Half the people I talk to are excited that I’ll be moving to Guam to work as a lifestyle and feature reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the next week. The other half are too embarrassed to ask where Guam is because we’re already too far into the conversation that it would be impolite. So I thought I’d use this opportunity to just to make it easier and less awkward for all of us.
Guam is an unincorporated United States territory in the Pacific, south of Japan. It’s the southernmost of the Marianas Islands, and although it’s closer to Asia than it is to the States, I assure you, it’s American land. William McKinley won Guam from Spain after the Spanish-American War and established a naval base there.
They use the dollar. Their phone country code is 1, just like the U.S. They speak English, and another local language, Chamorro. Most of the population is Catholic, because for over three centuries it was under Spanish rule. However, Guam has also played host to a large Japanese population because it fell to Japanese hands in 1941 right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Even today, Guam is a popular tourist destination for the Japanese because it’s about 1500 miles south of them. In fact the territory’s economy is primarily fed by tourism and military spending.
Their President is Barack Obama, and like each state, they have a governor (Felix Camacho). However, their local government is unicameral instead of the bicameral system we use here in the States. Guam also has a single congressional delegate to represent its interests in Washington D.C., although s/he (currently she: Madeleine Bordallo) is not allowed to vote in Congress.
Guam has a population about the size of Gainesville (appx 150,000), but it’s spread over an island instead of a tight university town.
More answers (and pictures) to your questions once I actually get there.