Tony Cordoza, Boy Genius!

My friend, Tony Cordoza, is a genius! Here’s how I know.

A few weeks ago, I announced the completion of two books I had started to write while in Hainan, China. As a result of the email to a few subscribers, I made a few advanced sales of the The Coffeepot Cookbook, as well as Living True To Your Self.  However, I hadn’t yet gone forward with the actual printing of Living True because I still wasn’t 100% happy with the cover image for the book.

Over the years, as a result of (1) being a “control freak,” (2) working under impractical, self-imposed deadlines (“I need it yesterday!”), (3) being prone to making many last-minute changes, (4) being convinced of my own artistic superiority, and (5) congenital frugality (read: cheapness), I’ve always found it easier to design my own covers.

For Living True, I had gone through about 5 different ideas for the cover (each having been posted on the www.livingtruetoyourself.com site). So, after my 5th attempt, I sought the input of my photographer friend, Tony Cordoza.

Now, Tony and I go a long way back. He’s taken all of the headshots I’ve used on my websites, books, columns and for my media kits. He took the photos for the covers of the records for the groups I marketed during my record label days, and I have, in fact, used his still shots and conceptual designs for a few of my previous books.Image: The God Squad: Blow ’em Out Like Candles…back in the day!

He’s an artist who goes to great lengths to get things perfect. I remember going shopping late at night at a construction supplies outlet a few years back to get a brick which Tony then painstakingly chiseled for hours by hand (while I watched, with pina colada in my hand), lit expertly in his studio, and then shot for the amazing cover of my book, The Tao of Wow. Now, there’s a true Wow Master!

So, Tony sent me a few conceptual images he had laying around, and I picked the one that “spoke” to me and created a cover. I liked it, but, couldn’t decide whether to use it, or stick to something a little more literal. Even until just 2 days ago, based on some feedback I had gotten from a few friends, I had decided to go with a “rocks on the beach” shot of me I took recently. I wrote to Tony and told him of my decision even though I really liked his concept. He replied:

“I get what you are saying, but remember you started the conversation with the words you want people to think outside the box. The shot of the rocks, sea and sky is very pedestrian, expected, uninspired, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, mundane, vanilla, should I go-on.:-)  I am not just saying that because it is my image.  Forget what other people say and make the decision based on what the image does for you and what you see in it. The image with the boxes is very conceptual and thought provoking. If I saw that beach scene cover on a bookstore shelf, I would never give it a second look.” [that’s the sort of valuable, professional advice you pay thousands for!]

So, taking the advice of an internationally famous photographer whose work has appeared on magazine covers, books, ad campaigns, etc. I went with it.  So…

At 9:30am, I uploaded the files to my createspace account.

At 10:00am I uploaded the new image to the livingtruetoyourself.com website,

At 4:00pm, createspace responded that the  files were ready for proofing.

By 5:00pm I approved the files for publication.

12 hours later, at 5:00am, the next day, I woke to find that a sale had come through the website!

In other words, in less than 24 hours from the moment I chose Tony’s image, it generated income.

As I wrote in an email to Tony a few minutes later:

The book wasn’t being actively promoted as yet, so the visits to the site have been “onesies and twosies” with no sales. However, I uploaded the graphic just a few hours ago, and the very next person who visited the site made a purchase. Since the various previous (my own) cover images were up on the site for many weeks without a sale, I myself attribute this “out of the blue” sale to the new cover! THANKS, boy Genius!! –W

Now, perhaps there’s no way to really know if that particular sale would have come through with the beach scene cover instead of Tony’s image. Perhaps my sales copy on the site would have been compelling enough to do it, but Tony’s statement about not giving the cover a second look if it were on a shelf is what pushed me over the edge. I realized he was right! I had been too focused on creating a cover that Walt Goodridge liked, rather than one that was compelling. When I looked at it from the point of view of a neutral observer, I found myself wanting to get in closer to see what the cover and the book was all about.

So, my point is this: when I tell you that I know a great photographer you should use, it’s not just because he’s my friend. Visit www.tonycordoza.com

What’s that? Oh, you want to see Tony’s image that I’m using for the book? Well, you’ll have to visit www.livingtruetoyourself.com to see for yourself!
And while you’re there, please share your opinions and take the Living True Survey Before (and after) ordering (Also available on Amazon!)

Also, check out Tony’s new coffeetable book:
Contemporary Tribal Markings


The Money I Breathe….

Just finished reading Money and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health and Happiness by Esther and Jerry Hicks. Just thought I’d share a life rhyme I wrote that was inspired by the following concept in the book:

“In the same way that you understand that you do not have to attempt the impossible task of drawing enough air into your lungs to last all day or all week or all year–but instead you easily breathe in and out, always receiving what you want or need whenever you want or need it–money can flow in and out of your experience with the same ease once you achieve that expectation of Eternal abundance.

All the money that you want is available for you to receive. All you have to do is allow it into your experience. And as the money flows in, you can gently allow it to flow out, for like the air you breathe, there will always be more to flow.

You do not have to guard your money (like holding your breath) and not letting it out because there will not be any more coming. More is coming.”–end of book excerpt

That concept inspired the following life rhyme:

The Money I Breathe

(I ONCE BELIEVED)
The money I breathe is restricted
there’s just not enough to go ’round
must make as much as I can
so that I’m not a poor man
so to this treadmill I’m perpetually bound

The money I breathe means survival
For without it I flounder and gasp
And for years I held tight
ever secure I was right
to never let it slip from my grasp

(BUT NOW I KNOW THAT)
The money I breathe is abundant
There’s no need that I hoard it in fear
How absurd if I seek
to breathe in advance for a week
for like air, more will always be there

The money I breathe feeds the moment
and enhances my life in the now
And the good it can do
means it must pass on through
more will come when I simply allow
–W.G.



Swim free, little fishies! Swim free!!!

After my ritual morning run on the beach here on Saipan, I returned to my beachfront desk to do some brainstorming for a few projects including Living True To Your Self.

As I approached my usual spot, I heard the sound of a plop of water behind me, and turned quickly to notice a second plop and what appeared to be something hitting the water from an angle that, if it had been thrown, would mean someone out in the ocean had thrown it. I was puzzled, as there was no one on the beach or in the water for as far as the eye could see.

I gazed towards where the object had entered the water, and it was then I saw something dark and mysterious near the water’s edge. (hey, didn’t someone once describe me that way?). I thought it might be seaweed, but wasn’t quite sure. I walked towards it.

As I got closer, I was delighted to discover that it was….fish! Hundreds of them. No, thousands! Several undulating  black pools of small fish near the water’s edge. Doing their dance of life.

1. Something dark and mysterious by the water’s edge!
View the mysterious video!


They were so close to the sand at the edge of the water that it almost seemed as if they were about to  recreate their distant ancestors’  apocryphal transition from sea dweller to land dweller right before my eyes!

But then, I heard the telltale ominous music playing in the background. [Think: Jaws, the movie]. I scanned the horizon, and then quickly discovered the reason why.  About 5 or 6 feet from the frolicking school of small fish, was a larger, sword nosed fish that seemed to be enjoying the display as much as I was–but, as I was soon to learn–for entirely different reasons.

I watched as swordnose sailed out of the water and dove into the unsuspecting school of smaller fish. (Caught on film) The school dispersed for a moment in the area of swordfish’s entrance into the shallow water, a bit of chaos ensued, but things quickly returned to normal and the predator  could be seen swimming away with a fresh meal in its sword mouthed grasp.





2. Swim, little fishies! Swim!! (Attack of the swordnosed fish!)
View video of attack!

A few moments later, while I was still contemplating the predator-prey paradigm as it plays itself out in life and in nature, along comes a fisherman. I thought to myself that he’d probably seen many such displays in his years of fishing along Saipan’s shores. However, he too, uttered a “wow” and stopped to watch the schools of fish.

We acknowledged each other, exchanged a few pleasantries, and soon, he did what fishermen do, and cast his net into the waters to claim and augment his own catch for the day.

As he walked past me back to his bucket with a few small fish in his net, a few of them dropped out and onto the sand. I reached down and rescued those I could and tossed them back into the water.

We were next to each other. He standing, reaching into his net, tossing fish into his bucket. Me, crouching, reaching down to the sand,  tossing fish back into the water. He didn’t seem to mind. Nor did I. (I couldn’t help thinking of Elsa the lion and the movie Born Free.)

Soon, we smiled, said our goodbyes and he walked away.

I think he said they made a nice soup.

Saipan Beachfront Office. Act now!

Act quickly! This one may be gone tomorrow! Are you a writer who needs to escape the hustle and bustle and noise of city life to be creative? Do you dream of having your very own tropical island getaway with a view of the ocean to inspire you? Are you just an overworked and underpaid working person who dreams of escape? Well now you can!

Forget about expensive villas and vacation condos! All you really need is right here!

Wake to a thrilling Saipan sunrise, and after an invigorating run on the beach, (same Jamaican, different beach)

return to your office to get some work done!

Sand-colored floors (colored with real sand); Pine wood walls (provided by real pine trees); stone desk and comfortable stone chair, this open air office is just the ideal setting for your escape.


It doesn’t get any more beachfront than this, folks! Ideal for the minimalist! (However, if you want some more normal accommodations on Saipan, visit www.destinationSaipan.com

Year built: pre-civilization; desk added within last century

Living area: as far as the eye can see

Tenure: Free; Simple.

Land area: all of it

Monthly taxes: $0

The Evolution of a Saipan Sunset

Now that I’m back on Saipan, I have time to process all the experiences and observations of my last six months in China, Laos and Singapore. The pace of life here on Saipan is a bit slower. My days are spent catching up on a lot of loose ends (answering emails, updating websites, etc.) that had been left undone during the Jamaican in China adventures.

Here on Saipan, there are secluded spots as well as not-so-secret beaches where I can sit or stroll for hours and never see another human. Admittedly, that may not be such great news for a mass-marketed tourism economy, but it’s great for getting an exlusive “ring side seat” as the sole observer of the evolution of a Saipan sunset.


April 18, 2011. Saipan’s spectacular secret sunset show begins about 6:00pm every evening


Come early grab a wooden seat.


See you tomorrow. Same time.

The Amazing Sixty-eight and-a-half Truths About Women, About Which Men Have No Freakin’ Clue

Okay, Guys. Listen up.

Here’s Amazing Truth #23: Women have super powers.

Have you ever wondered why conventional wisdom holds that women don’t cheat, say, as much as men do? (By the way, it’s only “cheating” if you’ve made a promise you can’t or don’t intend to keep, but that’s a whole other truth for a whole other day.)

In any event, women may actually cheat less, the same or even more than men do, but if it seems less, here’s one reason why. You see, women are more intuitive and have senses (smell, taste, hearing, etc.) that are more developed than men’s. It’s true. (Intuition is “the ability to know the truth about something without ever having been told, shown or taught.”)

That’s why a woman can tell if you’ve been smoking (no matter how much mouthwash you use), she can tell if there’s another woman’s perfume or bodily scent on you, (no matter how many showers you take), and that’s how she can tell that another woman has been in your apartment (no matter how well you think you’ve cleaned up).

Men, on the other hand, do not possess such developed senses and intuition, but here’s the really interesting part.

You see, even though they are vastly different from each other, both men AND women actually BELIEVE that the other gender is just like they are. You see, people tend to view other people through their own unique lens. For example, people who take drugs believe that everyone must have experimented at least once. People who are untrustworthy believe no one can be trusted, etc. They believe “The world is just like me.”

What this means is that MEN–who are NOT endowed with hyper-senses and keen intuition– believe they can get away with anything, since they have no idea that such powers even exist, and have no freakin’ clue what women are capable of.

The man’s thinking goes like this: “I can bring another woman to the apartment, and as long as I clean up and put everything back the way it was, she’ll never know…’cause women are just like men. She can’t know. Ha!ha!”

Similarly, WOMEN, who ARE endowed with hyper-senses and keen intuition believe that men must also be endowed, so they DON’T believe they can get away with anything, and are thus trapped in “good behavior mode” since they have no freakin’ clue what profound deficiencies men are operating under.

The woman’s thinking goes like this: “I CAN’T bring another man to the apartment, because even if I clean up and put everything back the way it was, he’ll know…’cause men are just like women. He’ll know. Darn!Darn!”

So, there you have it, guys: Amazing Truth #23: The real reason why men always get caught, and why conventional wisdom says that women don’t. It’s not because women cheat any less than men do, but simply because–based on their belief that men can detect things the same way women can– they simply clean up far better than your inferior male senses and intuition will ever be able to detect! (“Welcome home, honey!” Did you have a nice day at work?” Hmmmm….I wonder what you’ll be thinking tonight as the two of you dine at the dinner table?) Never lie to a woman. They know.

Someone Needed to Say It.

From the forthcoming book, The Amazing 68 and a half Truths About Women, About Which Men Have no Freakin’ Clue by Walt F.J. Goodridge

It’s the much-anticipated sequel to It’s the Motion of the Ocean…and Other Lies Women Tell to Small Men also by Walt F.J. Goodridge

UPDATE: You can find all this in the new book: “If you want to be my girlfriend…”



From the shockingly irreverent, yet curiously and wildly popular “Someone Needed to Say It” series of books.

File under “International Dating Advice”

Friends in High Places…skewing the distribution

URGENT MEMO TO ALL AFFECTED PARTIES:

Somewhere in the western Pacific there exists a little island of 46.5 square miles in total size. A mere thirteen miles long by an average of 5 miles wide, Saipan, CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) is home to an indigenous population of Chamorros and Carolinians, as well as Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Australians, Americans, Russians, Canadians, Yapese, Chukese, Palauans, and other Pacific islanders. The total population of Saipan is approximately 40,000–but varies depending on whom you talk with.

8,794.6 miles away in the Caribbean Sea, exists another island of 4,411 square miles. 146 miles long by 51 miles wide, Jamaica is home to an indigenous population of Arawaks, as well as displaced Africans, Maroons, South Asian Indians, Chinese Americans and Brits who all proudly call themselves “Jamaican.” The total population of Jamaica is approximately 2.5 million.

Jamaicans can be found in every corner of the planet. This is by design. It is our job to integrate the global community to make everyone aware of our greatness. In fact, the JPDPD (Jamaican Person Dispersal Prime Directive) requires an even distribution of Jamaicans across all latitudes and longitudes and on all continents. We’ve been given the task of holding key positions in politics (Colin Powell), music (Bob Marley), sports (Patrick Ewing), revolutionary thought (Marcus Garvey), etc., and of occupying the full range of professions and industries. So it should come as no surprise that there is at least one Jamaican on the tiny, remote island of Saipan. The plan demands it.

According to said plan–the details of which remain closely guarded on a “need to know” basis– there should be at least 1 JPPM (Jamaican Person Per Million) people in every population.

However, it appears that somewhere in the Jamaican Person Dispersal Prime Directive Personnel Department [that would be the JPDPDPD], there was a miscommunication, a misdirected memo, or some type of clerical error. For on April 9, 2011, on the tiny, remote island of Saipan, CNMI, with its population of only 40,000 people, there were not the minimum requirement of one, not two, but THREE Jamaicans, all clustered in the same room!!! Furthermore, if that weren’t bad enough, TWO of them held the coveted position of airline pilot! TWO!! (We’re not quite sure about the occupation of the third one, but our investigation is continuing).

This is not an “even distribution,” people!!

Somewhere on the planet, there’s a population missing a Jamaican!! I don’t need to remind you about the ramifications of this! I want a full report on my desk by 5:00pm!

Heads will roll!


Winston Delroy Trevor Courtney Bogle, III
Policy Director, Jamaican Person Dispersal Prime Directive Personnel Department
[That would be the PD of the JPDPDPD]


(click on image to enlarge)
Friends in High Places. Ben, Ron, Walt, Cardiff and Chris. Japanese, Jamaican, Jamaican, Jamaican, Japane–Waitaminit! What the—???? Quick, get me a camera! Better yet, get me the PD of the JPDPDPD! There are more Jamaicans per capita on Saipan than, well, even in Jamaica!!

The short happy tale of 41 Australians and the Jamaican on Saipan!

Now it can be told!  One of the reasons I returned to Saipan from China specifically when I did was to arrange a special tour for a group of visiting Australians to the island of Saipan. Way back in October of 2010, while I was in Beijing, China, I received a request through my DiscoverSaipan site from Narelle M., one of the activity organizers on a 45-day Sun Princess Cruise Lines tour originating in Sydney, and then continuing to Hong Kong to Japan, a few Pacific Islands and back to Australia. (One of the beautiful benefits of running internet-based businesses is the ability to do so from any location on earth with internet access).

Narelle and I continued our communication throughout my China adventure and we built the  excitement as the date approached. However, by the time the cruise kicked off in early March, Narelle was not able to be physically present on the cruise, so I continued organizing with Gaye H. As things progressed, the “Cherry Blossom Tour,” as it had been billed, had to cancel its stops in Japan due to the recent events there. However, the Pacific island leg of the tour was still on!

Most of the arrangements for transportation were made back in November (Thanks for the assist, Miki!), and as the number of interested cruise passengers increased,  I had to add more and more vans to handle the ever-increasing group.

Once I returned to Saipan, I met with Scott Russell and Merced Alda of the Mariana Council for the Humanities, as well as local saipanpreneur, Catherine Perry, and Gordon Marciano of PDI, who graciously helped pull things together in the few days before the ship was to arrive.

I wanted to offer our visitors a Saipan experience unlike the standard “big bus, big guns” tour most visitors receive. I wanted to show them the Saipan I fell in love with: the fantastic scenery, the local culture, the warm-hearted residents, and simple daily lifestyle that make Saipan a secret paradise and coveted escape from the ills of modern living. For that, I would need to assemble a special team.

Both Catherine and Scott suggested “Uncle” Lino Olapai as a representative of Saipan Carolinian culture (Lino is author of a book entitled The Rope of Tradition, which can be ordered here; Saipan residents may purchase at Bestseller Books), and John Castro as a representative of things Chamorro.


John (left), Lino and I meet at Java Joe’s a few days before to discuss the tour

My friend, Norman Xing, suggested a Chinese NMC liberal arts student and former tour bus driver who would also be part of the team.

And, to add some feminine energy to the team, John recruited Catherine Shai, homemaker and former cultural dancer.

I awoke on the morning of Tuesday, March 5, 2011, to an auspicious Saipan sunrise. The past three days had seen rain and overcast weather which, if it continued, would threaten the fun and excitement of my Saipan in a Day Tour.


The sunrise on the actual morning of the tour.

We learned a day or two before that, due to an issue with a faulty engine, the ocean liner was delayed and scheduled to arrive at 11:45am.

 

Vans are picked up…Thanks, Cheryl and Jenny at Microl Toyota!


More vans are picked up…Thanks Layer and Monica at Hertz!

The team met, vans were picked up, logistics were arranged, and all was proceeding well.

The A team: Chamorro Korean Catherine, Chamorro John, Carolinian Lino, Chinese Tom, Jamaican Walt. Thanks Doug! Great Photo!


By 11:00am, the ship could be seen making its final approach to Saipan

We arrived at the dock, and as  the members of our 3-van/1-SUV caravan waited for our turn to enter the restricted area, a torrential downpour began at about 12 noon!

Storm clouds gather ominously

After about half hour of rain, the clouds began to pass and we were able to see breaks of blue sky coming in from the south. I knew this would be a good day!


By the time the passengers started to alight, the sky over Saipan was a stunning blue!

We met our group, headed out to my favorite spot, did our special welcome, and did our thing!

Lino leads the group of visitors towards our vans

 

Welcome, introductions, flowers, mwars and the fun begins!

As I told the visiting Aussies (and New Zealanders and at least two Americans): There is only ONE Lino Olopai  on Saipan, and we’ve got him! If you want local expertise on Chamorro culture, there’s only ONE John Castro, and we’ve got him on our tour too! I assured them, that once they returned to the ship and compared notes with the other passengers, they would have had an experience like no other!


Looking on intently
 

I’ll have to keep some of our Secret Saipan tour, well… a secret, you understand, but I’ll just say that based on the feedback we received, as well as the happy goodbyes, a good time was had by most!


An adventurous ten took Walt’s trek to the best scenic spot on Saipan


Sacred spots and more!


As it was requested by some of our guests, we decided to incorporate some of the big guns into their experience


Next to a big bus….”Ok, where do we go next?”


Bird island


Lino holds court at the Micro Beach Pavilion….history, culture and more!

As the evening drew to a close, I noted to myself that the cloudy evening sky obscured one of Saipan’s greatest assets: the famous Saipan sunset. However, almost on cue, even with an invisible sun, some streaks of hot pink emerged to color the sky and water in front of Micro Beach seemingly just for the benefit of our guests. It lasted no more than 5 minutes, but was enough to elicit some oohs and ahhs from the crowd, and provide a nice end to a special day!


Sunset makes a special brief appearance just for us.


We dropped our visitors back at the dock and said our goodbyes….You should have been there!

And thus concludes The Short Happy Tale of the 41 Australians, the two Chamorros, the Carolinian, the Chinese, and the Jamaican on Saipan!


Where to stay in Sanya, Hainan? Let me tell you…

Memories of China presents: I like to chat with entrepreneurs wherever I meet them. Check out this “Sanyapreneur” profile that may interest you in your own trip to China!–Walt

I happened to be in the city of Sanya, Hainan, People’s Republic of China shortly before, and then after Chinese new year.

I chanced upon UFO hotel while searching all morning (without success) for another hotel in the vicinity. Intrigued by the name in big blue letters above the door, I walked in, discovered the young lady at the front desk spoke English and asked for her help. She was so gracious and helpful–helping me locate the hotel, making calls for me, suggesting other options, given my desire to find a kitchen, and never once suggesting her own hotel as a place to stay–that as I passed back on my way to the bus stop, I decide to thank her again. We talked for a while, one thing led to another, and I ended up staying at the UFO hotel. UFO hotel has four floors, 15 rooms and is located in the heart of Dadonghai.

After staying for a few days, and getting to see the operation, I took the opportunity to speak with Wang Jia Ni (“Niko”), the young proprietress of UFO born and raised in Hainan, who with her boyfriend Li Bing and sole employee, Xiao Mei, run the UFO hotel.

Niko and Bi-Ling

Walt:When did you open your business?
Niko: 2010 Winter

Walt:Wow! So, it hasn’t even been four months! Congratulations

Walt:Many people, especially at such a young age, are thinking about finding a job and working for someone else. How did you come to think so differently than most people?

Niko: Well, it was just to try another life! Before, I also worked for somebody and did not like it. We think about the fact that now when we are young, we can do something different. If we fail, we have more time to recover and try again.

Walt: This your first business?
Niko: Yes.

Walt:Did anyone in your family have their own business?

Niko: Yes, my father had his own business. He was successful initially, but he was a very kindhearted person. And people took advantage of him.

Walt: What about your boyfriend, Li Bing, did his parents?

Niko: Yes, his parents had a business for many years. hotel busines and restaurant in Heilong Jiang a city in north China…. north of Beijing.

Walt: So, why the hotel business?

Niko: To try another life! I used to work at a hotel here in Sanya. First in reception and later I went into the sales department.

Walt:Why did you name the hotel “UFO?”

Niko: Li Bing thought of the name. UFO hotel. It’s an easy name that everyone can remember. English people know it, and even Chinese who may not speak English know enough simple English to remember. It’s also unique and can be easily remembered.

Walt:What is the most difficult thing about running a hotel?

Niko: When we started the hotel, because we are so young, we did not have the money to rent, to paint, to buy all the things we needed for the hotel.

Walt: Did you borrow from the bank?

Niko: No, we both had our savings, but it was not enough. So we borrowed from friends and family.

Walt:Why did you choose to open your hotel in Sanya?

Niko: In Sanya the air is cleaner. it is the best city Hainan. Second, we both worked here before. I worked for 3 years. My boyfriend worked here for 5 years. So we have knowledge of many things about the city that are important to know.

Walt: This is a question I ask all current and aspiring entrepreneurs. WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE UFO? There are so many other hotels and accommodations everywhere. In fact, right across the walkway, there is an 18-story building, and each floor is a different “hotel” rented by someone and offering accommodations to visitors. What makes you different?

Niko: There are a few reasons. First, we have a lobby!

Walt:A lobby?

Niko: Yes, that is very important, especially in this area. A lobby can allow a friend to find you quickly. You can meet, talk, plan your day with your friends and family. Having a lobby means it is safer than other hotels in this area. In the buildings where every floor is a hotel, anybody can walk in from the streets, and go to any floor. It is not safe. Here at UFO, because we have a lobby, and there is always someone at the front desk, we only allow guests into the hotel. If you stay here, your room and your things are much safer.

Niko: Second, we offer many conveniences the one-floor hotels do not. We have hair dryer, refrigerator, washing machine, bicycle, surfboards, all free. we offer many things to the guests to make their lives convenient. At other hotels, you would have to buy some things for only a short time, and then leave them behind. Our conveniences are free to use.

Niko: Third is, on the fourth floor, we have a terrace. You can go to relax or even have a small party with your friends. At the one-floor hotels, there are only rooms.

Niko: We are here many years. There are things that we know about Sanya. For example, the other one-floor hotels charge different prices in morning, and lower prices at night. As the evening gets later, these hotels begin to worry, because the room will be wasted and lost, so they will rent a room for as low as 60RMB just to make the income. So many bad people wait until late, and rent a room and then they make a copy of the room key. Then they have the room key, and if you stay in that hotel the next day, someone may have the key to your room!

Walt:Was this building a hotel before? Why did the previous owners leave?

Niko: I think the owners before were not so young. They did not have good ideas. The rooms were not clean, the color was bad. They did not think about the little things that are important. There were no conveniences.

Walt:What intrigued me about your hotel, is that you speak English very well, and Li Bing speaks Russian. I think that makes your hotel very unique.

Niko: Thank you, but my English is no good. I learned English very early, but not well. I took my first class in the third grade. We practice to read and write, but we didn’t get to speak and listen, because we didn’t have other people who speak English. So we know English just for tests. However, in sales and reception at the other hotel, I got to practice.

Walt:And Li Bing?

Niko: He learned Russian before high school–from elementary school to 12th grade. He went to college, and his major is International Economics & Trade.

Walt:Your English is perfect! Do the owners of the other hotels speak English or Russian?

Niko: Not many other hotels here do. They may have friends who can translate for them, but many cannot.

Walt: And the previous owners?
Niko: …spoke only Chinese.

Walt:How long has the hotel been open?
Niko: Four months. First month, we cleaned the rooms, painted the walls, 2nd month, we open to the public.

Walt:Do you remember your first customer?

Niko: Yes, they were from Henan Province. There were two families in three rooms who stayed six days.

Walt:Getting your first customers so quickly after opening must have been great, but I imagine everything might not have been completely ready!

Niko: Yes! It was very funny! They arrived early in the morning. When we went to pick them up, their room wasn’t ready. It was cleaned the day before, but there was now dust from all the painting and sanding we were doing in the hallway.

And the hot water heater for the shower! That wasn’t ready either. We bought it that same morning, and had to install it that afternoon! But, fortunately, the guests were very understanding.

Walt: Speaking of hot water, I notice you have individual wall water heaters for each room. Did you do that to save money? Is that cheaper?
Niko: No, it is actually more expensive! The electricity is high! But the water is always guaranteed to be hot and there will be enough water for many customers.


Niko and two recent guests, Peggy and Fanny!

Also, usually check-in time in Sanya is 3pm and check-out is 12 noon. But, we want to be considerate and different from other hotels. If the room is not ready, then maybe you will have to wait, but if it is ready, you can move in any time.

Walt:I noticed the other morning, when I got up to go running, that the door was locked. It was strange since many hotels keep their doors open 24 hours.
Niko: Yes, but we are a small hotel. Li Bing and I live here.

Walt:And how many employees do you have?
Niko: Only one!

Walt: So, finally what’s the most important thing people should know about UFO in Sanya.

Niko: We can offer a safe, clean and convenient situation for them.

There are two types of visitors who come to Sanya:

1) First type, they do everything by themselves.

2) Other type, they go to the travel company, and the company will arrange everything. We suggest that people come to Sanya by themselves. This way they can be happier than with a group. Maybe you want to sleep late, or wake up early and do different things. We can offer much information to Sanya to you because we know this area. How to get directions, how much to pay, how to enjoy the best of Sanya!

 

NOTE FROM WALT: If you want to stay at UFO, or another of my personally-recommended accommodations in Sanya, check out my www.DestinationSanya.com site.