J’aime la vie on Saipan


Like everything else, I tend to wait until the last hour before I move on something I could have done in good time previously. There was no impending holiday that I knew of, except for Mardi Gras, but we are quite a distance from Rio and New Orleans, so I did not take that seriously.

But when I tried to book for a week stay in two commercial hotels that I had patronized before, I was told that they were fully booked. Wow. That was good news for the tourist industry, but since I was coming in on the unholy hour early morning on a flight from Incheon, it was not good for me. I did not relish the prospect of waiting for sunrise at the airport or some hotel lobby. I mean I am not talking here about bed-and-breakfast places, where the kids wake up early to catch the school bus. I am talking fancy lobby, restaurant, bar, and a concierge. First week of March hotel occupancy on Saipan was suddenly at a premium. That should be good news to Perry!

Well, we finally got it all sorted out. I will be in one of the hotels after they checked all the availability of the broom closets and discovered a room that will hold my snooze at bay.

When I left Saipan in 2010, I disposed of my old reliable Mazda pickup that was compliments of the good folks at Triple J where I bought it new. It lasted well without any major breakdowns. I was strict in following the prescribed maintenance schedule. Not too good on the business side so I was not sharp on the resale, though I definitely made someone happy while I was short of a few Franklins on the transaction.

But March 2-7 when I shall be circulating around Saipan, I will not have the services of the old reliable, and given all the folks (frenemies is the neutral term for friends and foes) I came to know in the decade I lived on island, there are a few I would be remiss if I did not at least say “hello” to on this trip. I do have some bureaucratic matters to attend to, but I am designating the following hours as “drop-by-if-you-can” occasions.

First, I will park myself at the pala-pala in front of the Century building in Gualo Rai from 4pm to 6pm Monday (3rd), Wednesday (5th), and Friday (7th). I will scrounge for a portable folding table that I could use to hack away, and should friends and foes alike wish to stop by and shoot the breeze, these will be times to do it. (I may even be able to talk Glen into rushing a banner from his shop that says, J’aime la vie, if only to tell the birds at the promenade that they will have company this week.)

Subjects for gab could be the state of the Commonwealth economy, indigenes’ relation to the feds and the military, the immigrants and the migrants, the oil in South China Sea (the new Penguin map I got from Honolulu has the body of water named now as the Luzon Sea), and other ordinary topics in the tropics (cancer, Fukushima radiation, Pinoy proliferation, etc.). You still with me?

Second, on Thursday (6th), I will, of course, mosey over to the Garapan street market and be surprised at who I may bump into.

Third, since our departure will not be ’til Saturday afternoon, I might have time to check on our Jamaican-in-Saipan if he still holds his customary audience at Subalu. I might even get to know when he is due for reincarnation as Jamaican-in-China.

If you do plan on stopping by, bring a comb ‘cause I will have my camera loaded, and I might ask you to pause and pose with me for a photo shoot with the lagoon for a backdrop. Hey, I am getting to the sunset of my years. I tend to value those photos as I grow older, i.e., if I can only remember which folder in the laptop I keep them!

Needless to say, it will be a pleasure catching up on where you have been treading, and catch you up on where I have been netting my bonitas of late. And looking forward is just as much fun as looking back, so we will get around to finding out what we’ve got stored for the morrow. Deal?

It did not always look like this in the past, but now, everyone looks like a teenager from where I sit close to sunset. And if I call you “handsome” or “beautiful,” it is not only because I had forgotten your name but also, given my fundamental relationship to life, a feeble smile goes a long way. So, how ya doin’, beyooootipul?

I previously offered to give a presentation, or give a lecture, if one wanted a more formal setting, on China, or language pedagogy, at AMP or NMC, pro bono. It was a downer to have no takers. I guess I will have to earn a PhD first, get it attached to the name, before we get a listen.

I look forward to a Monday to Friday roving around next week on Saipan at the usual places. You know, USCIS, SS, Garapan, PSS, Retirement Fund, ST, UMC, NMPASI, NMC, SVES, and other places familiar whose names have faded from memory, but will bump elbows with the usual suspects.

If for any reason, we fail to connect, I am only a mouse click away: pinoypanda2031@aol.com. I am giving out the Saipan Tribune’s phone number (I still give out their calling cards) for contact, but please just leave a message and I will return your call. That number is (670) 235-2440. Ask for Jayvee if you wish to hear a friendly voice!

See ya!

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.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.