her over.

On the tour I learn another specialty of Guam from the guide: in the port of the capital, two sunk ships lie almost on top of each other, which come from two different countries and were sunk in two different world wars. One is the German cruiser Comoran, whose crew members, who died in 1917, are buried in a nearby US Navy military cemetery, and a Japanese freighter that was sunk in 1944.

I like Guam, even if it's relatively expensive. But it is worth it to have been here once. Tomorrow morning I continue, the Marshall Islands are my next destination. An 8 hour flight in a Boeing 737 with three (!) Stopovers awaits me.

The flags of the USA and Guams on Firestation No. 1 in Tamuning

Emergency fire engine

A first look at the coast of Guam, here to the north at the "two-lovers-point"

Food mile in the Guam Pacific Outlet, the most important shopping mall in Tamuning

Weird freaks run around here too

Statue of Liberty commemorating the liberation by US forces in 1944 on Hagatna Beach

A Spanish gun; At this strategically important point with a wide view of the sea and the beach, the Japanese had also built their coastal position

Latte-of-freedom memorial; The foundation pillars for traditional houses in Guam are called latte

On Guam, the US National Park Administration has prepared a park made up of 7 sections for "war in the pacific"

Japanese gun on the Asanbeach section where US forces landed in 1944

Information boards describe the events during the Battle of Guam in the original locations

The Japanese leadership had set up coastal batteries and command posts on several hills; from here you still have a wide view today

This museum with Japanese and American exhibits was created on the private initiative of a former US marine

US ambulance

Remains of a Japanese bomber; the middle part is still in the jungle and could not be recovered because of the inaccessibility

Well hidden by vegetation, Japanese prisoners of war have carved protective caves and bunkers in the island's rocks.

The caves are narrow and low, but well ventilated and interconnected.

A diving hotel bus

The beach in Hagatna - hardly used on weekdays, as tourists prefer to use the hotel beaches

A memorial stone for the SMS Comoran, sunk in 1917, as well as the graves of soldiers who perished in connection with the sinking can be found on the Navy cemetery in Hagatna.

There are also some traditional outrigger boats at Hagatnas harbor

Chamorro village with restaurants, food stalls and souvenir shops ...

... but which probably serve more to keep this population group from drinking and hanging around

The old Spanish bridge in the "spanish village" of the capital Hagatna

View of spanish village with the cathedral, the monument to Pope John Paul II and the freedom monument

The cathedral, which the "travel" Pope has already visited

View through the Plaza-de-Espana, which is the center of spanish-village

These foundation stones are called laths, on which a base plank is laid, on which long houses are then built

Old Japanese protective bunker in a park, which later received the symbol for a nuclear shelter ...

Between the Spanish village and the Hagatnas shopping mall there is a rock that was also hollowed out by the Japanese

These buses connect the shopping malls with each other and they can be used to get around the site.

In front of the naval base in southwest Guam is another part of the War-in-the-Pacific-Parc, here with a Japanese submarine

Agatbeach and Ga'an Point, also landing beaches

Japanese bunker on Agat Beach

The Talifak Bridge built by the Spaniards

On the island tour I also came into the mountains, here we are driving towards the Lam-Lam (just over 400 m high)

The Spanish navigator Magellan landed in this bay at the southern end of Guam in 1521 and took possession of Guam

The San Dionisio Church, which was founded by the Spanish, but has since been rebuilt

The Magellan Monument

A Chamorro, a so-called native-local. The local population is extremely overweight

Here in the south there are also blossoms and flowers

The old Spanish fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad is located above Magellan's landing bay

The "bear rock" in Agfahan Bay in southern Guam

There is a natural swimming pool in Inarajan

Long, straight and little-traveled country roads stretch across the island ...

... and still the "lousy-drivers" hit a power pole, so that first aid has to be provided ...

... until the paramedics come from the nearest fire station.

I could not visit the cave of the Japanese soldier Yokoi, who hid from the Americans for 27 years until 1972, because it had flooded due to the heavy rains of the last few days.

This "two-lovers-point" is particularly popular with the Japanese and Koreans; There is a nice and trivial fairy tale about a local couple who threw themselves to their death here over 300 years ago because they were not allowed to marry.

There are love locks not only on Cologne Rhine bridges, but also on Guam!

Koreans prefer to kiss oxen ...

... instead of enjoying the great view!

The place is a popular photo spot for wedding pictures

The international (civil) airport of Guams is relatively central, but there are no pedestrian walkways.

Departure from Guam ...

... and there you come across a B 52 bomber!

What's the matter?:
After more than 30 years my dream will come true: my trip around the world, the trip around the world, will begin shortly. Around the world for a year, seeing as much as possible, all continents ..... The countdown is on
Duration:11 months
Destinations: Ethiopia
South Sudan
Brunei Darussalam
Hong Kong
United States
Northern Mariana Islands
Marshall Islands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Cook Islands
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
El Salvador
Great Britain
Netherlands Antilles
Trinidad and Tobago
French Guiana
Cape Verde
Western Sahara
From the guest book (3/96):
julian wengler 1616024884000
I have no question, just get upset about your disrespectful, uninformed, arrogant comment. Apparently someone who only sees everything through his own glasses. Then why don't you just stay at home! Or obese in Singapore?
Rudi Gerber 1531560350000
I have no question, just get upset about your disrespectful, uninformed, arrogant comment. Apparently someone who only sees everything through his own glasses. Then why don't you just stay at home! Or obese in Singapore?
Thanks for your answer. Already clear that it took a while.
I'm an artist and I'm always on the go, sometimes in Asia, sometimes in the Caribbean. Try to travel in a way that is fun and being around people is important to me, travelers and locals. Contact me if I could break more details, again lg Geza