Guam Dossier, part 2 – Star Sand Private Beach Club

Dave with 4 guests from Japan at Starsand Private Beach Club on Guam, circa 1995
Dave with 4 guests from Japan at Starsand Private Beach Club on Guam, circa 1995

When living on Guam (1993-96 ish), i had 3 jobs – along with selling my hemp bags and flower sticks.

I previously told you about SS Neptune submarine-ish tour guide, and alluded to the job at Starsand Private Beach Club where i was a “bi-lingual club host” meaning i welcomed the guests (mostly Japanese but some Korean and a few Chinese) gave a briefing of the day’s agenda and available activities (horseback riding, atv riding, kayaking, beach games, bar-b-q lunch…) and led jungle hiking tours which i devised and included war artifacts like an unexploded grenade lodged in a tree, a cave where Japanese soldiers hid out, a traditional Chammoro grass hut (where i’d take my medicinal breaks) and all sorts of wildlife (wild boars included!)

Also led snorkelling group sessions to help pax understand how to wear and clear a mask, avoid coral, identify some fish and go in the appropriate direction to avoid fighting current. Due to slippery rocks and jellyfish, this also involved lost of first aid – some quite grisly. I’ll spare you.

Sometime groups would stay over and i’d be paid to eat my weight in sashimi (granted i was pretty skinny then), entertain with fire juggling, pretend to understand mah-jong and take photos – then sleep in hammock or tent. Sometimes the groups were filming TV shows and so somewhere out there, I am in the background of various mini-series rom-com dramas. Not to mention all the family vacation photo albums in which i make a thin but tanned appearance.

Guam is a quick 3-ish hour flight from Japan making a for an easy and decadent weekend getaway. Most guests were honey-mooners, some families, company groups and lots of 20 year olds enjoying a brief reprieve from the pressures of education and work to celebrate their seijin shiki (coming of age day). Most all came in organized tour groups and then would purchase “optional tours” including the private beach day, at hotel tour desks. Other activities (besides submarines and scuba diving) included duty-free shopping, “massage” parlours and gun shooting ranges.

Anyhow, my co-workers worked the “bad boy” image pretty hard and acted like smooth operating beach toys (with much success plying dates for after work) whereas i was the (almost shockingly) “good-ish boy” hanging out with the folks interested in history, poetry and practicing my Japanese skills. Mostly.

The beach club was run by a corrupt as fck family who controlled liquor and tobacco concessions for outer islands. A weird trio of bosses who were never on the same page and constantly overirdiing each other on decisions and appointing relatives as “managers”. They also imported grunt labor from Truk/Chuuk island and paid them seemingly in booze. They lived on site in shacks and raked the beach and other odd jobs.

The club was sorta landlocked with the only access being through Andersen Air Force base (yes the one in the news recently regarding DPRK’s ambition s to bomb it) which accommodated all sorts of planes (Stealth bomebrs, Concorde and those big transport planes, plus FedEX planes bringing in fresh meat and produce to stock the base stores). Post-9/11, the base shut down the thru-access required to bring guests in and, as such, the club was closed. I imagine there are some squatters there enjoying the pristine yet rugged location noted for the “sand” which was really broken up pieces of coral resembled stars. Not sure of the current situation there and because this was before the advent of “consumer internet” there isn’t much record of evidence. Every few years, i’ll from another former employee or another who’ll dig into the internet and come across my snapshots. There are some photos out there from the last few years (i think from the part of the club made for the Korean guests as the K & J’s had a hard time getting along so became prudent to separate oddly) but could be from another beach with star sand. If you have intell, please let me know.

Like this evidence: Here i am plying my trade with a quartet of lovely Japanese ladies enjoying an idyllic day on the beach.

NOTE: Snap taken with an early generation Japanese panorama camera but developed on “normal” size resulting in black bars (mostly cropped out) on top and bottom of print.