Nov 3, 2006

October Snapshots

The mighty "Gray Ghosts" at the SDA School Olympic Game Day. I am in the back laughing maniacally and crowing: "Even the sky is on our side! Mwuh-hahahahaha!" (Note the overcast skies behind us.)

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an entry. Here’s a little bit of what’s been going on in the month of October for us here in Saipan.

The first half of the month was cloaked in rainclouds. This has been one of the rainiest rainy seasons I’ve ever experienced in Saipan. We went literally for weeks at a time with overcast skies and constant rain. It felt like we were living in Seattle. So you’ll note the early pictures feature gray skies, with only the later pictures showing sunshine as things seem to have returned to normal now.

On Thursday, October 19 we had our annual Olympic Game Day. In the morning the students were divided into color coded teams, each led by a teacher. We played team games with the winning teams earning points. I’m proud to say my team, the “Gray Ghosts” will most likely win. We did very well, and were always in the lead, as far as I’m aware. The final results are yet to be announced. We ended up having to postpone the individual competition part of Olympic Game Day, scheduled for the afternoon, due to rain. We only just made up those events this past Thursday, so hopefully at the next assembly they’ll announce all the winners and the Gray Ghosts can claim their victory.

Here we are beating down the other teams on our way to yet another victory, this one in the "over/under relay." You'll note me exhorting my team to victory.

Below, some of the other teams:

The Red Team led by Britni Gleason, kindergarten teacher

The Green Team led by Ms. Jaribeth Carmona, Grade 1/2 teacher.

The Yellow Tigers led by Grant Graves.

The Vice President and a friend mug for the camera. Gray Ghosts!!

What would our blog be without a couple Kimo pictures? Barbara took these photos after Kimo was let out for a bit, and apparently just rolled in some mud. I've never seen her so dirty before. Needless to say she was bathed right after these photos were taken.

On Thursday, October 26, REAL Christian Theater performed at the Street Market. We haven't done a street market show in probablly four and a half years. In the past they've been some of our most difficult performances--it's loud, there are lot of other distractions, and the audience is transient. If you're not entertaining them they will just walk on. But this show went very well, thanks to God's blessing and some excellent material that one of our directors, Grant Graves, was able to develop. We kept much of our audience through the entire hour we performed, with some actually sitting down on the ground to watch (something you rarely ever see at the street market), and the final performances of the "The Creation", "The Fall", and "The Redemption" seemed to touch a lot of hearts.

Here we are performing "The Bus" at the street market. I'm standing at the left, playing the part of Bob Marley

Last Sabbath, October 28, 2006, Grades 1-4 performed a cantata directed by Barbara for the divine worship service. Here they are in mid-song.

After church it was home for lunch. Barbara was cooking that weekend and she prepared a tasteful meal--both to the eyes and the palate. We had tomato soup, greek salad, and pan bagnat, a sandwhich of provolone cheese, roasted eggplant, peppers, olive oil, garlic and other goodies that is smashed with a heavy weight for about an hour before serving. Delicious. And all topped off with 100% pure grape juice, just like we had at our wedding! Sumptious!

For readers with a green thumb (i.e. Barbara's mom). Some pictures of Barbara's latest aquisitions for her garden.

On Monday, October 30, I took the ninth grade class on our field trip to see the ancient Chamorro sites around Saipan as part of their World History unit on ancient civilizations. You can still find the remains of old Chamorro homes from before the Spanish came. All that’s left of these structures are the latte stones the-- limestone shafts and capstones that made up the “stilts” that the homes were built upon. I’ve done this tour many times, but this particular year, our tour guide didn’t show up and the guy who was the last minute sub was a little less than informative. He took us to one latte sight at Obyan Beach and a latte quarry near Coral Ocean Point, and then to a couple of random World War II ruins near the airport before bringing the tour to an early close. While we may not have learned much, we did have a good time, and we had plenty of time for lunch—a feast of Indian food at the Taste of India, our favorite (and the only) Indian restaurant on Saipan.

Here I am with my ninth grade class at the first stop on our tour, the Obyan Beach latte sites. We are sitting in front of one of the shafts of the a latte a stone. You can see another to our right and a third behind it. There three more that together made a the foundation of the home. Pictured left to right are Tall (my name for him because he is tall), The Treasurer, The Vice President, and CK Boy (cousin of CK Girl, thus the name).

After a slow start to our field trip--we got a flat tire not five minutes after having left the Office of Historic Preservation--the guide led us to our first stop, Obyan Beach, via a rather adventerous route, an overgrown "road" right through the middle of the boonies. This picture shows the view through the front windshield as we drove through the boonies. You can see the guides car through the trees ahead of us.

Driving through the Saipan jungle

The latte quarry at Coral Ocean Point on the southern end of Saipan.

Wallking back from the latte quarry we cut through the golf course at Coral Ocean Point.

The Treasurer poses with her umbrella at the entrance to one of the World War II era ruins. The umbrella-as-sunshade is a common site here among Asian women who highly prize their pale skin and worry constantly about getting too dark.

"Looking through the window of the past"

The ruins of a World War II era Japanese power plant.

CK Boy climbs aboard one of the wrecked tanks leftover from World War II. Tanks like this can be found all over Saipan, and even in the shallow waters off the beaches of our island.

The entrance to the World War II Era Japanese bomb storage facility located near the modern day Saipan International Airport. We had to run a gauntlet of wasps to get inside as the entrance and enterior were dotted with huge wasp nests.

CK Boy inside the Japanese bomb storage facility.

The Treasurer inside the Japanese bomb storage facility.

A photo of the always-deserted Paseo De Marianas. This was supposed to be the heart of the revitalized tourist district of Garapan here in Saipan. Instead it seems to be a death trap for all the buisness that ended up stuck down here. It's supposed to be pedestrians only but there aren't many pedestrians, and drivers must park; most don't seem to have the will to abandon their cars and hike in . The first time we tried to go to Taste of India we couldn't find it, because it was buried deep in the heart of the Paseo. At night on the Paseo you will find very beautiful women in very short, tight skirts, lounging in the doorways of the clubs and massage parlors. They are "hostesses", because of course prostitution is illegal in Saipan. My friend Dan calls them "Garapan Girls."

Here I am posing as the "Saipanda", the fictional tourism "mascot" of Saipan.This was taken on the Paseo De Marianas just a couple stores down from the Taste of India and just around the corner from the pearl shake shop (where we stopped for pearl shakes--fruit smoothies with black "pearls" made of gelled tapioca in the bottom). We do have actual native creatures such as fruit bats, monitor lizards, various birds, deer, etc that could have been the mascot for our island. Even the humble but ubiquitous gecko could have been used. But no, instead they came up with this bizarre amalgamation of panda and unicorn called the "Saipanda" which has no discernable relationship to the island and THIS is how we advertise ourselves to the world. Brilliant, isn't it?

Which brings us to the first few days of November. Happy Birthday Vince! I tried to call you, but haven’t been able to get through. Hope your 31st was fun!

Yesterday, Friday, November 3, was the first of the many “C” holidays of this time of year. Altogether there are about three or four of these local government holidays—Citizenship Day (which was yesterday), Constitution Day, Commonwealth Day, and Covenant Day are the holidays, I believe. One of those I might have made up. . .I’m not sure which. Extra credit to any reader who can tell me which one of the four is NOT a CNMI government holiday, or if “all of the above” are correct. Anyway, all the holidays fall in the months of November, December, and January. In addition we’ve got Veterans Day and Thanksgiving which means that this month there only be one full week of school. We’ll have at least one day off school each week, if not more. November is a good month.

Anyway, yesterday we had off and Barbara spent the day at one of her favorite places on Saipan, the Mandi Spa located at the Marianas Resort on the far northern end of the island. I know, I know. It’s not enough that we already live on a tropical island paradise within a short flying distance of many more exotic places all over Asia. No, we also have a gorgeous, relaxing spa which can be luxuriated it in for a mere $15 for the day. And you wonder why we stay? (And we wonder why you haven’t visited yet!).

Below are some pictures of the Mandi, taken during Barbara’s first visit to the spa during the Christmas holidays last year (she didn’t take a camera with her yesterday).

The view of one of the Mandi pools.

Here's the flower bath.

This is the relaxation room, where you can read, center yourself, and sleep.

1 comment:

aya said...

hey mr m! good to see youre updating the journal online.

loved the pictures!
btw, just a note about the stupid mascot of saipan. i find myself explaining the stupidity of the actual "meaning" (yes there is one!) of saipanda. and it's quite difficult unless you're japanese.
so saipanda is a panda slash rhino... and the "banana on his nose" is a rhinos horn. the reason why he's 95% panda and %5 banana..i mean rhino... is because in japanese SAI means rhino and PANDA is of course panda. and thats where you go "ohhhhhh" but theres more. saying "saipan da" in japanese means "it's Saipan" or "Here is Saipan" some kind of statement saying it is saipan. so as stupid as it sounds, it kind of makes sense why we have some mysterious panda with a banana for a nose.

i hope u understood that!