Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saipan oops: sun, sand and sex

A recent post from shows that Saipan still has a way to go in promoting itself:
I just returned from 2 days in Saipan in April. We stayed the the Century Hotel, and it was nice enough. Overall, we were disappointed in Saipan because of all the dodgy gambling houses and hookers. Hookers approached me on the street while I was walking with my wife. We felt unsafe in Saipan, and thought our things would be stolen at any moment. We were glad to leave, expecially when the only cafe at the airport sold $5 water and soft drinks. I wouldn't recommend Saipan to the island traveller - Guam and Palau were so much better.

The Aquarius Beach Tower got mostly great reviews, and none of them dissed Saipan. Well, except for "Also, you will be far away from Garapan, the crowds of tourists, cheesy shops and hookers."

A personal view for readers not familiar with Saipan: the hookers are certainly all over Garapan, but generally not too aggressive (at least to 'statesiders'; you can say haole if you're smiling). Either it's getting better or I don't notice as much. The problem still needs more attention, but for me it's certainly not threatening or dangerous.

That said, I had one lovely lass try to jump into my car when I was leaving a general store. Walking over to the Paseo de Marianas for my five buck Thursday supper-- which at today's grocery prices here is cheaper than cooking for the family-- makes me feel like Robert Stack wading through the airport Hare Krishna in the movie Airplane!. My son asked what a 'massageee' was on our stroll there last week. I said a relaxing back rub or some such nonsense. "Let's take a different route back," I suggested. "Maybe I can get another offer." I did.

It's not just the night ladies; Garapan restaurants have their hawkers on the street too, though they usually stick to the Japanese tourists.


Saipan Writer said...

This story should be reported in the newspaper. We have to wake up and realize just what we look like to people visiting for the first time.

Thanks for the info.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

I've always had a beef with the airport concessions.. what is our goal here? To leave visitors with the worst taste in their mouth possible. This is their final experience on Saipan.. and it is a telling one. Get DFS out of there, or have them agree to designate a part of their store as a "real" airport store.. and get those crappy rip-off concessions out of there. The CPA should be in a position to approve price-lists for concessions. If they are currently.. whoever approves the prices should be FIRED.

This culture of gouging visitors will make sure we don't get significant repeat visitors. Disgusting.

bigsoxfan said...

Airport equals a captive market. I was never too surprised to be hit up for a high priced water, but Saipan isn't Dodger Stadium and the price should reflect. Maybe the MVA should take over the concession and base the fee's on a mainland japan airport's concessions. If they are going that far, then put in a vending machine with cold sake or Mr Browns. Ohhh.. Mr Brown. How I miss the sweet smooth taste with the slightly bitter finish.. MMM..Sorry, I'm drooling here, but since the melamine fiasco, Mr Brown is nowhere to be found on CONUS.

KAP said...

Sadly, it's not news to anyone who walks around Garapan. Those aren't the only remarks out on the web.

I haven't kept up, but Duty Free got a long-term concession. They probably would have bought the land if it was legal. Maybe if they called it a condo?

Not as ridiculous as ours, but most airports have high prices.

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