...time s----l-----o------w-------s down... ...sharing the many moments with my friends of 26 years---its like the finest wine, the best chocolate, the most plush hotel room, the intense, most vivid sunset, the exilerating experience of seeing a EagleRay for the very first time....
Don't Miss the Submarine Tour
Enjoy the wonders of the deep, on an underwater tour of the Saipan lagoon. You will see beautiful corals, schools of tropical fishes in their natural environment, and historical sunken wrecks.
During our tour, there was a group of Japanese women who cried for their loved ones who have lost their lives underwater. Very emotional!
Life on the quiet paradise of CNMI
Well, my work situation in Asia is always up in the air... so having to run out on limited notice to renew my Visa, guess who got yet another junket?! Yes, I was able to get to Saipan for a paid leave from Korea. Having found a direct flight from Busan, Korea to Saipan, I was the only white person on the plane! I had lots of looks by the other passengers and by the airport staff, but had a great trip nonetheless. I flew on the red-eye flights out and back to maximize the daylight hours of my visit too.
Due to the blessings of the internet, networking and some friends around the world, I wound up staying all but one night with some local friends. Being dive instructors and great outgoing people, I had a great time of it. I logged 6 dives in different locations, toured the island, learned the local ways and politics, ate well and made some good new friends.
The island is nice. I could see myself coming back. Its quite chill and relaxed. Saipan Island is less than 15 miles with ~60000 people or less. It is a US commonwealth, so English and the dollar are the way to go. Local politics have a bit to be desired (am getting good 1st hand info since my friends are radio host).
Saipan is almost a forgotten place today. Only people with the curiosity for travel or history come by the name. The islands have remained quiet and remote for the average person. But history shows that they were a logistic and tactical focal point in the Pacific Theater of WWII.
Battles raged between USA and Japan in the waters and islands of the area. Ultimately, Saipan was home to one of the bloodiest battles of the war (more than 43,000 deaths!). Neighboring island (Tinian) became the world's busiest airport (at the time) since it was the base for all Asian raids and USAF missions. That was the airport that the infamous Enola Gay departed from.
(for more pictures, feel free to visit my CNMI (Saipan) Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)
The Jewel of Japan
"Saipan's Birds Eye View"
This is perhaps the most visited spot on Saipan for its natural beauty. Birds Eye View. I lived on this island for 6 years, so these pictures may serve an injustice. There are far more pretty places to visit on this island, and you never get tired of it. Great place to live and or visit.
"A Japanese Tank"
This island has alot of remnants from WWII remaining. Here on Micro-beach lies several Japanese tanks in a National Park with a museum. Saipan has old Japanese bunkers and on occasion, live bombs and ordanance are found, in some cases, taking lives.
"Old Japanese Jail"
It has been speculated by many people that Amelia Earhardt was captured and sent to Saipan where she may have later been executed. Though not proven, here is a photo shot of that Japanese jail. I walked amongst the ruins, and even entered in some of the cells. Very powerful experience.