Meanwhile, back on the island of Saipan

bilocation: Bilocation, or sometimes multilocation, is a term used to describe the ability/instances in which an individual or object is said to be, or appears to be, located in two distinct places at the same instant in time. 

With that said, if you, too, happen to be on the island of Saipan at this very moment, you can head over to the Commonwealth Health Center–Saipan’s single hospital–and pick up a copy of a very touching book entitled The Boy Who Dreamed to Be With His Parents on Saipan by Riza Oledan-Ramos. Riza is a nurse on Saipan who I helped publish her first book. It gives a little peak inside a reality that many people never experience. It’s a true story inspired by Riza’s son, and, as people are discovering, is more than a children’s book. It’s akin to a letter written from the perspective of a young mind grappling to understand the world, his place in it, and the emptiness and longing that often comes with having parents who are seeking a better life for the family.  


Emmanuel Ramos misses his mom and dad. They are on the island of Saipan working. He is in Manila, Philippines, with his aunt, cousins and grandparents. Will his parents ever come back for him? Will he ever see them again? Will Emmanuel’s big dream to be with his parents on Saipan ever come true?  

On sale on Saipan! Congrats, Riza!

READ MORE AND ORDER NOW Also available on Amazon.com!

Life in New York 101….for people on Saipan

On the island of Saipan, there are no parking meters to feed. There is no “alternate side of the street” parking. There is no street cleaning schedule to be mindful of. I can pull my car up to almost any available space be it beachfront, roadside,  or even grassy sidewalk, put my car in park, turn off the engine, and do whatever I wish to do. When I return, my car will be right where I left it. In fact, I could leave the doors open and the keys in the ignition, and return to find my car.

Eight thousand miles away, in the city of New York, space is at a premium. Every bit of pavement where one could conceivably park, stand or idle is controlled by signs that limit parking to certain specific hours and/or specific days, or has a meter that is vigilantly monitored by parking meter attendants who will eagerly, and often mercilessly dispense parking violation tickets of $60+ within seconds of your meter’s expiration. (They’ve got quotas to fill)

One can drive around for hours–I said hours–in search of a parking space–as I’ve done–(before I mastered the art of “manifesting a space”) and not find one. I attempt to explain this to my friends on Saipan. However, it’s the sort of insanity that one cannot begin to contemplate unless actually forced to live it.

So, I decide to film an example of what I mean. On the street in the borough of Queens, New York where I’m staying, there are street cleaning rules that one must be aware of if one is to maintain possession of one’s car and/or money.


Street sign

This sign says “No Parking between 7-30am – 8:00am every day day except Sunday.” The broom in the circle indicates that this particular side of the street will be cleaned during those hours.

What that means is, every day at exactly 7:29am, a few things will start to happen. People will rush out of their apartments and take their seats in their cars and peer through their rear view windows. At the same time, parking meter attendants will be seen approaching the cars with their pens and pads (or electronic, bar-code scanning “ticket in a second” gizmos) in hand. Down the street the sound of a street sweeper will be heard approaching.

Once 7:30am hits, those cars that are empty–whose owners overslept, forgot the rules or who are unaware of the regulation–and thus blocking the street sweepers from easily completing their jobs–will be ticketed. (Note: if you’re in your car, you won’t get a ticket; in some neighborhoods, hard-to-remove stickers will be placed on the windows [not sure if that’s still done in New York]; in other neighborhoods, cars might be towed)

Click here to watch the actual video

Here’s what’s happening in the video you’re about to see: As the street sweeper approaches, one after another, the drivers of the each parked and ready vehicle will move out of the way and come to rest on the other side of the street, and allow the street sweeper to sweep. Then, immediately–and I mean immediately–after the sweeper passes, the driver will put his/her car in reverse and return to the exact spot they were occupying just a few seconds before.

As a vehicle owner in New York who wants a parking space close to your apartment, this the only way to keep possession. If you made the mistake of driving off, circling the block and returning to your space, it would be gone…taken by someone else who might have been driving around for hours looking for a parking space.


The sweeper approaches


The cars make way


The sweeper passes


The sweeper passes


The cars shift into reverse


Back where I was. This is MY space, darnit!

This happens every day (except Sunday), week after week, year after year.

See? And you thought I was exaggerating.

Click here to watch the actual video on the OTHER side of the street!

Jamaican Gold!


jamaican gold winners beijing

Winners

Every where I go in China, the first question people ask me is “Where are you from?”

I reply in Mandarin “牙买加,” [pinying: Yámǎijiā; pronounced Yah-My-JAH; in other
words JAMAICA!], and then I ask, “Do you know it?”

With few exceptions–everywhere from Beijing to Xishuangbanna–everyone says,
“Yes!”
As the language barrier sometimes prevents really sophisticated communication, one shopkeeper in Suzhou started running in place to show he knew exactly where I was from: the land of fast runners!

I know I have Usain Bolt and a pantheon of Jamaican gold silver and bronze medal winners specifically in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as those throughout Olympics history to thank for this!

So, when Author Rachel Irving found me through Jamaicans.com and sent me an advanced copy of the book, Jamaican Gold: Jamaican Sprinters! , I was ecstatic and eager to learn more about it and review it for everyone here in China and the rest of the world!

Sprint Version

So, the sprint version of my review is, ahem: FAAAAAAANTASTIC!

Long-distance version

But, of course, I’m not one for short versions of anything I do (read that anyway you choose),
so I’ll say this:

“There are two types of people who should own a copy (or two) of this book:

(1) Jamaicans and

(2) the people who, while not blessed to share the honor of being Jamaican, nonetheless, have the
equally enviable position of being able to WATCH Jamaicans conquer the world!”

I love to share information, but if I were to share every fascinating tidbit of information I wanted to, I’d essentially end up reproducing the book in its entirety in this post! I’ll simply say that the list of “firsts” and “onlys”–when compiled and viewed in one place–is staggering.


arthur wint jamaica's first olympic gold

ARTHUR WINT created history by winning Jamaica’s first gold in the men’s 400 metres in the 1948 Olympic Games in London. This win began a tradition of excellence by Jamaican sprinters.
(National Library of Jamaica photograph.)

Okay, okay, just a few:
“Merlene Ottey holds the record for the female athlete who has won the most medals in the Olympic Games.”

“Jamaica became, and remains, the only country apart from the United States to hold the world records in both male Olympic relay events.”

“Fittingly, sitting in the centre of the picture beside Aleen Bailey is a member of that other historic relay team, the oldest man in the picture, eighty-one-year-old Leslie Laing, who was also the first non-US athlete to make it to two Olympic 200-metre finals. Along with Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley and George Rhoden, a full-strength US team was beaten in this event in head- to-head competition as Jamaica became, and still remains to date, the only non-US team in the history of the Games to set a world record in this event.”

That quote refers to a historic photograph in the book that depicts “…all seven decades of Jamaica’s Olympic competition, from 1948 to 2004, with team members from fourteen of the fifteen Games in
which Jamaica has participated.” That photo and the documented accomplishments of each person in it is an amazing chapter and a book unto itself!


Veronica Campbell-Brown Jamaican athlete

The most decorated track and field athlete in Jamaica and possibly in the world is VERONICA CAMPBELL-BROWN. Veronica has won medals at every level of international competition, from junior to senior. In fact, she could be considered the world’s most decorated female athlete. To date, she is a five-time Olympic medallist (three gold, one silver, one bronze); six-time World Championship medallist (one gold, five silver); 60-metre World Champion in 2010; and second female athlete in history to win the 200 metres back-to-back at the Olympic Games (2004 and 2008).

Scientific evidence

Those of us who are Jamaican simply accept the phenomenon for what it is: We likkle but we talawah! The rest of the world, however, wants a scientific explanation. So, the editors offer some very scientific evidence, as well as educated insights–backed up by a ton of research–into why Jamaicans dominate the track and field events, specifically sprinting. Is it genetics? Is it environment? Perhaps something entirely unexpected is the cause. I won’t reveal the secrets in this review, but you won’t be disappointed.

Personal profiles

My favorite parts of the book are the personal profiles. Here’s where you really get to know the people behind the accomplishments.

“Winning in those early years meant little to Cynthia, as running and winning for her was done only for fun. There was just no pressure, she said. No real emphasis was put on winning. All she can remember was the great fun she had, but perhaps more important to her was the socializing and the camaraderie with her training partners, teammates and coaches over the years.”
[about Dr. Cynthia Thompson, Jamaica’s first sprint queen; 1948 Olympics]

“Dr Paul Auden, one of his early mentors, said that young Bolt had an in-built mechanism that would prompt him as to what time he was doing over a particular distance. From an early age, Usain was his own
stopwatch.”
[about Usain Bolt, the world record and Olympic record holder in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and
(along with his teammates) the 4 x 100 metres relay. He is the reigning World and Olympic champion in these three events.]


ASAFA POWELL, NESTER CARTER, USAIN BOLTand MICHAEL FRATER

The 4 × 100-metre men’s relay team set a world and Olympic record of 37.10 seconds at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. From left are ASAFA POWELL, NESTER CARTER, USAIN BOLTand MICHAEL FRATER posing after their victory.
(Jamaica Observer photograph.)

And, trust me, as lengthy as you think this review is, I have barely scratched the surface of what you’ll discover, learn and be reminded of when it comes to Jamaican Gold! You’ll also get beautiful snapshots, historic documentation and photos, insights into Jamaican history, lifestyle, culture, our educational system, belief system and the effects of all of these on creating world-class athletes and citizens, and A WHOLE LOT MORE!



Contributors

Finally, there are a host of contributors to thank for this amazing work. However, I’ll mention the two credited on the cover.

Rachael Irving, PhD, is a research fellow in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. She is a member of the International Centre for East African Running Science (ICEARS), and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Vilma Charlton, OD, BSc, MSc, is a lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. She is a physical education specialist, an Olympian, president of the Olympians Association of Jamaica, third vice-president of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association and a member of the American Association of Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance.

A poignant reunion with long lost friends in New Jersey

Once I realized that I would be traveling to New York, I made a list of things I needed to do and those I wanted to visit. This reunion was on the top of my list. 

Our original separation back in 2006 when I first launched my nomadpreneur adventure to go to Saipan was truly heartfelt. At the time, it was probably the hardest thing I had to do in order to leave New York free of attachments and be a minimalist.

Those friends had been with me through thick and thin. I knew them from back in and all throughout my college experience. They were with me when I moved into my first apartment in the Bronx. They were with me in subsequent moves to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th apartments in the Bronx, as well as 3 separate moves in Silver Spring, Maryland, 2 more moves back in Queens and finally to Manhattan. I really don’t know what I would have done without them. They’ve sort of been a constant….almost like a soundtrack playing in the background of my life. When I finally left New York for Saipan, they ended up in New Jersey. So, today, these many years later, I was really looking forward to seeing them again.
 

So, at about 9am, I hopped on a subway train (the “F” train) from Queens to Penn Station and boarded a New Jersey Transit train to New Jersey.

 

I traveled over hill and dale, across bridges and through tunnels.

 

As I traveled, I gazed longingly out the window and wondered. Have they been safe? What has life been like for them? Will I recognize them when I see them? Will I cry at the reunion?

 

Finally, it’s time to see them again.

 

A short ride from the train station, and I am finally here.

 

I take the few short steps up the stairs.

 

My heart is beating.

 

There’s a lump in my throat.

 

 

My hands are trembling.

 

 

And then I see them. There they are.

 

 

Just as I had left them.

 

 

 

Just as I remembered them.

 

 

I lean forward. Extend my arms.

 

 

…and start to giggle uncontrollably as I flip through my old vinyl record collection! Man, I missed you guys!

 

 

 

My friend, Tony, has been storing the 3,500 vinyl records that I had accumulated during my time as a radio deejay. There’s an eclectic collection of Reggae, Rock, Calypso, R&B, Jazz and more…many collector’s items and rare stuff unavailable online in this new digital age.


Bob Marley and the Beatles

So, the plan is to digitize some of the hard to find stuff that I haven’t heard in years so as to make my life complete.

Digitizing from vinyl to mp3. They’ve got special turntables for that! Modern technology.


Cue music: Peaches & Herb sing “Reunited, and it feels so good!”

There was one song, in particular, that had been haunting my mind that I absolutely had to hear again in real time. It was “’til the morning comes” by Lora McFarlane (Just a snippet, so I won’t be guilty of encouraging illegal file sharing!)


And thanks, Tony and Judy, for keeping my long lost friends safe and cool! And, um, yes, it was nice seeing you guys, too!

Conjured up by a Sikh

Strolling around the Big Apple in the Union Square area waiting on a friend.

So, I’m hanging out with a friend in Washington Square Park near New York University. We finally find a free bench and end up sitting across from a fellow who is working on his laptop (a mac). We’re minding our own business, and then, after a few minutes, he comes over, excuses himself for the interruption and asks, “Forgive me for asking, but is this you?” as he turns his laptop screen to show me a picture of myself on the cover of my 7 Conversations to Freedom ebook which he happens to be reading…on a bench in Washington Square Park…. in a city of 8 million people….directly across from the guy who wrote the book…..who just happens to be visiting the city for a few weeks. He says that stuff like that happens to him all the time. He added that he was planning to contact me after reading the book. How funny is that!? He conjured me up.

I asked him how he arrived at the ebook and he said was on my FreeSummerConcerts.com mailing list and followed the link to the free download. Turns out my new friend’s name is Hari Nam Singh Khalsam, a renowned spiritual teacher with a very stellar background. Check it out at
http://web.me.com/harinam56/Hari_Nam_Singh_Khalsa/Hari_Nam_Bio.html


Conjured up by a Sikh

Jamaican in New York!

Yes, you guessed it! From the “Where is Walt” photo at the top of the blog to the pretty self-explanatory title of this post, I know I can’t put anything over on you! I’m in New York City! I’ll share more of the adventure soon! For now, enjoy a taste of New York courtesy of Vegetarian Paradise restaurant on West 4th Street and 6th Avenue in the Village. Yes, I went straight from Newark Airport to Manhattan to dine at my favorite restaurant within an hour of landing! 

 

How much does it cost to live on Saipan? Saipan Apartments?

I get that question quite often from many people who discover SaipanLiving.com website, and are interested in visiting or relocating. So, today, as public service to the world, I shall answer it based on my own lifestyle.

Today is Saturday. At about 6:30am, I typically head out to the Sabalu Market in Susupe to buy my produce from local farmers.

Then, I might stop at the local supermarket to pick up a few more items. Here is a photo of me and today’s take.

Here’s the itemization. This also includes images and prices of items I purchased on different occasions.

Click on image to see larger version. The numbers correspond with the items below

FROM THE SUPERMARKET

1. Joy 12.6oz Ultra dish detergent
(they’ve run out of Dishmate Earth-Friendly liquid)
$1.55
2. Mason Jar (32oz)
(for making my own kimchee/culturedveggies)
$1.09
3. Kitchen sink trap $1.57
4. Food For Life Gluten Free tortillas (specially orderedjust for the fringe dwellers)
5. Health Valley Cereal $5.59
6. Wholesoy Soy Yogurt $2.65
7. Red Kidney beans 160z
(to make Jamaican style rice & peas!)
$2.19
8. Baking soda
for brushing my teeth)
$0.65 

FROM THE FARMER’S MARKET


9. Cherries (50c each tray) $1.00
10.Grated coconut
also for Jamaican style rice & peas!)
$1.00
11. coconut oil 8oz $4.00
12. dry coconut $1.00
13. bananas bunch of 14 $0.50
14. lemons $1.00
15. plantains (3) $2.00
16. Papaya $1.00
17. 3 sweetsop (ati) $1.00
18. 6 large nessberry (chico) $2.50

HARDWARE STORE

19. Toaster $14.99
20. Juicer (purchased on Guam) $
21. Coffee bean grinder
(No, I don’t drink coffee. Remind me to tell you about coffee enemas,if that’s not too much information)
$9.95
22. duplicate house key $2.00
23. Bottled Spring water (2.5gal) $3.65


The stainless steel pots in the photo (aluminum pots leach aluminum which causes Alzheimers and the coating of non-stick pots are toxic) were purchased in New York and brought to Saipan. (Caused some raised eyebrows when the TSA agent at the airport saw them in my carry-on luggage–see Jamaican on Saipan, the book)

I’ll add another post about apartment living on Saipan. Meanwhile, If you’re looking for a one-bedroom on Saipan for a stay of 1 month or more,
CLICK ON THIS VIDEO
, to view more, and email mefor more details.

For more about living on Saipan, visit: www.Saipanliving.com.



One-bedroom apartment sublet for one month or more? Limited availability. For this and other accommodations, visit www.destinationsaipan.com

Also:

PAPERBACK | ebook


Saipan Living! The Book!
: A comprehensive guide for moving, finding and working a job, living or vacationing in the Northern Mariana Islands
including the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota

ORDER For Kindle

“All Jacked Up” –an important documentary, showing here on Saipan!


If you happen to be here on the island of Saipan on Friday, Sept 2, 2011 at 6:30pm, then come out to the American Memorial Park Theatre and check out a documentary entitled “All Jacked Up” a look at what’s really in the food that you eat.

The event is sponsored by First Friday Films here on Saipan. Here is a blurb from their blog http://firstfridayfilmssaipan.blogspot.com :

Ever wondered what exactly is in the stuff that you eat? Find out as First Friday Films presents All Jacked Up. Bring your friends and family to the American Memorial Park Visitors Center by 6:30 PM on Friday September 2nd to see just how jacked up some of the food we are served is. The film highlights the dangerous trends in present-day eating habits and unveils the unsavory practices that put the health of a whole generation at risk.

I haven’t seen the film, but a trusted source at Natural News. (http://www.naturalnews.com/022510.html is involved and recommends it highly.  You can check out the official site for the film at http://www.alljackedupmovie.com/. I’ll see you there!