Friday, February 25, 2011

Tinian from up above

BOARDING a six-seater plane for the first time bound for Tinian can be a challenging experience for anyone, especially if you’re used to the big planes but once you are airborne, start to appreciate the view from up above and you will forget what initial fears you may have of flying on a small plane.
No one can blame you if you get scared, especially if you happen to sit beside the pilot and the plane starts running on the runway with the door open. Don’t worry, the pilot will close the door as soon as the plane takes off for the 10-minute flight across the sea toward Tinian airport.
Since the ferry stopped its operations in March last year, commuters going to Tinian have no choice but to take the small planes.
A tour of the 39 square miles island of Tinian, home of many of the CNMI’s historical treasures from over a thousand feet above offers anyone the best view of what the island looks like and makes a land tour more meaningful because you already have a bird’s eye view of where you are.
Flying over the deep sea between Saipan and Tinian can be scary at first, but before you know it, the sea is left behind and you will start seeing green trees and lush vegetation everywhere.
From up above, Tinian looks like a hidden paradise and all you can see are the pristine beaches on its shorelines, the clear blue waters that looks too inviting for scuba diving and snorkeling, limestone cliffs and attractive stone formations, coral reefs, a variety of flora and fauna, and a long, straight road that runs through the green shrubs, providing a pleasant view that any passenger, tourist or local, cannot resist taking pictures of.
If you are scared of boarding a small plane, try to overcome your fear and take a trip to Tinian. You will be rewarded with spectacular views that you can only see from up above. And oh, don’t forget to bring your camera.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dancing for luck and good fortune

THE beating of the drums started and the lion dancers fall into position. Despite the noonday heat, a small audience gathered taking photos and videos to capture another brilliant, wickedly energetic Chinese traditional dance to welcome the New Year.
Chopsticks were suspended in mid-air as diners at the Gourmet Restaurant in Garapan gaped at the two “lions” with ornately decorated heads and bright eyes trying to squeeze their long bodies into the restaurant, entering every room to bring good luck for the coming year.
The lion dancers prance back outside, performing acrobatic stunts with agile movements before ending the performance by eating the green vegetables hanged outside the restaurant door and spreading the rest of the fresh vegetables at the doorway and inside the restaurant.
Chinese Association of Saipan director Rose Chan said that the vegetables represented good health and life.
For early morning until late last night, the lion dancers of the Chinese Association of Saipan visited several hotels, restaurants and business establishments all the way from Susupe to Garapan and distributed goodies to the children for health and prosperity for the Year of the Rabbit.
Two individuals enact the lion dance. One dancer handles the head while the other holds the tail, and together, they move in a specific rhythm blending with the beating of the drums and the cymbals.
Each year, the lion dancers always amaze the community with their colorful costumes and lively dance moves as they try to mimic a lion’s movements.
“The lion dance has always been a part of the Chinese culture and heritage to wish for good luck and prosperity,” Chan said.
Yesterday, the world witnessed colorful presentations from lion dancers all over the world as the Chinese community welcomed the New Year, summoning luck and good fortune.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!