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Finding the ‘Perfect’ Place – Part I

May 31, 2011

“‘We’re doing it.  We’re going to do a stint in Guam.”  I’d received a signed contract for services on the island, which meant I’d have to set up shop shortly.  It could be for a short term (6 months) or for the full duration (3+ years), and hotels running $1500/week, the decision to rent a place was the obvious solution.

“I’ll be okay with a beachfront apartment”.  As far as the Pheebs was concerned, the locale was a done deal.  There was Tumon Bay – and nothing else.


After a short Web search, I’d discovered a couple of things:

1. Apartments were neatly divided into two categories – tiny concrete bunkers smelling of mold and stale Bud Light, (note blue tarp lanai), and

outrageously priced palatial estates.

2. Tumon Bay, while filled with resort hotels, is not exactly brimming with apartments.

“Soo…Pheebs – there’s not much to choose from in the way of beachfront apartments on Tumon Bay.”  This was my sorry attempt at opening a dialog around the possibility we may have to widen our search a bit.

“That’s okay – we only need one.”

Ugh.  Dialog over.  25 years of marriage does wonders for  one’s communication skills, and those six words left absolutely no room for negotiation.

A little more Web searching turned up the name of a realtor who was enlisted in the search for the elusive Tumon Bay apartment.  The electronic conversation over a period of days went something like this:

ME:  We’re looking for an apartment on Tumon Bay, preferably furnished.

REALTOR:  I’ve got some great apartments inland.

ME:  You’re not listening – we want a beachfront apartment.  What’s available?

REALTOR:  I’ve got some great properties at the Leo Palace!

Now – an explanation is in order.  The Leo Palace is a resort complex developed by the Koreans.  As a general rule, Koreans believe they are solid inside like a potato, and will sink at a precipitous rate if accidentally dropped in water.  Korean lifeguards have been known to call the Korean Coast Guard whenever a ‘swimmer’ ventures further than ten feet from shore.  This may sound ridiculous, but I know of an instance where an American swimmer was picked up off the coast of South Korea for just that.

Personally I think it was because Korean lifeguards can’t swim, either.

So – Korean developers, with their pathological fear of water, took the map of Guam and performed a finite element analysis in an effort to site their resort as far away as humanly possible from anything remotely like a shore, beach or bay.  To get the ocean in the background, the photographer had to ascend in a helicopter – that’s how far away the Leo Palace is away from shore.  The blue lagoon of the resort is inches deep, and wading is not allowed.

ME: (yelling at realtor electronically) ARE YOU CRAZY?  I’ve been to Guam a half dozen times and Leo Palace is MILES from the beach! Did your mom drop you as a baby, or what?

REALTOR:  It’s really nice! I’m sure you’ll like it!


Well – the remote approach wasn’t gonna work.  We were going to have to do this ourselves.

Fast forward a couple weeks.  We’re on-island, and have enlisted the aid of a second realtor, which was referred to us through a friend.  After the niceties, we laid out our requirements.  The realtor nodded in earnest, and promised to set up several viewings for the next day.

The next morning, we hop in the realtor’s car, and drive off.  The dialog went something like this:

REALTOR:  You’re going to love living here.

ME:  Umm…we’re heading up a hill, with the beach behind us.

REALTOR:  This is a really nice property we’re going to see.

ME:  We’re going the wrong way…

REALTOR:  A friend of mine has listed this place – you can buy the whole building if you want…

ME:  We just want a beachfront apartment.

REALTOR:  The building’s owned by a Korean family…

ME:  Koreans!

The building was in an alleyway behind a gas station and furniture warehouse.  No water to be seen anywhere – but – the Leo Palace was in plain sight on the next ridge.


The only logical explanation is that the Koreans controlled all the realtors in town.

Time to change strategy.  We adopt a straightforward approach – walk the beach until we saw a ‘For Rent’ sign and call. There were signs – and we had a phone – something had to crop up, right?

Up Next:  Even a blind squirrel finds a nut…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2011 1:08 pm

    Dear Leo Palace developers–
    Flip it around 180*, move it about 1/2 mile, and move it into the nice empty spot by the pretty blue water.

    Greg P. In WV, who graduated from Developer 101 with more sense than that…

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      May 31, 2011 3:52 pm

      It’s interesting to see how different cultures view the world – even more interesting to see how said cultures view us – a subject for yet another blog post.

  2. May 31, 2011 3:40 pm

    Call me a nerd but I am fascinated by the portrait you paint of Koreans. We went to war to save a bunch of sinking potatoes?
    Ps I have found an app that is amazing for iPad andblogger called blog press. I am going to try to use the lovely pix you sent me…

  3. dangerboyandpixie permalink*
    May 31, 2011 3:50 pm

    They’re a great people – very industrious and kind – just too busy to figure out how to swim. That – and the waters around Korea are very choppy.

    Note the pictures came from Jens Nielsen, the Commodore of the Key West Sailing Center. Please give him credit – he won’t mind the PR.

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