- Travel and Places»
- Visiting Australia & Oceania»
Guam Where America's Day Begins
Guam - Pacific Island Club
Where The Day Begins - Guam
Island in the Pacific Ocean
The Gems of Guam
Guam is a glamorous island located in the Pacific ocean. It has a year around temperature of 87 degrees. It is 212 square miles and made of volcanic ash and coral limestone. The water is 72 degrees year around. The native people are the Chamorro (Taotao tano or people of the land). This island is Northeast of the deepest part of the ocean in the world. The Marianas Trench at seven miles deep called Challenger Deep. Guam gems are the fact that it’s size and geographic location are extremely valuable features.
Two Lover's Point
Arriving in Guam you see the luscious green palm trees, green grass and a tall cliff. There is a sad love story that is attached to this cliff called, Two Lover’s Point. It’s a Romeo and Juliet story. Read about it at http://guam.stripes.com/travel/legend-two-lovers-point. You smell the rotting palm fronds, hear the passing planes, and taste the salt in the air.
It will not be long until you start hearing phrases like; boonie car, boonie dog, or boonie stomps. What is a boonie you ask? It is a slang word for the boondocks. Boondocks comes from the Filipino word “bundok” which means mountain. The definition of boonie is rural area that is difficult to access, rustic or uncivilized. A boonie dog is uncivilized or a stray. A boonie car is rustic or rusty, and the boonie stomp is difficult to access. Boonie is attached to many nouns.
There is a pun that Guam’s national bird is the “crane.” This was during the time when Tumon Bay in Guam was being built into the hotel Mecca of the island. There were anywhere from three to five cranes on the bay each day. The sad part of this joke is that Guam has very few birds.
Reminders of Guam
The story of the Pied Piper, nursery rhyme, a song and book of “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly,” and the book “If you give a mouse a cookie…” all make me think of Guam and its lack of birds. These seem like a strange assortment of stories and song that cause that memory. I’ll describe the nursery rhyme, song and story, then explain why it reminds me of Guam.
The Pied Piper
The story of the Pied Piper is about this city, Hamelin, that had way too many rats and the cats couldn’t clear them out. A piper comes to town and clears the town of the rats. Then the King does not pay him what they had agreed. Read the story for the ending. This one is told by the famous Grimm Brothers.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
“If you give a mouse a cookie…” by Laura Numeroff. Tells what happens when you give a mouse a cookie. You give it a cookie, then it will want milk, then a straw and the story goes on.
There was an old Lady who swallowed a fly
“There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.” This nursery rhyme has been made into books, videos, and a song. This old lady swallows a fly, then to get the fly, she swallows a spider, a bird, a cat, a dog and so on. Simms Taback wrote one book and there is a video at http://wwwkidsstuffthings.com of the song.
Cause and Effect
The term “cause and effect” fit these stories and song. The same term is true of Guam. The cause of the lack of birds is the brown trees snakes. The removal of brown trees snakes brought, the effect of, banana spiders.
Brown Tree Snake
Brown Tree Snake
The nocturnal brown tree snake is not native to Guam. They got aboard boats or in the wheel wells of airplanes. They arrived on Guam via Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. They are a poisonous snake. The good thing is that their two fangs are located at the rear of their mouths. So the first strike to an adult is just a tap. To a smaller person or animal that all it takes. The populous brown tree snake took over the island and gobbled up most of Guam’s native forest birds At one time there were approximately two million brown tree snakes on the island. Trying to limit the amount of brown trees snakes on the island a new truck loaded with Spam would be given for free to the person who brought in the most brown tree snakes. A century or more of contests and creative population control techniques, the population of the brown tree snakes is dwindling.
Brazilian Wandering Spider
Now enters the nocturnal banana spider. The banana spiders came to the island in bunches of bananas. They are originally from Brazil. Their official name is the Brazilian wandering spider, or the armed spider. This spider in 2010 was the Guinness World’s most venomous spider. It is aggressive and poisonous. They are large and make big spider webs in which to get tangled. They have now become a major problem on the island.
Lack of Birds
The lack of forest birds, came from the arrival of the fast producing brown tree snakes, population control of the brown tree snakes and then comes the banana spiders. One thing lead to another, thus the cause and effect.
Another sight to see, which occurs on Guam, is when the termites swarm on the bay. Termites are attracted to light, thus why they are attracted to the bay. The bay is lit and there are many hotel lights. Termites require moisture to live, without moisture they dry out and die. They swarm after a rainstorm for this gives them the best chance of starting a new colony. Trying to walk on the beach while they are there is not comfortable, but the sight of the swarm hovering over the bay is worth the visit. Most housing is made of cement blocks in Guam which is sensible considering the termites.
If Once You Have Slept On An Island
This poem is what will happen to you when you visit Guam.
If Once You Have Slept On An Island
By Rachel Lyman Field
“If once you have slept on an island
You’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,
You may bustle about in the street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go
You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistles and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep
Oh, you won’t know why and you can’t say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You’ll never be quite the same.
Beautiful Air Orchids
Guam Wonderful and not so Wonderful Qualities
Guam has many wonderful qualities. It has some of the most gorgeous air orchids. The people are friendly and generous. There are colorful sunsets from the shore of the ocean. Warm sand on the beaches. It also has some not so wonderful qualities such as brown tree snakes and banana spiders. One thing is for sure after visiting there you will never be quite the same.
© 2015 Canita Prough