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Pleasure Island

June 3, 2011

In the interest of dichotomy:

the locals decided about 15 years ago that they were tired of being poor.  They hit upon the idea of attracting tourists to their island, so they built.

and built,

and built in an effort to attract Japanese tourists.

The result is something called Pleasure Island.  It’s the Guam version of Duval, or perhaps more accurately, a mini version of Kalakaua Ave on Waikiki. In a land where buying stuff makes one happy (HAH!)  this place crowns its patrons king and queen.

If there’s a single statistic which amazes me about Guam, it’s that there are not one, but two Louis Vuitton stores on-island.

There’s a difference between culture and consumption.  Key West is long on culture; this corner of Guam specializes in the latter.

In one of these stores, there’s a pair of designer flip-flops with a $600 price tag.  Which one is unimportant – just knowing is enough.  There’s quite a few such businesses in this paragon of consumption.

All designed to give pleasure to the ‘consumer’ by separating them from their earnings at a prodigious  rate. It’s pretty in a sanitized, Disney-eque sort of way. Sadly (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) the goal of attracting people to the island has worked – Guam averages over 1.2 million visitors a year – 80% from Japan.  The Pheebs’ take on Pleasure Island?

Not so much.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2011 2:26 pm

    How much pleasure can there be in $600 flip-flops?
    I dunno, but boy, it’d be fun to find out.

    Greg P. In WV, home of the $3 flip-flops, which I kinda’ like…

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      June 3, 2011 4:39 pm

      I don’t think there would be that much pleasure in $600 flip-flops.

      I came to the conclusion some time ago that the people who like you for who you are don’t give a damn about $$, and the folks who consume conspicuously are usually interested in impressing complete strangers.

      That seems silly to me – $600 to impress someone you’d not cross the street for. They don’t impress the Pheebs, so there’s no reason for me to pick up a pair.

  2. June 4, 2011 1:11 am

    I did not expect to see anywhere quite so fancy on Guam. I always thought of the place as rather down at heel.

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      June 4, 2011 2:10 am

      Quite a bit of money flows through this island – to where I don’t know. The entire island is duty-free; nothing has sales tax, although there is such a thing as Guam Resource Tax (GRT) on some things. The locals benefit from no tax on foodstuffs (or beer) and very low property taxes (like on the order of $200/year). There are some very well-to-do people living here – and some poor folks, too.

      For some reason, though, the poor don’t seem that poor here.

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