Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Best of Saipan/Saipan Superlatives

I'm going to compile my own personal best of, but I'm open to suggestions and debate on this matter.

Best Cafe
Java Joes. I suppose an argument could be made for Coffee Care, but the service is too inconsistent, and I've gone a few times and they had no bean to go. Jave Joes has a good crowd, reasonable prices, good coffee, a wide selection of good desserts -- plus Rick is pretty cool. The Beans has, or moreso had, nice decor, but the coffee bites, and it is hard to be much of a cafe with lame coffee.

Best Dining Experience
I see only two candidates on this one: Cafe Urashima and Giovanni's, and I'll have to go with Giovanni's by a nose. The number one reason for that is a more flexible and bigger menu, and slightly more refined ingredients, as well as better service than Urashima.

Best New Restaurant
Magic Lamp. The chicken kebobs here are extraordinary, very tender and juicy, and this place in general offers stuff unavailable elsewhere. The lunch special is really very good, and they have Shisha pipes available, so pretty cool there.

Best Restaurant with dubious survival prospects
Taste of India. If only these guys would add some Spam Masala to the menu, then perhaps they'd get more business. The chicken curry is really well done here, and the staff is very friendly and welcoming.

Best Cheap Lunch to Go
The Calzones at Shelly's Pizza.

Best Reason to Live in Saipan
An ocean view on a teacher's salary, with apologies to the Japanese bikini girls at Managaha and Microbeach. Honorable mention goes to the ten minute commute to work, the clean air, low taxes, low stress, access to other Asian locales, Oleai walking path and cheap car insurance -- especially after living in NJ.

Best New Business
Marianas Sweet Shrimp over by the Gold's Gym is a great offering. The only problem is they have shrimp only every couple months, and peeling them is no fun, but sauteed in a lot of garlic, butter and some white wine to deglaze the pan -- wow -- especially with the bread from Carmen Safeway.

Best Video Store
Blockbuster has the best deal on time and price -- especially if you join the Rewards Program, but Kevin's Video gets classic stuff that is often unavailable at Blockbuster -- plus new movies are sometimes impossible to get at Blockbuster.

Best Newspaper
Both local papers are a bit lacking on tough questions and follow through, and the Tribune is pretty fair and not as tame as I would expect given the owner, but largely due to Zaldy Dandan's offerings, and the more vibrant letters section, I'll have to go with the Variety.

Best Cheap Date
A bottle of wine near sunset at Mt. Topachao.

Best Moderately Pricey Date
Dinner Cruise on the Jade Lady.

Best Expensive Date
Don't ask me, I'm married and a teacher.

Best Underutilized Location on Saipan
Mandi Spa at Mariana Resort. This place is fabulous. It has a gym, pool, hot tub, sitting pool overlooking the ocean, and a real Balinese decor. On top of that, hardly anyone is there -- hard to believe.

Best Bar
Godfathers. These guys are very liberal with the free shots, so I've gotta hand it to them. On top of that, the staff consists of a few attractive Filipinas. There is a large, and pretty vibrant crowd there fairly regularly, and a number of different bands.

Best Customer Service
The package delivery window guy at the CK Post Office. I half expect him to throw my package at me and say "No Soup for You," but you have to relish the opportunity to feel self conscious about conducting a very simple transaction.

Best Person to Invite to a BBQ
The security guard at Dolphin. This guy is way cool, and way underfed.

Best Supermarket
Joeten Susupe. This is like having the biggest penis in Japan, but of the three trips to three separate grocery stores required for a shopping order, Joeten Susupe gets the most done. The French Bread at Carmen Safeway deserves a plug as well.

Best Pediatrician
Dr. Norma Ada -- enough said. Notre Dame graduate -- extremely bright.

Best Surgeon
Dr. Sawer. This man inspires confidence in a major way. Very sharp tack. I just heard he left the island. This is as much a catastrophe as the JAL pullout.
Best Educational Afternoon
The CNMI museum, especially the exhibit on the Castaways of Anatahan, is a really great presentation, as is the War Museum in the park.

Best Elected CNMI Official
With apologies to Cinta Kaipat, I'll have to go with Stanley Torres -- the one best putting up a fight, thinking independently, stirring it up, trying to represent normal people, actually doing his job of legislative oversight, and best I can tell, not whoring himself to the garment factories.

Best (and most dangerous) Historical Site The caves near Bonzai. I went through this once, and it is a workout, and very dangerous, but truly amazing with war artificats still there.
Best Auto Repair Shop
Manny's at ELS Autoshop behind and to the left of the Nauru building. I wrote about this one before.

Best Band
The Big Beats continue to do classic rock with Ripken like consistency, and they tackle stuff that is unexpected, Pink Floyd's The Wall, Rage Against the Machine with Dennis doing his best Zach De la Rocha vocals. They aren't quite the same without Lovely, and her bad dancing, on vocals, but still the best around.

Best Dive Site
There is only the Grotto, despite the inherent dangers of this sucker that should never be forgotten. This one compares favorably with any dive in Palau even.

Best Snorkeling Site

Lau Lau northwest of the dive entry site. This requires a small boat, or a romp through the jungle, but the water is sublime, and you can do a moderate cliff jump. Keep booties on, as it is sharp getting out.


The Saipan Blogger said...

What? No best gay bar?

I think that the lighthouse is a good competitor for best underutilized spot. The place is a gold mine waiting to happen.

Even cheaper date: six pack of Bud Lite anytime on Mt. Tapachou.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

Don't know the lighthouse. Where is it?

The Saipan Blogger said...

Stanley Torres is the John McCain of Saipan. What a maverick!

Melissa Simms said...

Hey Jeff, I just figured out that you're my neighbor! I'm the one with the bark-y dog, who likes to bark at you when you're out back! Here's to blogging to bring neighbors together!

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

That's nuts. I didn't notice that at all, but now it makes sense. Small world, even smaller Saipan.

KAP said...

This year's McCain, last year's or the one from six years ago? The old version was pretty good. I'd have to reach back before the turn of the century for Proxmire.

Stanley's great, but usually doesn't follow through. And he makes me nervous when he lurks behind me in a bar. I always feel like inventing some outrageous tale for his benefit.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

After what Bush did to McCain with the push polls http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_poll for him to have really bent over for Bush the way he has is just really sad. He isn't the same.

Melissa said...

Hey, got your comment on my blog, but decided it probably wouldn't be wise for me to post it, not because your opinions aren't valid ones, but because it might enflame certain powers that be that read my blog! But, I also think that the news media does wonderful job of vetting out the lousy prosecutors and a horrible job of looking at the majority of us, who tend to be decent people trying to do the right thing!

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CNMI Blogger said...

Not to worry, Jeff. I consider it an honor just to be considered for a second.


Saipan Writer said...

I've added you to my list, as requested.

Interesting choices. Not necessarily the same as mine, but hey-that's why I have my own blog, huh?!

I mean, that's why I have my own life.

bradinthesand said...

Likening the best grocery store in Saipan to having the biggest penis in Japan was classic.
I'm so glad you started writing because your blog was getting too stale, McShit.
Jersey Jeff is a funny guy. Keep it coming, Dean of Dreadlocks.

Anonymous said...

I will add this blog to my favorites, it is great.

Rye said...

hi!i need your help, can you refer me to a good school in saipan. I'm Ryan from the Phillipines and have been teaching biology and chemistry for 8 years.