9737 Kilometers from Japan, Touring Guernsey Island by Local Bus! I’ll be taking some of the “few and far between” local buses to visit 5 points of interest, including the Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum and the largest park on the island

After a 3-hour whirlwind exploration of Jersey island, the Domain expedition team heads for Guernsey, the second largest of the Channel Islands. The beauty of the island attracted the French impressionist painter Renoir, and is still a popular tourist destination today. The island is a tax haven and has favorable tax treatment for foreigners, as does the Virgin Islands, Mauritius and Malta. This is the first time in the history of Domain Island Tours that local/public buses will be used to get around and explore. The ccTLD assigned to Guernsey, “.gg”, is a popular domain in the gaming and sports industry as it stands for “good game”.

Where is Guernsey?

Guernsey island, known for being the setting of the 2018 film “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”, is one of the islands that make up the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy, France, and is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. While the British government controls foreign affairs and defense, Guernsey has its own parliament and government and a high degree of independence, different from most overseas territories and colonies. The population is about 65,000. The local currency is pound sterling, or the Guernsey pound.

= Table of Contents =

◆The first Japanese Person to Stay in a Classic Guernsey Hotel

◆First ever on a Domain Island Tour! Exploring by Local Bus

◆The 2nd location, the Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum, once a Napoleonic Fort

◆A Japanese Garden at the 3rd Location, Saumarez Park

◆ Locations 4 and 5 – a Japanese Restaurant and a Game Shop Selling Japanese Anime Goods

◆Finishing on Time and Without Incident

◆Finding “.gg” Around Town

◆How to Purchase an eSIM & Test the Internet Speed


◆The first Japanese Person to Stay in a Classic Guernsey Hotel

On my way to Guernsey from Jersey. The trip began with a one-hour delay due to airplane maintenance, but our small Blue Islands propeller plane made the trip to Guernsey in about 20 minutes.

The airport is quite modern, despite James (my driver in Jersey), telling me that Guernsey is not a city.

Let’s head to the hotel by taxi. But… you could wait forever and a taxi would never come. I’d booked a restaurant, so I impatiently asked the airport staff for assistance. They called the company for me, but no one ever came.

Walking around the area, I notice a bus stop. I board what is likely the last bus of the day.

I get off at a bus stop that I presume is near my hotel. I walk about 20 minutes, with the help of Google Maps. At around 10pm, I finally reach the hotel. I have a late dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Oh, and incidentally, the restaurant I booked but missed out on was called “KOI KOI”. It’s a local well-known restaurant that offers Asian, fusion, creative Japanese cuisine, steak and sushi. I really wanted to check it out.

I’m staying at Les Douvres Hotel, a converted 18th Century manor house, previously owned by a lord or nobleman. It has a lovely, classic appearance.

The staff told me I was the first Japanese person to stay there. It seems it’s not visited by Japanese people, perhaps because it’s located in the suburbs. They were very friendly and kind, and the English Breakfast was excellent! I really recommend this hotel. Why not be their second Japanese visitor?

◆First ever on a Domain Island Tour! Exploring by Local Bus

When I found the bus stop at the airport the night before, I also found a map of the island’s public bus route. I’ve explored 29 islands so far, but this is the first time to see an island with a local bus route! So, I decided to explore Guernsey by bus. I’ll visit 5 locations on the island.

My starting point is the bus stop near the hotel. I plan to take the bus to the first location, the German Occupation Museum. However, it’s proving difficult to find the bus stop. When I finally come across the bus stop, it simply has “BUS” written on the ground. I guess you tend to think a bus stop means a place with a timetable and a sign with the name of the bus stop, but in Guernsey, some bus stops only have the word “BUS” written on the ground.

Here is the “Town Terminal” bus. I take this bus to the next connecting bus stop.

The bus fare was £1.25. It’s easy to pay with just a swipe of your card.

The bus was pretty empty.

Once off the bus, I looked for the bus stop where the airport-bound buses depart.

I found it! This one has a sign.

The bus turns up.

I arrive at the closest bus stop. There is a sign pointing the way to the German Occupation Museum. Everything is going well today.

I arrive at the German Occupation Museum. It’s open.

I walk around the grounds before entering the museum. Propeller wreckage is displayed in memory of the Royal Air Force’s 153 Squadron and Allied aircrew who lost their lives over Guernsey waters.

Let’s go inside. Entry costs £6.

After the fall of France in May 1940, Hitler saw the Channel Islands as a springboard for an invasion of Britain. A large number of valuable documents are on display, showing what it was like in those days.

The Enigma machine and other communication devices used by the Germans look like the forerunner of modern laptop computers.

A sign reads “Keep Your Heads! Don’t Be Yellow! Business As Usual”, encouraging people to go about life as normal.

There was also a notice that said: “Anyone with a communication device will be punished.”

Due to the lack of facilities available, it seems that German soldiers and local residents had to live together.

The Jersey War Tunnels told of the misery of life under German occupation and expressed negative feelings, but here at the German Occupation Museum there is also material that talks about the kindness of the Germans.

It’s time to head to the second location. As I was leaving the museum, a man at reception told me to look upstairs as well. When I told him that I would miss my bus so I’d come back another time, he said “There are no buses to Japan”. Since he was so enthusiastic to recommend the second floor, I hurried up and took a quick look. Anyway, was his comment about “no buses to Japan” the dry humor of a British gentleman, or was he really worried about me? Maybe it wasn’t a joke as he was straight-faced and didn’t smile at all.

◆The 2nd location, the Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum, once a Napoleonic Fort

I head to the 2nd location, Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum, which was once a Napoleonic fort. I’m traveling now to the west coast of the island. The local buses are very handy! Something that looks like a fort can be seen in the distance.

I’ll get off here.

I’ve arrived at Fort Grey . Right in front of me is the Napoleonic fort. Where is the Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum?

I walk in the direction of the fort.

The museum is in the fort. Entry is £4.

It’s not that big inside. It’s divided into two floors.

The Napoleonic Fort refers to Fort Grey, originally built as a defense by the British in 1804 during the Napoleonic Wars.

The west coast of Guernsey is rocky and many ships have suffered shipwreck here over the centuries.

The museum displays the records and remains of these sunken ships.

There’s a reproduction of the cockpit of a sunken ship, using the remains of a shipwreck.

Let’s go down to the first floor.

Dishes and portholes (small windows in the side of a ship) that have been recovered.

Life jackets are also on display. Huh? What’s that? There’s Japanese writing.

It’s on a life jacket from the Liberian registered grain carrier M.V. Radiant Med, which capsized at 1:30am on the 24th of January 1984 and subsequently sank 18 miles off St Martin’s Point, Guernsey. Why is there Japanese writing on life jackets from a Liberian registered ship? The ship was originally built in 1970 by Hashihama Shipbuilding, owned by “Murakami Kaiun” and called the “Shunseimaru”. It changed owners in 1977. So, it seems the Japanese life jackets were kept as part of the ship’s supplies.

I got to see valuable artifacts that we don’t often get the chance to see.

Finally, looking out to Rocquaine Bay from the fort, I see a number of stranded boats?!
It’s just low tide, so they’re not really stranded. Let’s make our way to location number 3.

◆A Japanese Garden at the 3rd Location, Saumarez Park

This time we are heading east, away from the west coast to Saumarez Park, our 3rd location, so I wait for bus 91 to Vazon Bay.

It’s here.

We can see the west coast on the left as we drive.

I need to transfer en-route.

We arrive.

Saumarez Park is the largest public park on the island, with a museum of traditional costumes, a cafe, a playground, lawns and a pond.

For the time being, I’ll just walk around this large park.

A lady walking her dog asks me if I am from Japan. “There’s a Japanese garden here”, she says. Let’s take a look.

There’s an ISUZU truck parked here.

I walk a few minutes more. I find a sign that says in Japanese, “Guernsey’s little Japan”!

James St Vincent Saumarez (4th Baron Saumarez), who was posted to the British legation in Tokyo for three years from 1876, brought in Japanese carpenters and built a Japanese house in Guernsey.

The building was removed after it was damaged in World War II. However, the Japanese plants he brought back with him still remain to this day.

A nearby sign reads “Japanese Walk”. Let’s see what’s that way.

A turret-like building comes into view.

Built in 1935, it was badly damaged during the occupation. It was restored in 1989, but closed in 2019 after an inspection in 2016 showed that extensive repair work was needed. It reopened to the public on September 17th, 2021 after two years of restoration work.

◆Locations 4 and 5 – a Japanese Restaurant and a Game Shop Selling Japanese Anime Goods

Let’s head towards the town center.

I’m now at St. Peter Port.

Looking for the Japanese restaurant.

I’ve found it. Fukku Izakaya, a Japanese bar and restaurant that serves Japanese food. It just opened on April 29th of this year. It’s pretty busy.

The inside doesn’t really feel like Japan. Huh? What’s that? Those lights hanging from the ceiling… pretty sure I’ve seen something like that before.

It’s shaped like a soy sauce bottle. Nice touch. I was starving, so under the light of the giant soy sauce bottle, I ordered squid tempura, takoyaki, chicken katsu curry and miso ramen.

First to arrive was the squid tempura and takoyaki.

The ramen.

The katsu curry. On other islands, sushi, tempura, ramen and takoyaki are often found on the menu, but this was the first time I had seen katsu (cutlet) curry on offer.
Apart from being surprised that the green tea was fizzy, everything else was pretty good.

With a full and satisfied stomach, let’s now move on to our final location, the game shop that sells Japanese anime goods.

The store behind this statue of a Guernsey cow sells Guernsey milk. Jersey milk is more well-known in Japan, in fact there are only 3 Guernsey dairy farms in the whole country. Guernsey milk is said to have high nutritional value and a clean aftertaste.

I find our 5th location, “Just Games”.

Let’s take a look around. I see some Pokemon.

They have figurines from One Piece and Demon Slayer.

They also sell novelty erasers from the brand iwako.

I had a great time. Thank you! Now it’s time to make my way to my final goal, the airport.

◆Finishing on Time and Without Incident

By using the Google Maps Route Planner, I was able to visit all five locations within the limited time I had available.

I’m waiting for the bus to the airport, but there’s no sign of it.

This could be a problem. The bus I had planned to take has been cancelled, and the buses now arriving were a bit chaotic because they either had the wrong destination sign or they’d forgot to display any sign at all.

After asking other people waiting and the bus driver, I was finally able to board a bus heading to the airport.

Local bus trip in Guernsey – finished successfully! I’ve made it in time for my flight.

I leave the Channel Islands and set off for my next destination.

◆Finding “.gg” Around Town

The “.gg” domain is used by several businesses. At a barbershop.

An organic specialty store.

Co-working Spaces.

A specialty tapioca tea shop.

And, on the buses that helped me out today!

◆How to Purchase an eSIM & Test the Internet Speed

Domain Island Tours have reported on how to find and purchase local SIM cards from June 2018 to September 2020. However, since it takes a surprisingly long time to find a store and buy one, from now on we’ll use eSIMs. Switching to eSIM made it easy to sign up for a connection that works in Guernsey. Guernsey eSIM speeds as measured at Guernsey Airport. It was 74Mbps.

■List of Places Visited

■For access to Guernsey click here

■For “.gg” domain details click here

■For “.co.gg” domain details click here

■For “.net.gg” domain details click here

■For “.org.gg” domain details click here

Visiting Guadeloupe to Search for the World’s Largest Beetle, the Hercules Beetle, had Shocking Results

The world’s largest beetle, the Hercules beetle, lives in Guadeloupe and Dominica. The name comes from the hero of Greek mythology “Hercules”. A beetle bigger than 160mm is highly prized and hard to find, fetching prices upwards of 100,000 yen (approx. 950 USD). We went to Guadeloupe to search for this king among beetles. The ccTLD (country code top level domain) for Guadeloupe is “.gp”.

* This fact-finding mission was undertaken in early February, 2020.

◆Where is Guadeloupe?

Guadeloupe is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea consisting of Grande-Terre Island, Marie-Galante Island and Basse-Terre Island etc. Like Martinique, Guadeloupe is an overseas region of France. This means that residents of Guadeloupe are French citizens. The main language is French and the currency is the Euro.

= Table of Contents =

◆The French Hawaii

◆Shrimp Tempura that Turns Out to be Fried Shrimp

◆Crayfish Falls Without Any Crayfish

◆The Search for the Hercules Beetle and the Shocking Outcome

◆The “.gp” Domain and Interesting Things Around Guadeloupe

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed


◆The French Hawaii

There are no direct flights from Japan to Guadeloupe. You can go via the United States, Canada, France, etc. We went from Canada, via Antigua and Barbuda.

From Antigua and Barbuda, it took about 30mins on a Liat Airlines flight. We arrived at Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport on Grande-Terre Island, Guadeloupe. The official website for the airport uses the “.fr” domain, since it is an overseas region of France.

Taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel, the Karibea Beach Hotel, cost 40 Euros.
It was about 20 minutes drive.

Many flyers of the sort usually found in hotels. Lots of information on leisure activities. Guadeloupe is like the Hawaiian beach resort for French people.

The room is very comfortable. The shower dispenses proper hot water. On the Domain Island Tour,
we have been known to stay in places, like American Samoa, where there was no working hot water in the bathroom.

The cats that hang out by the breakfast area are accustomed to people.

This is the view from the hotel. I want to just hang out and eat good food, and not do a thing.

But we have a mission here, to find the Hercules beetle. I asked the staff in the hotel: “Where can I see a Hercules beetle?” And they said “Eh? What’s a Hercules beetle?” Never heard of it.” Even though it’s the largest beetle in the world, there are many people that are not interested in insects, so I guess its not surprising that they’ve never heard of it.


◆Shrimp Tempura that Turns Out to be Fried Shrimp

Our motto on the Domain Island Tour is to “Eat Japanese food wherever we go”. This time, we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant called “YOSHI”. Perhaps the owner of this restaurant immigrated from Japan to Guadeloupe because of the charming Hercules beetle. “YOSHI” is a popular restaurant with 3 shops in Guadeloupe.

We select what to eat from menus filled with pictures of hostess-like young ladies. Will a lovely young lady like one of these come to take our order?

Contrary to expectation, a young man came to take our order. Taking a look around the restaurant, we don’t see any Japanese staff.

We ordered sushi, shrimp tempura and green tea. Getting ready for the sushi to come, I picked up the Kikkoman bottle and poured a little soy sauce into a dish, finding to my surprise it was sweet sauce, not soy sauce. The soy sauce appears to be in a bottle for sweet sauce. They have things reversed.

And the green tea I ordered was actually mint tea. Only an overseas region, but obviously, still France. Very fashionable. And the price is 4 Euros.

Is this Shrimp Tempura? Its 8.5 Euros. I ordered shrimp tempura. Is this… supposed to be shrimp tempura…? From a Japanese point of view, it is most definitely deep-fried shrimp, not Shrimp tempura. But, I decided not to worry about it. The sauce was a bit sweet, like the sauce for Mitarashi Dango, but very good.

Next, the “Yoshi rolls” arrive. 18 Euros. This is a sushi roll made with salmon, avocado, imitation crab, deep-fried shrimp (not shrimp tempura), and cheese. The sushi is wrapped in Kinshitamago (thinly shredded egg omelet). It was like a very deluxe version of a California roll and so good!

The “Le Nid d’ oiseau”, this looks like okonomiyaki but is also a kind of sushi. 18 Euros. Since this was marked on the menu with a pencil for some reason, I decided to order it. It has a crispy texture with salmon, cheese and imitation crab, but it might be considered a sweet dish. The taste is like okonomiyaki. The items on this menu were like nothing I’ve ever seen in Japan, but they tasted like they might become popular in Japan.

As we left the restaurant, I asked the staff again about the Hercules beetle, but he also said he’d never heard of it. I’m feeling a little worried about this, but we’ll go back to the hotel and prepare for tomorrow’s search for the Hercules beetle.


◆Crayfish Falls Without Any Crayfish

The next day we chartered a taxi for the sole purpose of searching for Hercules beetle. It cost is 160 Euros for 5 hours. I asked the driver in English to take us to a place where we could see the Hercules beetle, but he could only understand French, so I showed a photograph of the Hercules beetle and tried to explain again. But he also seemed completely clueless as to what it was…

I found this reaction increasingly strange so I did an internet search and discovered the reason behind it all. In Guadeloupe, the Hercules beetle is only found on the island of Basse-Terre. We were on the island of Grande-Terre, which has no king of the beetles in residence. I asked the driver to drive to the Guadeloupe Zoo on Basse-Terre Island. There are insects in this zoo. This makes it clear why the hotel and restaurant staff on Grande-Terre Island didn’t know about the beetle. On our way to the zoo, we enjoy the view of the sugarcane fields.

Along the way, I found a sign for a waterfall called the “Cascade aux Ecrevisses” (Crayfish Falls). We decided to stop and take a look. This is a protected area in the center of Basse-Terre Island.

At the entrance, there’s a map of the area with information about the flora and fauna that can be found there. Called “Crayfish Falls”, it seems there are a variety of crayfish here.

Taking a closer look, we see that the Hercules beetle is on the information board! !

Now pretty excited, we set off with high expectations for the forested area. The path is well maintained and easy to walk.

We keep our eyes peeled for any signs of beetles.

There are none…

Finally, we arrive at the waterfall.

Called Crayfish Falls because of the many crayfish that used to live here, sadly it seems most have disappeared. So, no crayfish at Crayfish Falls. I searched for the Hercules beetle about an hour, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find one.


◆The Search for the Hercules Beetle and the Shocking Outcome

We arrived at Guadeloupe Zoo. Located on the edge of the Guadeloupe National Park (Parc national de la Guadeloupe), this zoo features a vast natural rainforest with about 450 animals from 85 different species of reptiles, birds, and mammals from the West Indies and the Guyana region, including the spider monkey, racoons, iguanas, birds (such as parrots) etc. Admission is 14.5 Euros.

Crossing a suspension bridge 20 meters up. Not a little thrilling, it was dead scary!

Finally, we arrive at the insect museum.

The long-sought after Hercules beetle! They are not a wild ones in nature, but still amazing and so exciting to see!

Wow so big! They don’t move at all. But I feel the power through the glass.

I spend several minutes taking pictures. They still don’t move.

I started to wonder, so I asked the staff why they aren’t moving.

He said “These are just specimens”. The Hercules beetle in nature is extinct and there are none in Guadeloupe… Currently the insect is designated as protected and its collection and removal from the island is prohibited. Therefore, the Hercules beetles that are for sale in Japan are all bred by humans.
Thanks to the zoo keepers Henry (left) and Dominique (right) for telling me all this info.

Weighed down by this sad reality, we stop by the zoo souvenir shop.

I took a look for souvenirs related to the Hercules beetle, like key chains, stuffed toys, towels etc. but they don’t have anything. A souvenir shop in Japan would definitely have something… An illustrated encyclopedia of insects has only one page for the Hercules beetle.

I found a postcard. I guess the Hercules beetle is just not that popular on Guadeloupe? I bought the postcard and exited the zoo.

By the way, when I played Pokémon Go in Guadeloupe, there was a Hercules beetle character exclusive to the region. No Hercules beetle, but there’s a Pokémon-Go Hercules.


◆The “.gp” Domain and Interesting Things Around Guadeloupe

The huge French supermarket “Carrefour”.

It’s so vast. It has everything.

Even a McDonald’s. But there’s no yellow “M” symbol.


About 10 minutes by car from Carrefour, there’s a “Spice Market” which has an abundance of tropical fruits.


Opened in May 2015, Memorial ACTe is the Guadeloupe History Museum.


We stroll around downtown looking for the “.gp” domain.

There are all kinds of cool mural art.

Like on Martinique, I can find the French domain “.fr”, but I can’t find the Guadeloupe domain “.gp”.

Ah, I finally found a “.gp”! https://www.fraikin.gp/

It was the company “Fraikin”, which rents out commercial / industrial vehicles.


◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

There was an SFR distributor in Carrefour.

SFR’s SIM costs 15 Euros (about 1,800 yen) for 600M. This is also available in Paris. The speed was 20Mbps.

Hotel WiFi was 6.2Mbps, and the SoftBank roaming service was 710Kbps.
Glocalme, which I used while taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel was 16Mbps.

■ List of Places Visited

■ For access to Guadeloupe click here

■ For “.gp” domain details click here