With little time and an adventuring spirit Mike and I have decided to go to Taiwan for Christmas. It's a three hour flight from here. We are taking a tour of the entire island before (Mike hopes) the Chinese blow it to smithereens or worse. I have heard Taiwan described as what China might be like without Mao's dictatorship. Taiwan is supposed to have some of the best food in the world. More later.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Upon arrival, I wanted to get out of Saipan as fast as possible. We were the only Westerners in the airport and the only people at the US Passport desk so we sailed right through into your typical American welfare state. Garapan, the main town, is full of poker and massage parlors, once I got past that I saw that Saipan must have been your textbook version of paradise. Saipan was an island where tarro, bannanas, sugar cane and all kinds of fruit grew wild, the coral reef is full of delicious fish, there are no bugs, no poison anything and the weather is temperate year round. Then Magellan showed up after 109 days at sea and the Saipanese ran out of luck. He killed 8 people and burned 40 houses because he thought they were stealing from him. Then Germany, Japan and America used the island for their own purposes and now there are no crops. The Japanese exported the sugar cane then the US paved the entire island in concrete for runways in WWII. They have not had to repair one road in 60 years the Army Corps of Engineers did such a great job. The Enola Gay took off from Saipan to drop the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima, when the Emperor of Japan wanted to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb he did not go to Hiroshima to pray but rather to Saipan.
This photo is of Suicide Cliff, the Japanese wanted to commit suicide rather than submit to the Americans and convinced thousands of Saipanese that life would be hell under American rule so they should also commit suicide. Over 5,000 people walked off this cliff, many holding their children. A Japanese man who survived the fall was rescued by an American Soldier and said that from his vantage point at the back of the line it looked like people going down an escalator.