A dove and two monkeys


I prefer to call this a peaceful night and two harrowing days but two monumental mistakes bookending a serene night would rather make us wax poetic. The dove and the monkeys will do.

I started June 14 on a three-week sojourn to China where I previously lived and taught at the Shenyang Aerospace University. My wife bought a house close to the university where she moved her parents to a place that is on the first floor of an apartment complex; before, they had to climb four stairs to get to their apartment. It, however, moved them away from surroundings and acquaintances, which was more costly than the gains in the new housing.

Anyway, like most in-laws, my mother would rather not see my shadow so I had planned to be in a commercial place for as long as Uncle Sam’s Franklins held out I never made it past Narita. It appears that my China residency visa expired May 2016 and I could not renew it in Shenyang in the same way as Chinese tourist who come to Saipan can get a 45-day visa at the Ada International Airport on Saipan. It appears that reciprocity did not apply.

After a long drawn discussion with UA and ANA personnel (it appears that UA personnel on Saipan missed the May 2016 visa expiration, too), the ground crew trying to find ways to get me to China (five days of expedited visa application in Tokyo would have been cost-prohibitive on my wallet), they finally could do no other than get me back on the next flight to Guam.

Eighteen hours later, I was back on Marianas soil, albeit, homeless. I vacated my apartment thinking that I shall proceed to my new dwelling near the lagoon when I return. The Tokyo kink offered a contradiction.

So was storage for my stuff. Not only do I have book boxes in my PSS classroom, luggage and boxes were also with a my neighbor friends stored in their living room that I would retrieve upon my return. They were also holding on to my car being a two-person working family with only one car on two different schedules.

On arrival, I moved a third of the stuff to the car and my classroom, getting tired that I took the 2015 Prius C leased from AK Toyota, parked it on the beach side of the Lino Olopai Park after 9pm and went directly to sleep undisturbed and uninterrupted until Lino invited me in at sunrise for a cup of coffee.

The peaceful night was not even marred by the #2 call of nature that normally occurs twice in a night; the beatific look on my face would have looked like I just won the lottery.

After coffee, I returned to my classroom and decided to write up an article on my peaceful night. That’s when I discovered not only was my MacBook Air laptop missing; the whole Revere black backpack that was on the passenger side of the car next to me while peacefully asleep on the driver’s side was gone.

After catching up with Lino at the Carolinian Utt working on a canoe sailboat, I hightailed it to DPS. Joseph Benavente with badge #088 interviewed me and gave me a reference card with #16-004978. DPS classified the incident as “theft.” I promised Officer Benavente that I would return with a write-up of the case and a list of the missing objects.

The content of the bag had: 1) MacBook Air laptop; 2) 1 Black wallet with FHB-issued debit and credit cards, and other service (i.e., gas) cards; 3) 1 CNMI driver’s license; 4) Cash of 15 $20 bills amounting to $300, eight $2 bills, five $1 bills, 1 paper China Yuan (renminbi) bill, 1 paper China jiao (10 cents) bill, and various ID cards including a NAP card; 5) 1 passport wallet with current and expired U.S. passports, expired Philippine passport, expired China employment card, marriage document with a Chinese citizen; 6) 1 Sony digital camera with extra battery and charger; 7) Calling cards, knife, and indeterminate items yet to be recalled. (Added later on the 16th were: a) 32 G and 4 G drives, 8 G USB drive, b) 1 iPhone; c) 1 Sony digital camera with extra battery and charger; and d) 1 pair of sunglasses.

After alerting FHB of the lost bank cards, I went to the Saipan Tribune office where I got a phone call that the office receptionist at the office tried to transfer to me; a lady mentioned that she had my passports and cards, but after Pauline put the call on hold to transfer to where I was, the caller hung up. I waited for her to call back but she never did. I thought that her brood might have “lifted” the bag while I was asleep, and I assume that she would prevail on them to just return the bag to Lino Olopai’s house, or drop it off at Saipan Tribune.

As of today, Monday, none of the items had yet to appear, and I will assume the caller just have difficulty reaching me. A whole month of possible article writeups are in the laptop so I missed my Friday opinion piece in the ST that I had thought I already sent.

TG for one peaceful night, memorable for being shelved between two monumental mistakes: an 18-hour trek to Tokyo and back just because of an expired visa and a mistaken notion that I could apply for it at destination, and the serene sleep by Lino’s beach while youngsters lifted a wealth of materials off my backpack. We learn.

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at pinoypanda2031@aol.com.

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