Friday, December 5, 2008

Tinian Trip - Part Three

These pictures are of the North Field air base.

The main runway on North Field

This building was used by the Japanese as their command center on the island. It was damaged during the US invasion.

Another side of the Japanese command center.

This is one of the bunker that line the airfield.

Rach leads the way.

View of the bomb blast door.

Looking into the bunker.

We were just leaving the airfield when we got caught in a sudden rainstorm. We ran into this building for shelter and were stuck there for about an hour. Luckily Rach had had the foresight to bring a 6 pack.

Looking out into the rain.

This is the door we sat under while waiting for the rain to end. The entire building was covered in wasp nests (the brown things on the door) and giant spider webs.

One of the spiders.

The surrounding jungle.

After the rain quit we headed out to the Nuclear pits.

This was the first nuclear bomb pit where one of the nuclear bombs was loaded onto the plane.

The plaque in front of the first pit.

Another view of the first pit.

The plaque in front of the second nuclear pit. This pit is about fifty yards away from the first pit.

The second pit.

They had some old photos of the bombs being loaded displayed inside the pits.

Tinian Trip - Part Two

There is a monument to the Navy SeaBees just north of San Jose village. The SeaBees built the airfield and the roads on tinian in just a matter of weeks. Those same roads are still the only way to get around on the North side of the island.

The actual monument.

One of the original WWII built roads running North. This was "8th Ave". The Seabees named the two major roads on Tinian "8th Ave" and "Broadway" after the two major boulevards in New York. They did this because the shape of Tinian reminded them of Manhattan.

This is a view of Saipan from the very North end of Tinian.

This hole in the coral is a natural blowhole that sprays up with every wave.

One of the eastward facing beaches.

The Japanese held Tinian at the start of WWII. They left behind many shrines such as this.

Part of another Shinto Shrine.


A wild cat in the bushes. We were a good thirty minute drive from the closest home.

Tinian Trip - Part One

My internet was disconnected for a while so I fell behind on the postings here. But here are the pics from our Tinian trip several months ago...

Tinian only has one village, San Jose, which is located at the Southern end. The North end is covered by the ruins of what was the largest airfield in the world during WWII. It was from this airfield that the U.S. launched their nuclear attack on Japan.

Rented Scooters are the best (and funnest) way to see the island

This is Taga Beach. Its right across the street from the Dynasty Hotel. They have a really cool spot above the beach where you can jump off into the ocean.

Another view of Taga Beach.

This old bell tower is in the center of San Jose village.

The Tinian Democrat Headquarters has seen better days.

Just outside the village they have this old engine and prop from a Japanese zero.

Close-up of the prop.

Close-up of the engine.

The Japanese have built shinto shrines like this all across Saipan and Tinian. They are supposed to comfort the lost souls of the Japanese soldiers who died here.

This is a Latte stone at the "House of Taga". Latte stones were used to support the homes of the ancient Chamarros. These giant stones supposedly were part of a great chief's home. These Latte stones are a very prevalent part of Chamarro culture and appear everywhere in local art, architecture and even on our flag.

A fallen Latte stone.

We found these scale models of the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan behind our hotel. Rach is standing next to the model of "Little Boy".

Me standing next to the scale replica of "Fat Man".

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tinian trip

We finally went off island last month for our first mini-vacation. We went to Tinian, the island just south of Saipan.

There are two possible ways of getting to Tinian: by boat or by plane. The ferry costs 20 bucks a person while the plane costs just under 200, so we took the ferry.

Once inside we found that the ferry gives its passengers all the comfort of airline seats with the added bonus of sea sickness.

An hour later we were pulling up in front of Tinian's premier attraction: The Dynasty Casino. The casino is a strange thing. Its a several hundred room hotel located out on an island that only has 3,000 residents. The place was deserted when we were there, yet in the photo you can see a billboard out front announcing that they are doing a several story expansion of the hotel. Maybe the owners are just very, very optimistic.

The entrance foyer.

Our room. One thing that I would have liked to know before booking the room is that it had a "Japanese style" bed. This means that they replaced our comfy western matress with something that feels more like a concrete block.

Looking up from the hotel floor.

The pool. As you can see, it was a little too crowded for us.