Gold? No, it’s Coffee!
After having some toast and coffee (Denny’s) and using their WiFi to accomplish a few searches for housing rentals, I got my bill. Maybe I have been living in the Philippines too long and forgot just how expensive it really is in the west (or in this case, the very far east!) Just for coffee and toast, my bill came to over $7.00, not including the tip. In reality though, I was really using Denny’s for the free WiFi, so I didn’t mind. I had about a half-dozen leads and I was ready.
First thing I needed to do was to get a phone. I picked up my wife’s cousin Lisa (who is also from Calbayog City) and off to the phone store we went. There are basically 3 choices for phone service here on Guam – GTA, Docomo, and IT&E. Lisa assisted me in choosing GTA mostly because of the bundled packages they offered with cable, internet, home phone and cellular service. It was the “No Contract Required” option that swayed me. So, I had my first smart phone in over 4 years, without signing a contract, and quickly learned how much technology really sucked (the learning curve on a new phone is so time-consuming), but all I really needed to learn was how to make a phone call. I knew the smart phone was going to make life much easier, GPS and all, and I had to suck-up and learn. I believe as I age, technology sucks more.
With new phone in hand, we were off to look at a handful of apartments and condos, none of which fit my (our) requirements. After getting the lay of the land, I dropped Lisa back at her house and I was off on my own. It was now almost time for lunch and I hadn’t landed anything yet, nor was I any closer to finding something reasonable. Then I spotted a “For Rent” sign at a condominium complex in the heart of town – close to the beach, close to K-mart and close to The Home Depot. Perfect! Within the hour, I met the Realtor, toured the 2BR/2BA condo with swimming pool and tennis courts and secured the unit. The next day I would sign the lease and move in… with only my backpack and a computer. But hey… I had a place – with central air conditioning, and a view of the pool! It was a good start!
No More Futons For Me!
The next few days were more than hectic. I borrowed a well-used futon to sleep on – which did absolutely nothing for my lower back. I also had to set up house, something I have not had to do in many years. Pillows, some bedding, a TV, something to sit on, kitchen stuff… oh yeah, and food! (Hint: first thing you always buy is toilet paper!) The next few days found me in the discovery mode, moving around on the island looking for stores. I was looking for deals on just about everything I would need to settle in to an empty apartment.
The next big thing was to find a car. After nearly two weeks of driving the Nisson Rogue (which I fell in love with), I found a 2008 Nisson Altima at the lemon lot on the Navy base. A one-owner car by an “oil-changing-crazed” Filipina made this the car “the one!” Well maintained and cared for, and super clean… I made her a good offer and she accepted. I was almost there. I now had a crib and a car. By this time I also had a new TV, with cable, phone and internet working, and life was getting better. I was worn out though and I could finally get some much-needed rest… on my brand new bed, which I found on sale at the Navy’s post Exchange. This is something I have learned to never skimp on.
Progress is Made.
During my first week on Guam, I had the opportunity to meet a couple of blog and YouTube subscribers. Michael, who recently moved here from the Philippines, was already settled here. His wife and family will join him soon he hopes. We spent my first Sunday afternoon at local beach relaxing and we enjoyed a couple of beers together. Another subscriber, a local Chiropractor and also married to a Filipina, invited me to lunch at a great Mexican lunch spot for the biggest burrito I have ever seen!
Two weeks on Guam and I scored a condo, a car, a phone, a TV, some furniture, and a basic kitchen arrangement that should sustain me until my wife arrives in a few short weeks. I’ve also been reintroduced to the local racquetball group, done some snorkeling and diving, met with and gained a couple new friends… and I hit a chicken!
Driving Skills Needed in Guam?
After driving in the Philippines for nearly 4 years, one thing I have a hard time adjusting to is driving. Take, for example, sitting at a red light for almost eternity with no traffic. It’s insane! One never gives this much thought, but I realize now there seems to be different breeds of patience – one for each type of paradise. And although patience here is practiced at a different level than the one that is required to live life in the Philippines, it is still remains a valid virtue.
I never had a problem driving in the Philippines – things tend to move much slower. Here on Guam, things definitely move a bit faster… like boonie dogs chasing chickens out into faster moving traffic than I’m used to. At least here, I’m no longer considered a foreigner, and I won’t be held accountable for the Death of that Rooster!