February 20, 2010

Spontaneous Swim-bustion

Sorry, no photos for this post.  The spontaneity didn't afford me the chance to take pictures.  But the experience was definitely worth sharing.  Another I Luv Saipan moment.

So we went to get lunch at KFC today and decided to go behind Townhouse to eat beach side.  We parked our truck under a shady pine tree, with the truck bed facing the ocean, and hopped in the back to have our lunch.  Yah, I know, I've described this before.  And yes, we do this often.

The fact that we can park at the beach, with our truck just 50 feet from the water's edge, to have an instant beachside picnic, is alone an I Luv Saipan moment, but this time, spontaneous swim-bustion occurred.  What do I mean?  Well, let me explain.

We ate our lunch and then my eldest daughter, who is 7, was just sitting at the tailgate, reading her book, while occasionally watching the folks at the beach swimming, jumping off of Sugar Dock, and playing in the sand.  We were all done eating and just finishing off our drinks.  Anyway, my daughter asks, "Papa, can I go swim?"  After a few seconds in thought (since we did not plan this, and we had no swim wear, no sunscreen, etc.), I said to her, "You know, sure, why not!"

Her face lit up while she said, "Really?!"  Then, my other daughter (who is 4) jumped up and yelled, "I want to swim, too!"  And then my toddler son got up and was about to jump off the truck bed before I grabbed him and said, "Hold on, son, wait for me to help you off."  By the way, he's all action, 100 mph, and he gives both my wife and I heart attacks.  But I digress.

So in a flash, my kids and I were submersed in the warm water, enjoying the warm sun, the way it's supposed to be enjoyed.  As a kid would want to anyway.  Needless to say, the smiles on my kids' faces were priceless.  Mine was pretty big too.

That was spontaneous swim-bustion.  And, yep, just another reason I Luv Saipan!

February 16, 2010

The Banzai Trail, Tide Pools, and Pillboxes

President's Day 2010, what to do, what to do?

I suggested a hike to the family.  We haven't been on a hike for over a year and so it was a welcome change and everyone was excited.

We decided on hiking the trail that starts at Banzai Cliff and ends up at a rocky beach behind what was formerly Cowtown, in the Marpi (northern) area of Saipan.  This is an easy hike for young kids as it is relatively flat.  It's about a 30 minute walk one way, but with the kiddos it took us a little over an hour as we took our time stopping to see birds, insects, plants, and trees that piqued our interest.  Going there we ran into a group of Japanese tourists that were riding mountain bikes on the trail.  We said "Ohayo Gozaimasu!" as they passed us on the trail, and they replied back, "Ohayo," or "Good morning," or "Sumimasen/Gomen Nasai," or "Thank you."  They were on the Marianas Trekking tour that is based out of the Mariana Resort & Spa.

When we reached the end of the trail we were met by a beautiful, rocky beach, but the waves were pretty big and rough and the tide was high.  I had gotten the kids excited about swimming at the little beach at the end of the trail, but it wasn't safe, so we just investigated the tide pools that were there.  They had fun in the tide pools as they saw little rock skipping fish, crabs, and shells.  They even caught a couple of the fish in our water containers (we let them go to the kids' disappointment).

The area has some WWII remnants from the Battle of Saipan, with two pillboxes that the Japanese had built in preparation of the American invasion.  I sat in the pillbox that is just over the water and it was a little eerie.  I imagined how it may have been like prior to the invasion.  I could sense the anxiety and claustrophobia in there.

After spending a couple of hours at the beach, we headed back on the trail.  The kids were a little tired, but we were trying to keep them in good spirits.  There's a huge cave just off the trail, and as we stopped to rest, I ventured off the trail to see it.  The cave is dark and ominous.  I could see some old bottles below, probably Japanese.  It looks like this was a cave the Japanese may have hid in during the invasion.  I felt a bit of sadness staring into the cave.  Those were tragic times, especially in the Banzai area where many Japanese killed themselves to avoid capture.  May their spirits be in peace.

Done with looking into the cave, I headed back to my family and we headed out to the trail head.  We finally made it back to where we started, and looking at my watch, it was a total of 4 hours since we started the hike.  It didn't seem that long.

We hopped up onto the back of the truck bed and we munched on some snacks and drank water that we had waiting for us in the truck.  We then got packed up, buckled in, and headed for home.  The kids fell asleep 15 minutes into the drive.  My wife an I were a little tired, but we both agreed that it was an awesome time, and an awesome way to spend the holiday.  We then both said to one another as we reflected on the day, "Yup, I Luv Saipan!"

2010-02-15 Photos from
Banzai trail hike

February 11, 2010

Maginificent Managaha

The islet of Managaha sits in the lagoon of Saipan.  Gazing at it from the shores or high lands of Saipan takes your breath away.  Spending a day on Managaha is priceless as you'll enjoy pristine waters, and tame fish for snorkeling and a gorgeous beach with views of the Saipan shoreline.  It ranked 3rd recently on Yahoo Japan's top beaches in the world.  We lucky residents of Saipan even get a free ride to Managaha and can camp out on it's shores.  It truly is an amazing place.

Just another reason why I Luv Saipan!

Managaha from Lighthouse and CUC beach

February 7, 2010

Ah the trades!

The trade winds are a blowin'.  This is my favorite time of the year.  January through March, trade winds blow through Saipan, the temperature is a little cooler, and the humidity can barely be felt.  If it could be this way all year, it would make this paradise, well, like heaven, I suppose.

This past week, before picking up my daughters from school, my wife and I, and our toddler son, grabbed some lunch from our favorite place, Himawari, and headed to American Memorial Park.  We found a large tree to park under and we looked out onto the lagoon.  From our spot, we saw the sails of windsurfers zoom and criss cross each other as they power their boards with the trades.

One day I'll try that, but for the time being, I was content, enjoying my company, my lunch, the view, and the trades.  Ah, the trades, another reason I Luv Saipan!

(A video of the windsurfers at Micro Beach)
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