Guam-Encouraging the anti-craic

Craic. It’s a great word. One that people don’t use enough. “What’s the craic?, Any craic? How’s the craic?”, all phrases you might hear an Irish person say.  But what exactly is “craic”? (pronounced “crack”) Well, for each it is different.  In Irish, craic is the word for fun.  So each person has their own version of what craic is.  For me, it’s a good music session where everyone seems to be having good craic and the session itself is good craic and the whole night turns out to be good old craic.  In Korea, a night where it’s 6am and you don’t know where the time went because you were having such craic is great craic. So you get the drift, to each their own.  Everyone has an individual idea of what great craic is.  

So let’s talk about “anti- craic”. This is a phrase that describes the opposite of craic.  Like anti fun.  Something where you stand there going “what’s going on here lads? No craic” That’s anti- craic.  I’d like to present a case study of anti craic as seen on Guam.  

Guam is an island full of resorts. These resorts have pools and restaurants and gyms and everything you can think of.  What they ultimately do is encourage you to spend all day hanging around the resort with just the people you travelled with, enjoying the facilities on offer.    There is only so long that one person can spend beside the pool or on the beach before one gets cabin fever.  It also encourages you to shy away from interacting with other people.   This is anti craic. Should you succeed in spending the day at the resort, you might want a few drinks at night.  Excellent, head down to the bar.  But be sure to go early enough because it closes at 12.30am, way past my vacation bed time.  Complete anti craic. Couple this with the fact that on a regular Friday night there are about 40 people in the bar.  For those 40 people there are not 1, not 2 but 3 security guards.  Not only have people spent the day avoiding one another but now they want to make sure we don’t somehow randomly start a fight with each other or heaven forbid order a drink past 12.30.  Anti-craic.

If you were brave enough to somehow venture outside the resort and head down to a bar, you are in for a big shock.  You should expect to be the only craic happening in that bar. Not only that but the 3 bouncers will I.D. you and ask you random questions like ” So you’re just passing through?” What was it that gave me away?  After a drink and 2 games of pool, you’re all done.  Back you go to the safety of the resort. Complete anti craic.

When I’m on vacation, there’s nothing I love more than to stay in bed longer than I usually would and enjoy a nice little lie in.  Forget it. If you stay in a resort, you must report for breakfast between 7 (it’s ridiculously early) o clock and 10am.  This is well and good if you have children and you’re all up anyway but it defeats the idea of having a lie in. Unless you want to skip the breakfast that you paid for and pay through the roof for the food in the cafe.    Anti craic.   

Then there’s getting around the island.  All of the touristy things are in the one place, more or less.  If you don’t have a car, you can use the trolley system.  Grand.  But if you have a car and you decide to explore the island be prepared to “explore”. Guam seems to have a problem with road signs.  And by problem, I mean they don’t exist.  You get a rather sketchy looking map with a load of road numbers on it and off you go.  ” Where are we?    Oh I don’t know somewhere along road number 3″. Excellent, I’ll spend the rest of my day driving along road number 3 trying to figure out either 1)  where on the map we actually are or 2) if anywhere on road number 3 actually looks like something I actually might somehow recognise. And if, like me, you like to go “for a spin”, don’t come to Guam.  The speed limit around the island is 35. Great for encouraging safety first but you are essentially taking your car for a walk and would probably end up going faster if you went in reverse.  Another classic example of anti craic. 

And to finish off my anti craic rant, let’s talk about the NYE party tonight.  It’s at the resort (surprise).  There’s dinner and later a band or a D.J. (nothing that’s too  much craic).  There will be a fireworks display at midnight and afterwards a party.  But only until 1.30am, that’s when it finishes and everyone will head home.  Or to the respective floor that their room is on.  That’s only 90 minutes after you ring in the New Year. Wow, such great craic……NOT… complete anti craic. 

I feel like my first luxury holiday will certainly be the last for the upcoming future as all roads in a resort lead to a town called anti craic. 

As ever, feel free to leave comments below and Happy New Year!

Guam~where people speak English

I’ve been living in Korea for a little over 3 years. During that time, I’ve invested time and effort to improve both my language and my culture skills there. I live in Paju so I speak Korean on a daily basis. I should point out that I’ve never been to America so keep that in mind.

What happened to me in Guam was strange. I feel like the best way to describe it is culture shock. I simply couldn’t understand why everyone was speaking English! Even the children could speak English. It wasn’t just that, the whole way on the island was different. Nobody was in a rush, everyone actually seemed to enjoy their work, nobody actually looked like they worked at all.  I even saw people out running, like a lot of people. They weren’t running to anywhere in particular, they were running for the good of mankind. Imagine having weather where you have nothing better to do in the evening but go running around this tiny island where only 160,000 people are native.

As I passed the staggered buildings, all I could think was “what a waste of space, they should build up like the Asians”. As I ate my meals, I looked around certain that both the side dishes and the chopsticks would arrive shortly. Of course they didn’t, so I had to make do with the knife and fork idea.

People are also super friendly. I think it’s fair to say that one look at me would tell you that Im not from Guam. So, as a starter to every conversation, ” where are you from” was commonly heard. The second I tell them Im from Ireland, their faces light up and usually I’m the first Irish person they’ve met (or claim theyve met)
I bought an $11 hat in the Calvin Klein sale the other day. Now $11 is hardly going to be the making of the store daily takings but the lady behind the counter had me literally convinced that I was their most prized customer. I wanted to stay and lap it up.

I’ve just never really experienced this before. Theres no fighting to explain it all in Korean or having to get assistance from assistants who are terrified of foreigners. It’s such a shock to the system.
They even go as far as calling me ma’am.  Randomly I bought vitamins the other day and the guy who served me passed by me in the mall later and was all “Hi maam its me from Vitamin World”. Like we were best friends. I was stuck to the ground but may have managed a smile and a hi. And it’s not just that guy, its everyone. The people in the stores, in the hotels, the people who give towels for the pool, the taxi drivers, all of them.

Only thing is that they don’t bow. Bowing comes as an automatic reaction to me now. I bow to the people here all the time and they look at me like I have some muscles spasm that’s causing it.  I just can’t help it. I dont even know I’m doing it until after I’ve done it. It’s a real awkward turtle moment. If the people here bowed, it would simply be the icing on the cake.

For now I will continue to drink this delicious drink that the guy in the Hilton insisted on making for me. It’s a tough life but someone’s got to do it…….
More on Guam island in the next post………