Guam is a United States territory in the western Pacific. It has military bases, quite a share of fast-food outlets for a place of its size, and petrol was (in 1999) cheap.
This is civilisation at its most western, and was a version of America where I didn’t expect to find it. It was easy to be a bit cynical about Guam, but this didn’t mean that Guam was devoid of any interest.Americanisation had imported lots of modern conveniences, and it was all the more less authentic an experience than I hoped for, because I could have been at any beachside resort from Coolangatta to Waikiki. It also reminded me in many ways of Okinawa. Especially in urbanised areas, I didn’t sense any overt uniqueness. I’m sure it’s under the surface there somewhere, but I didn’t have long enough to find it.
However, the main tourist centre on Guam has a good beach – Tumon Bay. The swimming there is great – the water is calm and clear. The only drawback – the commercialisation alongside.
It seemed that there is Old Guam – the legacy of Spanish colonialism. Then there is the New Guam – with modern trappings. I hired a car, braved American 4-way stop signs (what is it with those?? who goes first???) in a left-hand drive, and drove around the south of the island. I liked rural Guam, where for the most part tourists don’t seem to go, and the resorts are left behind.