Tourists like to see something new at a destination. New restaurants, new optional tour experiences, a new hotel or resort. While the Garapan Heritage Trail has been a work-in-progress for a long time, its recent completion and official launch is a major new attraction in the tourism site quiver of Saipan.
The historic marked trail project was spearheaded by and worked through to completion by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council with financial support by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior.
This trail with 20 interesting stops can be enjoyed all at once or a few stops at a time over a number of days. Each of the carefully chosen stop has an attraction of historical interest, signage and a numbered entry on the well-done Heritage Trail Guide/map available for free at a number of Garapan locations. The map is printed in English, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and simplified Chinese. It can easily be used as a self-guided tour aid that leaves the user with a broad range of knowledge about 20 historically interesting sites in and around Garapan.
The trail guide starts with a brief history of the area known today as Garapan. It goes on to describe in brief detail the significance of each site while the accompanying map guides the visitor from site to site and is easy to follow. The trail sites can be explored a few at a time at your own pace or as time allows. All can be reached on foot, by bicycle or by motor vehicle except for the first one, Managaha Island, where a boat is needed. Many boats ply the lagoon waters from shore to Managaha ferrying passengers to and from the beautiful little island and popular watersports experiences like parasailing or snorkeling the crystal-clear waters so you need not miss exploring this fun island.
Three sites expose the viewer to Japanese bunker fortifications designed to repel the American invasion of Saipan in 1944. American Memorial Park is described and can make a day’s interesting outing checking out the well-done museum and looking over the expansive grounds of the park and the numerous memorials scattered around it. There is even a carillon bell tower to excite the music lover in you. Then the trail takes you to western Garapan and a pair of Japanese era sites, then on south on Beach road to the Carolinian Utt and a latte stone monument near the present day DFS mall. Then on to the Nanbo pier and the Garapan (Fishing Base) dock and the Japanese fortification just south of the dock.
Cross Beach Road to the back of the Kristo Rai church and check out the ruins of the old church’s bell tower and descriptive signage. Then up the hill to the administration hill from the German era. Next is the most interesting of the 20 sites, the NMI Museum of History and Culture. Hours can be spent profitably exploring this newly renovated treasure housed in the Japanese era hospital building.
Cross Middle Road (Chalan Pale Arnold) to see four points of interest in the Sugar King Park. The newly restored Sugar Train Locomotive; the bronze statue of the Sugar King, Haruji Matsue, dedicated in 1934; the beautiful Shinto Shrine (Jinga) built in 1931 now fully restored/rebuilt as the Saipan Katori Jinga; and the German era steps constructed in 1914.
The final site on the trail is the old Japanese Jail just west of Middle Road a quarter mile south of the Sugar King Park. All 20 are worth checking out. All have descriptive signages that, along with the helpful descriptions in the trail guide, make your experience a fruitful and fun one.
Go explore them all and take your kids, they’ll have a good time too. There are Pokémon Go to be found along the way in case they want to multitask.
Pundit’s response ‘not surprising’
Propst, Tina, Kilili, and the other usual Democratic Party suspect’s response to the no-news-so-far FBI probe is not surprising. It is as expected as rain on Saipan. With nothing to go on and no official word of any kind, they blab on for paragraphs about how “sad” it all is while pretending they know all about it, when they don’t.
While they call themselves independents, not one of them really is. They are Democrat Party sycophants to a man. Their axe to grind vis a vis the elected Republican Party local officials is as obvious as a pie-eyed horse. They simply hope to convert their “disappointment” into a few votes for the left.
Before you jump to the conclusion that their politically-based rants are spot on, look at the evidence. There is none right now to look at. Wild speculation aside, and political pushing and shoving aside, there is literally nothing to see yet.
That won’t stop the likes of Mr. Facebook. He’ll do this time just what he did last year. He’ll invent some cock-and-bull story, spice it up with some Tinian chilis and “leak” it to his commie pals over at Bloomberg where they will add some more fiction and print the resulting BS as gospel.
I suggest we all relax, wait for something definitive and, when there is something concrete to talk about, the conversation can begin. Right now it’s a lynch mob attitude and a dogpile of no information and quackery and misinformation spread by the usual suspects. Let’s wait and see what is really happening.
Thanks for reading Sour Grapes!