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Archive for the ‘Hagåtña’ Category

Guam: Tano Y Chamorro

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 28, 2010

February 22-23, 2010

All Pictures

It’s over there!

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”.

I think I can see the thing blocking Point Udall…

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.

감자탕!

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.

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

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.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

Guam

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.

Websites:

Notes:

  • 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!

Plaza de Espana

How to get there:

  • 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.

Address:

Agana, Guam, Mariana Islands

Websites:

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Everything is pretty much out in the open and can be viewed at any time.

Latte Stone

How to get there:

  • 13°28’20.9″N 144°45’06.5″E
  • The stones are behind the Plaza de Espana on Santo Papa Juan Dos street.

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Everything is out in the open and can be seen at any time.

Note:

  • I’m not sure what they were used for.

War in the Pacific National Historical Park

How to get there:

  • 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.

Address:

Superintendent
135 Murray Boulevard
Hagåtña, Guam 96910

Phone: (671) 477-7278

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • 7:00 – 17:00

Talofofo Bay

How to get there:

  • 13°20’14.1″N 144°46’00.1″E
  • On Route 4 in Talofofo. It’s near Inarajan.

Website

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Always available.

Notes:

  • 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

How to get there:

  • 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.

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • The statue is out in the open and can be visited at any time.

Notes:

  • 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

How to get there:

  • 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.

Address:

255 Gun Beach Tumon, Guam 96911
Mariana Islands

Cost:

  • Free

Notes:

  • 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.

The T. Stell Newman Visitor Center

How to get there:

  • 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.

Phone:

  • (671) 333-405

Notes:

  • 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.

American Letter of Surrender to the Japanese

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.


Point Udall

How to get there:

  • 13°26’45.8″N 144°37’09.3″E

You can’t. So just forget about it..

Address:

On the military base in a restricted area.

Notes:

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.

Map:

Posted in Asan, Guam, Hagåtña, Inarajan, Santa Rita, Talofofo, Tamuning, United States, The | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Where America’s Day Begins

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 21, 2010

February 20-21, 2010

All Pictures

A beach on Guam

The US in Asia

When our plane landed in Guam it was almost 4:00 am local time. We hopped into a cab and checked into a hotel. The next day, or rather later that same day, we got breakfast, walked around, and went swimming.

Guam is a US territory. It is the US, but not in state form. I grew up in a US territory, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. Because of this I’ve had people ask me questions like, “What is your first language?”, “What country are you a citizen of?”, “Can you run for president?”, “What type of passport do you have?”

Well, as a Virgin Islander:  English is my first and only language, though many can speak both English and Spanish fluently. I am a citizen of the United States. I cannot run for president, but only because I am not old enough. I have a normal US passport.

Me age 5 in my 2nd passport

State vs Territory

So what are the main differences between a US state and a US territory?

  • Geography.

Living in a territory can feel a bit isolated. They tend to be far away from the contiguous 48 states. Growing up, I sometimes felt a bit forgotten. Most US citizens don’t know that some of the Virgin Islands are part of the US. In fact most Americans cannot name any of the territories.

According to Wikipedia, there are 14 US territories.

It is the US, and there is a huge American influence. But being far away and a bit removed from the contiguous 48 with a history of being part of another culture before joining the US, there is a small difference. Here in Guam there are two languages spoken. In the VI we mostly speak English, and a sort of broken English, which is expected being in the middle of the Caribbean.

There are throwbacks from the British, Dutch, Danish and other cultures that have been a part of St. Croix’s past. There are holidays that we celebrated of whose origin  most Cruzans might not even remember.

  • Taxes.

A US Virgin Islander pays income tax, but  since the USVI is not a state there is no state tax or sales tax.

  • Right to Vote.

A US citizen who is a resident of a US territory can vote for local political candidates, but not for presidential candidates. If, however, he or she moves from the territory to any of the 50 states and changes residency, the citizen can then vote in a presidential election.

  • Driving.

Most US territories have laws in place to demand its citizens to drive on the right side of the road, like the citizens in the states. The people of the US Virgin Islands drive on the left. Why? I’ve asked this question throughout my childhood and have never gotten a decent answer. What makes things even more curious, is that cars with the steering wheel on the right are used to drive on the left side of the road.

I Love Guam!!

All Pictures


 

Bangkok’s New Airport
(ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ)
(Suvarnabhumi)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, bus, or train.
  • Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to Thailand. But, you will need a visa to stay longer than 1 month or if you been to Thailand for at least 3 months already in the past 12 months.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 30-day visa at the port of entry.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Thai embassy in your country.

Phone:

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Notes:

  • Do not say anything negative about the king or anyone in the Royal family. And definitely do not write anything bad about the king or royal family. This offence could land you in jail. You don’t want to go to Thai jail.
  • Don’t use the city ferries in Bangkok during the peak hours. They fill those things past capacity and sometimes they sink. Use them during non-peak hours when they are not crowded.

The United States of America

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.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

Guam

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. (I will blog about the Ninoy Aquino’s shenanigans later.)

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 no boats, and trains are just ridiculous.

Websites:

Notes:

  • 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 use 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!

Map:


Posted in Guam, Hagåtña, St. Croix, United States, The, US Virgin Islands | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

 
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