Sunday, April 19

What we WON'T miss about Guam

Boonie CarWhile Guam is a place of great beauty and our experience here has been quite positive, there are a few things we will really NOT miss.

1. The monuments to environmental and aesthetic indifference -- Abandoned and picked-apart cars (as well as heaps of trash and discarded appliances) are common and can be found on most streets. This car has been sitting in a parking lot down the street from us for over a month. Each day there is less and less of the car as people come by and take pieces. Eventually, once it is completely picked apart and there is nothing left but the shell, people will ignore it for a year or two. At some point the village mayor will call for a clean-up day. Then they'll fight over which government entity should pay to haul it off.

2. The infrastructure issues -- inadequate sewer control, potted and poorly designed roads, and unreliable electricity. Power outages, such as the one we had while I was typing this, are a regular occurrence.

3. Dumpy and dirty concrete buildings -- or shells thereof -- many blocking beautiful views. Many are schools.

4. The high cost of food and lack of fresh produce. "Island fresh" means anything but.

5. The smell of burning garbage -- especially since there are other options.

6. Most everything associated with GovGuam tends to annoy people -- locals and mainlanders alike -- but not enough to implement radical systemic changes.

As I continue to post the pictures of what we WILL miss about Guam I don't want to project an over-romanticized image of island life. Don't get me wrong, I really do like Guam, but there are at least a few things which keep the island out of the paradise category. None of these issues are insurmountable. There just needs to be a will to address them.

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