I received an email from my friend and tour guide Walt who lives on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. As things are pretty quiet here in lockdown on Flinders Island, I thought I’d share it. I notice Walt’s supermarket is better stocked than ours (our shopkeepers are still having trouble having their orders filled). Over to you Walt:
I hope things are sane and safe where you are!
In case you’re curious: here on Saipan…
▪ Things are quiet.
▪ No school.
▪ No church services.
▪ Most restaurants are closed.
▪ No tourists driving bright pink Mustangs (*see below if that wasn’t a thing when you were here)
▪ Air is cleaner (It was always so, but I suspect it’s even better now!)
▪ Everyone’s wearing masks. Cashier stations have glass separating the cashiers from customers.
▪ There’s been no panic buying–except a bit of a run on hand sanitizer,isopropyl alcohol,garlic and ginger! So, shelves are stocked and shopping proceeds as normal, albeit at a 6-foot spacing.
▪ Mail delivery to the post office continues.
▪ There’s a 7pm curfew
On another note:
▪ No international flights coming or going.
▪ No guests in hotels.
▪ No tour buses around
So, those businesses and individuals who relied 100% on tourism-generated income might be a bit challenged.
▪ I canceled my March and April tours back in Feb since I wasn’t comfortable encouraging folks to travel and possibly put myself and others in the community at risk.
Hermits and recluses can cope. The incurably gregarious might be going stir crazy.
In general, though, I’d say things are pretty civilized….The nice thing about life here is that we’re more in touch with nature and less dependent upon supermarkets as the single source of food. (People are fishing, others have fruit trees on their properties, etc.) so I think that sense of desperation that might exist in the concrete jungle is less here.
▪ As far as actual statistics: I believe I’ve read somewhere that there are “8 confirmed cases.”
Again, I you hope and those you care about are doing well and I’ll see you on Youtube!
*If it wasn’t a thing when you were here, I’ll explain the Mustang phenomenon:
It must have started about 2 years ago, then. The growing wave of young Chinese tourists were all renting Mustang and Camaro convertibles to sport about the island and (most importantly) take photos posing on the hood for uploading to the latest social media sites. The most popular of these “skittle colored cars,” as one my guests called them, was hot pink, but you could find bright green, blue and an occasional red! They were everywhere! And, the kids must have purchased their driver’s licenses at the same rental companies because they quickly garnered a reputation of doing odd things like driving on (and getting stuck in) Saipan’s sandy beaches, stopping in the middle of the road to read maps, raising convertible tops while driving and all manner of mayhem! (Fun to watch the trainwreck!)
I’ve included a photo of a Mustang convoy at Banzai Cliff.
p.p.s. With an inordinate amount of time on my hands, I’ve been devoting more time to growing my 5 Youtube channels (feel free to subscribe and click the alert bell to help raise my numbers and future income):
▪ The Passion Prophet channel features a new “Turn Your Pandemic into Profit” series”
And, if you were losing sleep worried about me roaming the deserted streets of Saipan to do my shopping, fear not! I did get a car a few months ago. Hmmmm.. “The Streets of Saipan” (I’ll probably do Covid Edition Drive Through Saipan to add to the video series) The first one I did when I first arrived on Saipan now has 20,000 views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciytmRdsRSo