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August 23, 2011

The first major stop on the epic south side tour was the village of Inarajan (pronounced IN-a la-hahn) on the windward side.  Most everything on Guam dates from after WWII – save for a few ruins and relics here and there.  The combination of tropical storms, termites, earthquakes and war have conspired to knock down just about every structure ever built on this island.

The exception?  Inarajan.

It’s location remote and non strategic, protected by a karst bluff behind the village, this three-block long settlement has buildings as old as the ones in Key West.  Houses came to the edge of the road, barrio style.

The density of structures and the architecture is very reminiscent of Key West. It this isn’t a dead ringer for a cigar-maker’s cottage 9000 miles away – I don’t know what is.  This exemplifies, in my opinion, the reach of Spanish culture, as it was the Spaniards who influenced Cuba and ultimately Key West by association.

Unfortunately, many of the wood-framed houses of Inarajan are in disrepair, as locals prefer to live in reinforced concrete bunkers these days.

This did not stop, however, the local historical society from hanging a plaque on the decaying hulk.

Batten-board.  That’s the wall of a cigar-makers cottage.

The center of Spanish (and by extension, Chamorro) village life is the church, and Inarajan is no exception.

Snow Philip, our friend in Key West, sent us a photo from 1949, and I’m pretty sure this is the church in its background.  Churches are built of stone and heavily reinforced to withstand earthquakes.

The school next door has not weathered the test of time as well.

This would have been built just before WWII, making it about 70 years old.  It’s common to see people living aside ruined structures here.  Perhaps this is a foreshadowing of what happens when our politicians slash public expenditures to the bone and there’s no money to maintain our infrastructure…

I certainly hope not, but I’m not sure.

I’d come to Inarajan to photograph latte, as there was a stand of them on a hill behind the church.

Sadly, these are modern reproductions from concrete – you can tell as the haligi of this one has exposed aggregate – and coral polyps do not produce stones.  I was bummed, turned around and:

Bam! an 800 lb carabao tied to a tree a few yards away.  There supposedly quite docile, thankfully.

I was a little bummed I didn’t find an original latte as I trudged back to the scooter.  It was only when I peered into some shrubbery that I noticed the damned thing was hiding in plain sight.

And a pretty good sized one at that – easily 8 feet tall.

Inarajan was very cool. I felt at home amongst its wooden buildings, even if many were dilapidated.

I’ll have to come back and do a more intensive study another day!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2011 12:49 pm

    I like the picture you got of the Carabao. They always look like the rope they are tied down with is pointless. Wonder how many occupy the island?

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      August 23, 2011 6:27 pm

      They are family heirlooms which may live as long as a person. The one you took a pic of a month ago was 65 years old.

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