In the 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne escaped from prison and found a second chance in life in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
Not that Pei Li and company are fleeing from something, but they apparently found their Zihuatanejo on Saipan and that’s why they recently opened Ice 2 C U at the Paseo de Marianas in Garapan.
Li, along with Jia Kang and Xiao Hong Li, discovered the island paradise of Saipan during a vacation last year and decided to open a business here.
“I love traveling. Every year I travel with my family around the world, especially the islands. I have been to many [popular] islands—The Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Last year, my friends came to Saipan to celebrate their 10th anniversary of marriage. They invited me to come here. We have happy memories,” he said.
What attracted him and his friends to the CNMI is its beautiful natural scenery, colorful sea, cool winds, and rosy sunsets.
Li also admired Saipan’s melting pot of nationalities and culture and saw it as a great place to live and work at the same time.
“The culture here is so diverse and open. Local [residents], people from China, Korea, Europe, and the United States…live and work here peacefully, which makes it feel friendly. I [couldn’t] forget Saipan when I went back to China, so I decided to give up [my] stable [job] in China and came here to start a new journey,” he said.
Enter Ice 2 C U, which is a play on the popular English greeting “Nice to see you.” Li said they opened shop last Oct. 1 to capitalize on the Boba tea craze that is currently sweeping the world.
“As you know, in Europe, America, China, Japan, and Korea, drinking milk tea has become a fashion. There are many innovative tastes and style [that are] very popular in the market. The cool thing for young people nowadays is to [hang out] at the milk tea shop,” he said. “My wife is also a milk tea lover. One of my best friends in China has a [good] experience in the milk tea business, so that is why we want to bring high-quality and fashion milk tea drinks to the beautiful [island of] Saipan.”
Aside from Boba tea, Ice 2 C U also offers all manner of cold drinks like milk tea, fruit tea, fresh milk and yogurt, and fruit smoothies.
So far, the bestsellers are Classic Milk Tea, Super Bubble, Dragon Fruit & Banana, and Mango Smoothie.
In time, Li hopes Ice 2 C U will not only be known for its delicious cold drinks, but also for its cozy and cool ambiance.
“It is a warm place where people can relax, chat, and laugh, happily share their lives and enhance their love. It is also a place where beautiful photographs can be created. We provide many scenes and interesting props for everyone to discover their own beauty,” he said.
“Maybe everyone has an island dream in their hearts. In the book The Moon and Sixpence, the central character Charles Strickland chose Tahiti. In The Shawshank Redemption Andy chose Zihuatanejo, and I chose Saipan,” said Li.
Ice 2 C U is located at the Paseo de Marianas in Garapan. It is open every day from 11am to 9:30pm and can accommodate 30 customers. For more information or reservations, call 588-8866.