Jeez, what is there to say about Guam that I haven’t already said the first time around? It’s hard to summarize this place when I’ve only had 7 days total in port, but I’ll try my best. Guam is a filthy shithole of an island; besides its strategic location, I’m not sure why this place is even “America”. It feels somewhat like America, and English is spoken by almost all (even if it’s hard to understand), but it’s just not really the United States.
Essentially, Guam is a big strip of expensive shops that Japanese tourists come to; signs are mostly in English with Japanese translations, and the people are 90% Japanese in this area. Very strange. Next, as soon as you’re away from the expensive shops, the rest of the island, from what I can see, is a ghetto full of strip clubs and bars, with little distinction between the two.
Let me talk about this strange cultural custom: the “Mama-san”. Essentially, all restaurants and bars have a fat 40+ Asian woman that is the “big boss” of the store. Not necessarily the manager or owner, but a middle-man between you and the drinks, you and the food, or you and whatever product. They exist, for some reason, but I don’t understand why. Their goal is to make you buy them drinks, food, etc., and to spend more money. They come to you and hassle you for the entire duration you are there, and will get greatly offended if you don’t play her games.
“Oh you don’t care about Mama? You give me a tip! You buy me drink!”
“No. I don’t care about Mama.”
Then they tell you to leave. Screw that noise. The only thing I accomplished in Guam was shopping at the NEX, Navy Exchange, and getting drunk off their over-priced drinks in town. It is somehow far more expensive to do anything in Guam than it is Hawaii, which is already too expensive. This in spite of the people in Guam seemingly having nothing to their name and a run down, filthy town. If I never go back to Guam, it’ll be too soon.
So, Guam has always been described to me as a more ghetto Hawaii with nothing to do but go to strip clubs and bars. After visiting Guam for a total of a day, I can say that this seemed accurate. There are clubs and bars all over, and it kind of felt like the wild west of the pacific. It is strange to think of this as America, as it felt even less American than Hawaii (or Australia, for that matter.)
When we pulled in, we were actually moored to a submarine tender, the USS Frank Cable, which we had to cross to get out to the pier. I’m obviously not a surface guy because it seemed like an entirely foreign concept. There are special passageways just for officers. And, certain lingo that I wasn’t really familiar with. I got shouted at “DOG ZEBRA” when walking through their ship. I had no idea what this meant until I had some boot camp flash back about shutting, or “dogging”, certain doors with big red “Z” markers on them. Strange folk, those surface guys.
It’s hard to come up with much to say about the place besides that it was a much needed opportunity to get a beer or three and just be off the boat. I ate at Outback Steakhouse (Ha, just like Australia right?) and that’s my only real memorable highlight.
I will say it was neat going to the famous Submariner bar, the Horse and Cow, a bar filled with all sorts of submarine gear presumably stolen, er, borrowed, from boats coming and going. There was even a USS Hawaii banner from the last time the boat was there on Westpac 2012. I made sure to sign it so that when I never go back, I can have Pendergrass tell me if it’s still there during Westpac 2017. Haha. Their notable drink is a bluish bottle of something strong called “Nukewaste”, which was delicious and deadly. Very fitting, I suppose.
There’s probably more to Guam, but we pulled in and left in a hurry. When you’re a Nuke, it means you’re working the entire shutdown and then the entire start up, losing essentially another day all together. I’d have almost rather not pulled in because it wasn’t worth the hassle. But, the beers did taste good.