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The Maasdam 24 see Saipan in a Day

[Photographs by Ferdinand “Ding” Ramos]

“It was a dark and stormy night…” Oops, wrong opening line. (Sorry, Snoopy.)  Ahem. It was a bright and sunny day,  and the Holland America cruise ship, Maasdam, was scheduleed to dock at the port on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Sunday, Sept 8, 2019.

As an island consultant, I’m occasionally asked to provide information on the islands to visitors.

This time, my photographer, Ding, and I showed up at 7am to be sure that THIS time, the ship would, indeed, dock. (Yeah, that’s a whole other story for another time!)

Maasdam at the dock. Check.

With that little detail confirmed, we headed back to the airport to pick up the vans for our arriving guests.

Invited guest guides for a day, Robert Hunter, and Gary Liddle and I discuss logistics.

While awaiting the paperwork, world renown author, ethnographer, oral historian and “birder,”  Rlene Santos Steffy, arrives from Guam. I had the pleasure of meeting Rlene on Guam during my recent Guam Writers Workshop Learn more at : http://guamwriters.com/

Gary, Rlene, Robert and I chat while we wait

The paperwork is completed, vans are assigned, drivers are briefed, microphones are checked, signs are posted in the windshields….time for a convoy!

“Pig Pen this here’s the rubber duck And I’m about to put the hammer down.” (10 points if you know that reference!)

Once at the dock, guests begin exiting the ship after passing through US Customs, and we load up the vans. Two of my guests, Lorrin and Nina Lee, are on a three month tour (see Lorrinlee.com), and were the first of my guests to sign up way back in March!

Finally, we meet! (See www.LorrinLee.com)

We head out to our first stop: American Memorial Park.

 

First stop, American Memorial Park…Welcome! Introductions….and the strict rules of my tour! (You’ll have to sign up to discover just what those rules are!)
Watching “An Island Called Saipan” at American Memorial Park

 

Post-documentary debriefing and preparing for day’s tour

 

Robert Hunter, Director of DCCA (Department of Community & Cultural Affairs) shares facts and triva about wartime Saipan

 

Pointing to the Court of Honor (currently under construction)
Visiting the Chamorro & Carolinian memorial
Yeah we got a little ol’ convoy Ain’t she a beautiful sight
At the Carolinian Cultural Center

 

Robert gives background on boat building and celestial navigation
At the boat house, one of DCCA’s projects

 

At Ladder Beach

 

 

As Lito Airfield
What on earth is everyone staring at???

Answer: One of the largest war time structures on the island: the Bomb Magazine at As Lito airfield.

Inside the Bomb Magazine
The sad, yet beautiful Banzai Cliff

 

Gary holds court at Suicide Cliff

 

Looking down at the suicide leap from another vantage point

Then we went In Search of Amelia Earhart

The Old Japanese Jail
Going back in time through the corridor of the jail in search of Amelia Earthart
Read more about Amelia on Saipan here: http://www.discoversaipan.com/amelia

By this time, the “Saipan in a Day” adventure is officially ended. Robert and Gary have departed and taken our visitors back to the dock, However, a smaller group of WWII buffs are treated to a special private collection of relics and artifacts from the Japanese era and Battle of Saipan.

a unique collection
Guests enjoy interacting with the pieces
Explaining the uniqueness of this particular relic

 

The Maasdam WWII History buffs on Saipan

 

We say our goodbyes!


“What’s that?  Yes, you can definitely write a TripAdvisor Review! I’d be honored and it would help a lot! Thanks for asking!”

Maasdam departs Saipan

“As the sun sank slowly over the horizon…” Oops, sorry, wrong epilogue…Wait! That one fits! As the sun sank slowly over the Saipan horizon, Maasdam pulled away from the dock, and sailed off into the sunset on its way to Guam!

“We’ll catch you on the flip flop
This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side
We gone – Bye Bye!”

Thanks to everyone who made this tour special and run smoothly!

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On Guam with Lloyd Glick and the Guam Writers group!

I’ve been on Guam for the past 3 days, for two reasons: (1) to meet up with friend and co-author, WWII Battle of Saipan/Battle of Guam veteran Lloyd & Judy Glick who’ve been invited as honored guests to experience Guam’s 75th Liberation Commemoration, and (2) to do a Writers Workshop for aspiring writers on Guam! Here are the details as they appear on the www.guamwriters.com site.

Writers Workshop #1 on Guam!

It happened here. The DNA Building in Hagåtña, on the island of Guam
For the few days leading up to the event, posters were plastered in the lobbies, elevators, at the Credit Union, and even at the security guard booth of the DNA Building!
Fliers everywhere!
Herman and me at the security guard booth!


An announcement appeared in the Guam Daily Post

On Thursday, at the suggestion of Kevin Kerrigan at the Daily Post, I called up K-57AM talk radio upon landing
on Guam.

I was expecting to get an email address to send a press release, or a phone number of someone to speak with.
Before I even finished telling the operator what the event was about (I got no further than “It’s a writers
workshop here at the DNA Building for aspiring authors who wish to—“), I was immediately put through to the
studio host, and got to announce the event on the air!
Announced on talk radio!

 



The kind folks at the University of Guam Student Life office were nice enough to share the flier of the event on their Facebook page
Shared with the student body at the University of Guam!

 



The Pacific Daily news featured the event in the Friday and Saturday editions

 


The Guam Business Journal (Glimpses Media) posted
the event for their subscribers on their Business Events Calendar on the MBJ website.(Thanks Maureen! Thanks Meghan!)

 

On the Friday before the event, Melissa the DNA operations manager, her son and security personnel made sure the 58-inch flat screen that we rented from Dial, plus the wifi and room set-up
were all in order!

 

Making sure all is in place!
One of my books, From Bugle Boy to Battle Ship that I co-wrote
with friend, and visiting Battle of Saipan veteran Lloyd Glick was featured on the evening KUAM Primetime news!
Veteran Lloyd Glick shows off “From Bugle Boy to Battleship,” the book he and I wrote

Lloyd and two other dignitaries are interviewed upon their return
to Guam after 75 years

 

The afternoon before the workshop, I was able to spend some time with Lloyd and Judy at their hotel just before they headed out to another function sponsored by the Guam Visitor’s Bureau!

Me and the Glicks on Guam

 

The three Battle of Saipan/Guam veterans (see video)

 

Guam Workshop attendees
Rlene S. shares with the group
Photo by: Dianne Strong
Photo by: Dianne Strong

 

Photo by: Marie Lizama

 

Author and instructor Walt F.J. Goodridge, and several of the attendees of Guam’s First Writers Workshop: l.to r. Fadila K., Marie L., Sophie N., Tyrone B., Dianne S., Christopher A., Jeni Ann F., Kim B. and Dr.Sam M. (Not shown: Rlene S. and Louise.)


And extra special thanks to Joe Hill on Saipan, and Dave, Letitia, Melissa, Avery, Vincent and Herman at DNA Inc, (and
to all the organizations and people mentioned above) for making it all happen and run so smoothly
on short notice! As we say in Jamaica, “Nuff Respek!”

 

Hanging around Saipan in 2019

Hope you don’t mind. I’m just testing out my “autopost” plug-in on my Jamaican in China blog. Through this feature, I can post to my blog (as I’m doing now), and it automatically posts to one or more of my Facebook pages. (So, if you’re reading this in your Facebook feed, that should mean it worked!) I’ll just share a few shots taken around Saipan recently!


Fellow author Lindsay, the ladies of Healing Stone, and me!


John Castro and me while, Satawal canoe maker toils in background


Konstantin from Ukraine takes a shot of Forbidden Island


Eber and Jay from the US mainland explore Fabian Indalecio’s unique Battle of Saipan/WWII relic collection


Fabian educates visitors to the island


Where on earth are you likely to see a convoy of pink Mustangs??? If you answered “Saipan,” you’d be correct! (the road to Banzai Cliff)


It was exceptionally clear day last weekend, and you could see the outline of Farallon de Medinilla from Suicide Cliff at the north end of the island! Can you see it?

Just a few shots of my life on Saipan! Enjoy the update!

UPDATE 1: Oh, speaking of updates, did I mention I turned down a book deal recently? Why, you ask? Well, the publisher made the fatal mistake of….. Read the full story here in either of Saipan’s newspapers:

http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/editorials/113104-feature-little-flights-of-fancy

https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/your-little-flights-of-fancy/

UPDATE 2: Here’s the latest video in the DiscoverSaipan “Garment Factory Era” series: Scenes from the Floor!

 

Saipan: the history, the mystery, the culture and the cuisine!

One of the great things about my life on Saipan is the broad cross section of unique personalities I have a chance to meet and spend time with!

Earlier this year, Michelle and John got to experience Saipan’s history with a ride in an actual WWII jeep courtesy of local resident, Juan Villagomez. John’s father worked on the Manhattan Project during the war, so he wanted to get up close and personal with Saipan’s and Tinian’s history!

Michelle, John, Juan and Luise Villagomez, Alexandra (front), and me!

I also had a chance to hang out recently with Konstantin Symonenko from Ukraine….


Konstantin discovers the mystery of Forbidden Island

Konstantin, among other accomplishments, has the distinction of being the first Ukrainian to have visited all the countries in the world! It’s an accomplishment that was verified and documented as blogged about on his http://konstantin.travel  website:

 

“Today the representative of the National Registry of Records of Ukraine directly on Easter Island, handed me a diploma as the first Ukrainian to visit all the countries in the world.

Konstantin got to experience Saipan’s culture with a visit to the DCCA boat house to watch a canoe being constructed…


With John Castro at the boat house

John and me….A Sattawal navigator works in the background

Another guest, Neal P., has visited 297 of the 327 destinations recognized by The Traveler’s Century Club (TCC)! Saipan was his 298th and he’ll hit 300 soon and be part of the Diamond club! Congrats, Neal!

Neal got to experience authentic Chamorro and island style cuisine at JC Cafe on Tinian…

 

at the Street Market on Saipan….


Red rice at the Street Market

…and at Twenty-Two Rams (Owners of the restaurant are brother Michael Salas and cousin Ed Cepeda.)

Lunch at Twenty-Two Rams. Located in the CDA complex in Oleai at the old Boka Boka restaurant location.

Delgadina Matagolai, Manning Salas, and Mom Sophia M. Salas.  (Michael and Ed not shown) “Thanks for stopping by our family restaurant!”--Manning

Stay tuned for more!

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Pole Cats and Window Kings!

(Caught your attention, didn’t it?) Another brief photo installment in the “This man has got entirely too much time on his hands” file for those who said they haven’t heard from the Jamaican in China (and on Saipan) in a while!

Here on Saipan, I’ve discovered a new genus and family of mammal I’ve christened the Marianas pole cat.


Wandering kitten seeks refuge in a post-typhoon, not-yet-erected  concrete pole in the village of Susupe

 


Mariana Kingfisher poses regally on window sill


Seconds before takeoff!

Stay tuned for more real posts soon!–W

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Age reversal advice from the Jamaican in China (aka, the Ageless Adept)

No travel adventures at the moment, so I thought I’d share something from my other identity!

This was my post for Day 10 (Feb 26, 2019) of my extended water fast to the members of my Ageless Adept group (www.agelessadept.com)

The body is coded to heal.
I have now reached Day 10 of my extended water fast (no food, no juice, just water for 10 days; probably the 9th or 10th I’ve done in recent memory)! Therefore, I am now in STAGE 3 of the stages of fasting. Yes, the stages of fasting have been known, experienced by tens of thousands and well-documented for over hundreds of years. Still, it’s a fascinating experience to feel the body going through these stages predictably and accurately–even down to the very day.

Fasting allows the body to shift into healing mode and heal itself of many ailments. According to an excerpt from “Stages of Fasting,” Stage 3 includes:

“an increasing sense of well-being broken by the discomfort of healing crises or “retracings” in which the body goes back in time and addresses specific issues in reverse order–most recent first.”

“Accelerated healing after day 10 brings:
Irritation and pain in old injuries. If you broke your arm 10 years before, the body’s ability to heal itself was directly related to your lifestyle and diet at the time. Now, the body is at optimum healing efficiency and searches for scar, dead or damaged tissue. Lymphocytes enter the older damaged tissue secreting substances to dissolve the damaged cells. These substances irritate the nerves in the surrounding region and cause a recurrence of aches from previously injured areas.”

So, as I experience the twinges, tugs, tingling, throbbing and pain associated with the “retracing” process, it’s nice to know my body is faithfully acting out its coding!

I’ll share more, as well as my personal daily log of my process in an upcoming post and book! (It’s going to be a blast!)

Walt
p.s. And for those who aren’t aware of my other identities, I’ve published several health books under the brand name “The Ageless Adept (www.agelessadept.com),” and have coached others through fasts and dietary lifestyle changes. In addition, one of the top selling books of all 25+ books I’ve written is a public domain book by fasting pioneer, Herbert Shelton, (originally titled The HYGIENIC SYSTEM Vol. III FASTING and SUN BATHING) that I appended and published under the new title, Fast & Grow Young!

If you are so inclined, you can download The Stages of Fasting poster at www.fastandgrowyoung.com website resources section and order the book there or on Amazon.

Here’s me on  DAY 12 of my fast on sunny Saipan!  I plan to go to about 15 or 16 days. If you wish to follow along, sign up that list at www.agelessadept.com

Remembering Saipan’s Garment Factory Era–from my personal files

The Garment Factory Era on Saipan lasted from Oct 14, 1983 to Jan 15, 2009. It employed approximately 20,000 workers and brought in revenues of close to 1 billion dollars in taxes and fees.

I’m  about to upload a series of Youtube videos with some of my personal pics and videos of remembrances of what life was like on the island at that time–including times spent hanging out with the factory girls (and guys) from when I arrived on Saipan in 2006 to the last closure, and beyond!

And if you weren’t aware, I wrote a book about that era (Chicken Feathers & Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan with former factory worker, Chun Yu Wang)–that remains the only firsthand account of what life was like for factory workers during that time– and that has been used in three universities stateside in either “Textiles” or “Women’s Studies” courses, and has been excerpted in a French textbook in a section on “The American Dream,” and has over 160 reviews on Amazon!)

So, without further delay, here’s episode 1 of the “Remembering the Garment Factory Era” series:

Subscribe to the discoversaipan channel so you’ll be notified when the next in the series is released!

 

 

Watch Ward & Kimie on their Saipan Amelia Mystery tour!

I’ve recently been creating post-tour videos for my clients to help promote my newly revived DiscoverSaipan Youtube Channel

Here’s the latest of four, featuring Ward and Kimie, who came from Japan with a particular interest in learning more about Amelia Earhart’s connection to the island! They got a special treat and private audience with a Saipan celebrity as part of their adventure!

 

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Living healthy on Saipan? Yes, you can! Saipan Vegans unite!

It’s always been my belief that Saipan has the as yet unmined potential to be one of the healthiest places on Earth! Think about this. We have the cleanest air in the United States. We’ve been documented by the Guinness Book of World Record as having the “most equable temperature in the world,” We’ve got Malunggay growing on every street corner and backyard. There are noni fruit trees growing at tourist sites and all around. During the summer months, the streets are paved with mangoes!  You can consume coconuts year round, enjoy sunshine as much as you desire!  The fact that it is NOT known as such is merely due to a lack of the appropriate marketing of the island’s health-promoting virtues!

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to interact with new arrivals on island some of whom have read my Saipan Living Relocation Guide before they made the move to live here. Consequently, I’ve gotten questions about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you’re a vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist or generally health-conscious resident.

So, as fate would have it, there’ve been quite a few newcomers who with to eat healthy. So, I put the call out to a few folks on my mailing list, and we all got together over the weekend at Kanoa Resort to share shopping tips, lifestyle advice, online resources and more—creating (or, more accurately, “reviving”) a support group for vegans on Saipan!

Sharing tips and advice
Discussing how to obtain or grow our own organic produce
Saipan Vegans Unite!

So, let this gathering be recognized as the first official meeting of what I call the “Ageless 101” group on Saipan! We discussed a few ideas for future gatherings–food preparation demonstrations, pot luck dinners, reviving the buyer’s group I had started a few years ago and more!

If you’re here on island and wish to be notified of the next meeting, as well as be able to communicate with other members, sign up to the Ageless 101 Googlegroup at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/ageless101

And if you’d like to see my videos on sprouting, making your own sugar-free, fish-free kimchee Walt’s Way,  view my YOUTUBE CHANNEL at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfukX66WE7rozbNTsv_6b_A

Randy receives GoFundMe check

My original plan was to use the contributed funds to get gift certificates for two nights at a hotel so Randy and others in his situation might enjoy a semblance of “normal” living. However, now that incoming airline flights have resumed, the hotels here on Saipan are booked solid. Therefore, I gave Randy the option of a certificate for future use, or cash.

So, today, thanks to your generous contributions I was able to give him a gift of $250! Here’s a quick video of him receiving it and his thanks to those who contributed! Shows you don’t have to be a megacorporation or millionaire philanthropist to help others. There are still hundreds more we can help with contributions of any size to encourage them to stay strong….CNMI strong.

To watch Randy receiving his gift, visit

 

 

 

 

Sands of Time….Yellow Beach Battle of Saipan

At the request of a mainland-based Army Officer, historian and militaria collector one of whose  current projects is collecting sand from historical WWII sites, I collect sand from the historic Battle of Saipan landing beach known as Yellow Beach (San Antonio  Beach). Don’t worry, I’ve gotten the okay from the Division of Coastal Resources Management and Fish & Wildlife that the “no take” policy only applies to Marine Protected Areas and other specific conservation spots.

 

 

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Tourist couple scams local vendors on Saipan, CNMI

In what appears to be a scam conducted on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the couple in the photos below arrived on Saipan in October, stayed at Coral Ocean Point and then the Hyatt between October 20 and October 23.

During that time, the couple, who went by the name Jim and Yao,  paid for tours, skydiving and scuba diving using what now appears to be several different stolen credit card numbers.  The scam was discovered when, 30 days later, charges made to these cards by local as well as online vendors were disputed as “unauthorized” by the legitimate card holders.

Vendors within the CNMI are cautioned to be wary of such scams, to be mindful to take all security precautions particularly for online sales, and to note these individuals in particular. (Note: in such cases, the charges are reversed–debited from the local vendor account– and the local vendors lose out) .This may indicate the early stages of a pattern of young travelers spending lavishly using stolen credit cards.)

“Jim” presented himself as a young tech entrepreneur along with his girlfriend “Yao” and spent lavishly on accommodations and activities on Saipan.

 

Vendors beware.