Enhancing the tourist experience with a boardwalk and restrooms

Posted on Nov 29 2019


BECQ/DCRM has a good idea with some pleasant unintended consequences for a change. While I am sure BECQ is primarily interested in keeping cars out of the creek and off the beach at Jeffrey’s, building a boardwalk adds to the tourist experience where a barricade to keep them out just removes one more beauty spot from our arsenal of attractions that keep our tourists occupied while showing them the finer side of Saipan. Good thinking, BECQ/DCRM!

A boardwalk can be a fascinating attraction and is widely used in the Florida Everglades and elsewhere to highlight places of interest with minimal damage to the site by visitors. They must be engineered to withstand expected weather events and piles in this case must be driven deep enough to withstand typhoon-class waves and wind. Placement to avoid the most direct exposure also needs to be considered. Since BECQ gets fed grants to do its work, they should add a public restroom at a suitable nearby site to the contract deliverables. Maybe a waterless self-composting type (?) or a low water usage septic tank-style located higher up the slope to the north. Whatever the design, a restroom will keep tourists that just “have to go”’ accommodated without polluting the countryside with waste.

While we’re at it, how about doing the same at Hidden Beach (or San Juan Beach as it is sometimes known) at the north end of the Kingfisher Golf Links? That beach now has a large volume of traffic (no longer “hidden”). A tourist site without a bathroom is a recipe for abuse. We, the host for the tourists, abuse them by not placing a comfort room where they need it. They, in turn, abuse the environment by doing what they need to do where it should not be done. So a nice boardwalk, interpretive signs, and restrooms at both of these sites would go a long way toward making our visitors comfortable and toward keeping our environment clean and ticking too.

The wetlands down by Lake Susupe and the ones just outside and south of Tanapag or just north of the Aqua Resort Club would be excellent candidates for this treatment as well. Flora and fauna and their precarious balance with the Saipan ecosystem can be taught and passed on to visitors, students and the general populace of Saipan with great effect. Please?

It is Thanksgiving weekend so I am thinking of all my friends and relatives on Saipan and elsewhere. I’m here in the Manila suburb of Bonifacio Global City so will miss the gut-busting turkey dinner with all the trimmings this year. Maybe that is for the best. I really like to eat well-roasted turkey with dressing and all the usual fixings and seldom have the willpower to stop anywhere near a reasonable quitting point. Oh no, I must eat until I am miserably stuffed and looking about eight months pregnant with stomach protruding like I have a bowling ball implanted in my abdomen. Yesterday was not a problem as that kind of dinner was not readily available here, so I ate reasonably for a change.

I am here in Manila to do some follow up medical work. I’m feeling fine and the prognosis is good for me but several of the patients visiting doctors or having procedures done at St. Luke’s Hospital are having a harder time of it than I am. Some are even admitted to the hospital undergoing traumatic procedures on this holiday weekend. To those people from Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Guam, I urge you to keep a positive attitude, be kind to those around you even when it feels hard to do and, above all, be thankful for our family members and supportive friends, those that can be with us here and those who cannot because school, career, or other circumstances prevent it.

We should all also thank the Medical Referral office and all their hardworking staff, and the staff of whatever insurance company is helping you to financially navigate the sometimes treacherously expensive waters of medical repairs. Like cars, these human bodies can sometimes be expensive to maintain. Have hope. That and a positive attitude does most of the healing.

Each of us has much to be thankful for and specific people or groups we should acknowledge. For me, it must include a family friend who gave me the positive attitude and kindness advice I shared above and whose support is much appreciated, Speaker B.J. Attao and his wonderful family. Another family friend and marine biology/fishing lore mentor is Mr. Benigno “Ben” Sablan of Tanapag, whose kind assistance seems to have no bounds. Thanks, Ben, and equally to his lovely wife, Mira, and all our friends and neighbors in Tanapag/Talaabwogh village. Likewise, friends Rep. Stanley Torres and his wife Arlene.

My own wife, Olivia, probably should get the highest praise because she has had to put up with the most childish “sick kid” behavior from me but stands steadfast as the best multi-tasking PA I have ever seen. As an aside I will say it is nice to have a PA you can sleep with. It promotes companionship.

Ana Teregeyo and Larissa Ada and all the folks at the Saipan Medical Referral Office have made it far easier logistically for me to be here. Nita heading it up, her staff and the complement of drivers that shuffle us back and forth, hotel to hospital, hospital to clinic or other hospitals. They pull long hours to make life more convenient. Thanks to Felix, Arnold, Willy, and Ding. Larry, and B.J. Reyes and Do have all been instrumental, too.

Doctors Peter Brett and James Hofschneider have helped me immensely on Saipan as have all the folks at Dr. Ada’s Clinic (Medical Associates of the Pacific) and those on Dr. Brett’s CHCC staff too. Finally, I wouldn’t be here at all if not for the professional assistance of TakeCare Insurance and their excellent staff on Saipan, Lani Santos and Melanie Pangelinan.

So I’m giving thanks for not having turkey indigestion on this beautiful Friday morning but most of all, thanks to all, named above or not, who surround me with support and care about me.

Me, me, me, I, I ,I. Sorry to be so self-absorbed in today’s Sour Grapes. Thanks for reading and please come back next week for a dose of something entirely different.

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
—Albert Schweitzer

Bruce Bateman | Author
Bruce A. Bateman (brubat@yahoo.com) resides on Saipan with a wife, a son, and an unknown number of boonie dogs. He has owned and operated a number of unusual businesses and most recently worked as the marketing manager for MVA. Bruce likes to read, travel, tinker with bicycles, hike, swim, and play a bit of golf. He is opinionated and writes when the moon is full and the mood strikes.

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