Time to wrap this story up with the embarrassing parts, but first I’ll mention Wild Bill’s. Wild Bill’s 2 is on Guam and is a pretty decent little bar. They will serve you alcohol and also bar food. Wild Bill’s 2 is the second one because the first one is on Saipan and is called Wild Bill’s. Wild Bill’s is a Thai restaurant that will also serve you beer. The success of my bar hopping attempts should have been an indicator for the rest of the night.
Having struck out, like I mentioned a while ago, with my Shanghai connection (but not after a conversation that included the un-memorable line “You’re not into cuddling, are you?”), I decided to sample the night life on Saipan. The only obvious strip club I spotted on Saipan was a place called “King’s Club.” I thought this place was terribly quaint. When I first walked in at nine, an hour I usually consider perfectly reasonable but is apparently way too early for the rest of the world (kids these days), I was the only guy in there and I thought they were closed. I took my seat and soon after a sizable mass of Chinese tourists walked in and the show began. Eventually things went as they usually do in strip clubs and I started talking to Angie. Angie was from Mongolia. When she first started talking to me she thought I was Russian. I think this whole experience is demonstrative of the effects of globalization and the efficacy of racial profiling. To give you a sense of the Saipan economy, stripper drinks cost $25 and the VIP area was $100. She related to me that her friend had gotten a visa to Guam where the opportunities were reported to be fantastical. I confirmed for her that the strippers were better paid. I eventually left when the place closed at four in the morning somewhat poorer, but, you know, when in Saipan.
The next morning, or more accurately mere hours later, I woke up with the obligatory headache, as much from my sunburn as the meager amount of booze. I am getting old. I took a shower and gathered my things and went out to face the day. I went for breakfast at a cafe by the park called Cafe by the Park. It featured a cute waitress in high-wasted jeans. I got the fried rice. I regret not getting the banana crepe. I paid with the remainder of my stripper $1s. For entertainment that morning I checked out the American Memorial Park, across the street from the Cafe it lent its name to. It is a very nice little park with a high-quality museum and was apparently recently hit by a typhoon. The Carolinian thatched hut was not there, presumably showing the one weakness of thatched-hut living vis-à-vis typhoons. I bought a lapel pin at the gift shop and checked out a Japanese pillbox until it was time to head to the airport.
Places like Saipan amaze me. Who has even ever heard of the place? To answer my own question, apparently tons of Asian and Russian tourists. The amount of tourist traffic to the Marianas kind of blows my mind. On one hand, I enjoyed the island entirely. The island is smaller than Guam but didn’t feel small while I was visiting. Saipan has a great deal of natural beauty, the upswing of being underdeveloped. The abruptness of how the cliffs of Saipan meet the ocean gave you a sense of power that Guam doesn’t quite have for me. On the other hand, it’s a tiny out of the way spot where the airport has all of two airline counters but somehow manages to garner enough tourist traffic to warrant a luxury brands shopping mall. Just to shoehorn in this reference, by the way, the mascot of Saipan is a panda with a weird nose. It is called the “Saipan-da.” I didn’t get it at first, but when I did I was all like “ha, okay.” I’m on the side of the Asian tourists here though. I liked Saipan. It is out of the way and has that somewhat run-down tropical feel that I love. If you ever have a weekend free and find yourself in the Marianas give it a go.