Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Origin of SteeleOnSaipan

I came to Saipan on an 8-month 1994. Chris Nelson and I were hired at the same time by the former Diamond Hotel as lifeguards/sports instructors, met a few days before departure in San Diego, bought a bottle of rum at Honolulu airport and got pasted on the flight to Guam. We arrived at night and were taken by our "handlers" to the old Rudolfo's, where we promptly learned what Saipan Mind Erasers do for you. I remember being blown away by the huge, compact auto-size leaves on the trees surrounding the Rudy's back deck. I'd been to Hawaii many times but had never gone tropical and I will never forget waking early in the morning and really seeing Saipan for the first time, in disbelief at how blue the lagoon water was and by the presence of the hulking Sherman tanks resting in the water in front of the hotel. I'll also never forget our first foray into the hotel staff cafeteria and seeing dried fish carcass for the first time. How could something that smelled so bad be devoured so quickly by our new co-workers?
Needless to say, we lived off of a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, PIC happy hours (free food layout then) and Rudy's pizza for the first few months.

Like most new arrivals to Saipan, there were many enjoyable, culture-shock sightings those first few days. Besides having to learn to drive 35 and not weave in-and-out of traffic inches from other cars ala the Brickyard, I still remember the first time seeing someone chewing b-nut and wondering if he just got smacked and why was he smiling? I never got tired of watching young, Japanese girls exit the hotel lobby and head for the beach in bikini and 5" heels. I still laugh to this day watching groups of young, Japanese men who share the same hairstylist and fashion trends walk down Beach Rd. in Garapan in their pecking order with the senior member calling directions and leading the pack. It's like a slo-mo hash without chalk.

From bartending p/t at Oleai for a few years, 100+ trips to Stoplight and everywhere in between and company moves to Palau then Guam that took me off-island for awhile, I returned in 2004, got married and with our recent May 26 edition, now have two kids.
I've mellowed, my hair's receding, my forehead is more wrinkled, the local gov't is as f...ed up as ever but Saipan is still a magical place where one can live a happy and stress-free life.

This is my first attempt at creating a website. Though the inspiration came from reading other Made in Saipan blogs such as Saipan and Other Random Hypercritical Thoughts and The Saipan Blog, the content of this site will mainly be geared toward providing insight of and current events from our little paradise to friends and family back home and beyond. But that's not to say that I won't put in an occasional nickel's worth on Saipan's local politics, which is a pure-play plethora of brain-burping material to gripe and even laugh about.

So off I go into the realm of creative writing. I hope that you enjoy this site.


Jeff said...

"I never got tired of watching young, Japanese girls exit the hotel lobby and head for the beach in bikini and 5" heels."

Me, too. You have to live here to appreciate and otherwise be aggravated with this place. Vestcor has quite the view.

Saipan Writer said...

The "old" Rudolpho's?

I've been here longer. I sat at Rudy's home in San Antonio testing all the different pizza dough recipes before he opened his restaurant. And the "old" Rudolpho's is now Oleai Beach Bar. That was Rudy's first restaurant. The one in Sadog Tasi was the "new" Rudolpho's--until it closed, filed bankruptcy, and now sits as a ruin.


SteeleOnSaipan said...

Point taken and already known but a decade after closure, I can't see calling that decaying building the "new" Rudolpho's. But hey, the only place I knew where you could tab $20 worth of booze and only be billed $10. Thanks for visiting my site.

Deece said...

So that's who you are. Glad to see that your newest little one is doing well. How is your son taking to being an older sibling?

BTW, we sort of met at the doc's while your wife was still pregnant. I'm linking you, feel free to do the same.

Anonymous said...

i miss serving beers to you guys at old and new rudolpho's bar. it's a fun place to work and have a beer while playing darts with all of our friends. Randy, i miss all of you guys.

SteeleOnSaipan said...

Anonymous, who r u?