Guam: Tano Y Chamorro
Posted by Heliocentrism on February 28, 2010
February 22-23, 2010
Can We See Point Udall?
This is the question we asked at the Naval Base Guam Navel Security Force. The initial response was, “Point what?” I had to explain what I wanted.
You see, I was born in the USVI on the island of St. Croix. St. Croix, like Guam, is a US territory that has been colonized by many countries. On this island that was my home for the first 16 years of my life, there is a point which is the easternmost point of the US. It is called Point Udall.
My Point Udall was named after Steward Udall. Why was this point named after a senator from Arizona who had nothing to do with the USVI or USVI politics? Well, I don’t know. But not only did he get this point named after him, his little brother got a point named after him as well. Guam’s Point Udall was named after Mo Udall.
I’ve been to Point Udall, or Udall Point as it was called when I lived in the VI, many times. I thought it would be cool to visit the other Point Udall, which is the westernmost part of the US.
I told all this to the man at the counter in charge of giving day passes to civilians accompanied by military personnel on base. He had never heard of the place and thought we wanted to see Udoll Island. I’m not sure if Udall Point and Udoll Island are related since the spelling is different. But Point Udall is also known by its former name “Point Orote”.
Where’s my rock?
That’s where we met Officer Tomasiak. He introduced himself as the only Japanese-American on the Guam police force. He thought it was so strange that we would want to see such an ordinary thing as Orote Point, that he stopped to listen to my story. Then he officially escorted us onto the base.
He took us in his pick-up. We got to the entrance to Orote Point, but there was a guard there and a sign that said, “restricted access”. He drove us around the base to find spots where we could try to see the point. He even let us stand on his truck. But we could not see Point Udall.
Eating in Disappointment.
For dinner that night, Mark and I found a nice Korean restaurant and ate some 감자탕. You have no idea how much I love 감자탕! It almost made up for not seeing point Udall, almost…
* “Tano y Chamorro” means Land of the Chamorro. It’s what’s on the license plates here.
How to get there:
You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.
I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.
- Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
- Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)
- Crash Course:
- CGP Grey:
- Mental Floss:
- American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
- Area 51
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- Dandelion Wine
- Girl in Translation
- The Hemingses of Monticello
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
- The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
- Notes from a Big Country
- One Summer: America, 1927
- Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes
- Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
- That’s Not In My American History Book
- A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
- The Water Is Wide
- Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
- It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.
How to Get There:
From Bangkok –
- The best airline that I found to get to Guam from Bangkok was Philippines Airline.
- There’s a long stop over in Manila’s airport.
Guam has one commercial airport, the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport. It’s near Hagatna.
You pretty much have to fly into Guam. There are not boats, and trains are just ridiculous.
- Guam is a territory of the United States. This means that if you are American, you do not need a passport to travel to Guam.
- If you are not an American, then you will need the same visa to enter Guam that you would need to get into the continental United States.
- The people of Guam are United States citizens, just at a better climate.
- You can only us US dollars here.
- I recommend renting a car unless you are with a tour group.
- Although Guam is a small island, it is not anywhere small enough to just walk around.
- The beaches here are great.
- There are 2 military bases on the island.
- Forget about seeing Point Udall. Just forget it!
- 13°28’26.0″N 144°45’06.0″E
- The Spanish plaza is in Hagatna off Route 1 between Seaton Blvd and Murray Blvd.
Agana, Guam, Mariana Islands
- Everything is pretty much out in the open and can be viewed at any time.
- 13°28’20.9″N 144°45’06.5″E
- The stones are behind the Plaza de Espana on Santo Papa Juan Dos street.
- Everything is out in the open and can be seen at any time.
- I’m not sure what they were used for.
- 13°27’57.3″N 144°42’39.4″E
There are many parks that make up this National park.
The one in the picture to the right is in Asan off Route 1, past the Governor’s Office but before the Fish Eye Marine Park Observatory.
135 Murray Boulevard
Hagåtña, Guam 96910
Phone: (671) 477-7278
- 7:00 – 17:00
- Always available.
- There is a WWII Japanese Navy Transport ship, the Aratama Maru, sunk in this bay.
- It was brought down by an American submarine, the USS Seahorse, on April 8, 1944.
- It took 18 years for the Aratama Maru to completely sink.
Statue of Gadao
- 13°16’32.9″N 144°44’53.5″E
- This statue is in the village of Inarajan on Route 4. Don’t drive too fast, or you’ll miss it.
- The statue is out in the open and can be visited at any time.
- Gadao is a legendary hero of the island of Guam.
- He is said to have made the painting in Gadao’s Cave.
- There is a little village nearby. If you visit early enough in the day (Before 17:00) you can walk through and buy local food.
Ypao Beach Park
- 13°30’13.8″N 144°47’31.3″E
- This beach is in Tamuning off of Route 14. It’s not very far from the Hilton and right in front of the Gov. Joseph Flores Beach Park.
255 Gun Beach Tumon, Guam 96911
- This is a great beach for snorkeling. It gets deep very quickly and there are tons of fish everywhere. Mark got many pictures of fish with his waterproof camera.
- If you do go to this beach, or any beach in Guam, DO NOT go out to the breakers. They look pretty, but do not leave the calm water. The current out there is very strong and many tourists have died. There are also many coral reefs. Corral can be very sharp and you don’t want to be pushed into corral by strong waves.
- There is a large picnic area at this beach. I don’t remember whether or not there were any grills. There is also an open shower (no walls) to rinse off sand. But unfortunately there are no changing rooms. As far as I could see there is no charge to use any of the facilities.
- 13°25’20.2″N 144°40’30.9″E
- This is in Santa Rita at the end of Route 1 right before the Naval Base.
- (671) 333-405
- This is part of the War in the Pacific National Historical Park, so much of the information is the same as the entry above.
If you’ve read some of my blog entries like the one about the Seodaemun Prison or the one about the Hangil Memorial Hall, you already know that Japan was up to some no good shenanigans during the early part of the last century. I know they are very friendly and polite now, but back in the day they were dead set on expanding their territory.
One of the places they had their eyes on was the little island of Guam. They wanted the Americans out. At the time, the US didn’t think much of Guam, until they lost it. Before WWII Guam was just one of the spoils of war from the Spanish American War in 1898. They never thought of it as being a crucial spot from which to watch Japan.
When the Japanese invaded Guam on December 8, 1941, the Americans had already run away, leaving the Chamorro people to defend themselves. The Japanese occupied Guam for 31 months. During this time many of the Chamorro people were tortured, enslaved, and killed.
The US did return and recaptured the island on July 21, 1944. Very few Japanese soldiers surrendered or allowed themselves to be taken. Many of them died by way of suicide.
Shortly after this the US enacted the Guam Organic Act in 1950. This gave the Guamese US citizenship. Why they were not considered US citizens before is beyond me.
But now let me get to a quite interesting story, indeed. During the Battle of Guam when the US took back its land in the Pacific, there were more than 18,000 Japanese killed and less than 500 captured. There was one Japanese soldier that was neither killed nor captured. Well… actually there were ten of them.
The last of the ten, who remained in the jungles of Guam for about 27 years after the war ended was Shoichi Yokoi. His last fellow soldiers died 8 years before he was discovered.
Yokoi stayed hidden the Talofofo cave even after reading leaflets dropped from planes informing him that the war was over. Why didn’t he come out of hiding? It might have something to do with his first quote since returning to Japan. “It is with much embarrassment that I have returned alive.”
Yokoi was just the 3rd to last Japanese WWII soldier to surrender. The other two were hiding out in the Philippines and Taiwan.
This is a book written about Yokoi’s life, but is now out of print.
- 13°26’45.8″N 144°37’09.3″E
You can’t. So just forget about it..
On the military base in a restricted area.
Point Udall is the Westernmost part of the US. There is a small monument that people used to be able to visit. A US Naval Base, has since been built there, so there is no hope of any mere civilian or any military personnel without the right clearance of ever seeing it.
Maybe one day it will be opened up to the public once again.