Tag Garapan

Six Choice, Five Dollars

Garapan’s Thursday Night Market

Most of the local restaurants set up tables checkered with steel catering trays filled to the brim with all kinds of greasy fare. Meat on a stick, whole fried daily catch, fried rice and saucy noodles. If you decide to order six choices you’re served Thanksgiving plate proportions of food in a deep bottomed styro take-home container, a pair of chopsticks and one napkin.

I took these photos last week, when the market wasn’t as busy as I’ve seen it. It had just rained and you could feel the day’s wet heat rise up from the black top. The carnival lights strung from under the tents turned the surrounding night even darker. The abundance of choice makes it hard to decide even for an off-the-wagon vegetarian like me. I pace the length several times, considering my options, always gravitating toward the Thai and Indian food. Now, I don’t have the gastronomic capacity for a spade full of dinner but Peter let me in on an unadvertised secret: three choice, three dollar, which seems to me a perfectly good deal.

We found a spot up Garapan’s walking mall, plunked down, and cracked into our convenience store beers.

My Tiny Studio

Here are a few shots of my little palace in downtown Garapan. As far as I’m concerned this white washed, 10′ x 18′, concrete, kitchen-less studio is the Taj Mahal. It’s comfortable, close to everything, it even has a balcony and a bath tub. It’s handy to shops the internet and best of all I have access to turquoise water and a postcard beach just two blocks west. I’ll brag just a little bit more: rent is less than $10 a night.

Finding the place was fun too. The day after Pete, Mary Ann, and Alyx left, Peter dropped me off downtown and I began the hunt. Starting at Micro Beach Hotel and Food Court (fourth floor unfurnished kitchen-less studio, $250) I criss-crossed the small central area dialing every “For Rent” number and calling up to balconies, “Any vacancies here? Where’s the office?” There are a lot of vacant apartments in downtown Garapan. One I looked at and liked (unfurnished, one bedroom, with kitchen, $300) had been tenant-less from the day it was finished years ago. (Finished as in work stopped on it, it was without A/C, fixtures, appliances. There wasn’t even a power meter installed yet.)

I happily settled for my apartment when I saw it. There were “For Rent” signs all over, but no one answered the phone. A woman in an adjoining shop shook her head saying “for Japanese only,” when I asked about it. Fortunately I loitered long enough to meet Edgar the caretaker who told me these apartments are no good and too expensive. I disagreed with him and meet with the manager later that night, negotiated rent down $40, signed a month to month lease and moved in.

This place suits me fine. The bed’s a little hard, tiny ants march to an from left out food and there’s no wi-fi to steal but the positives far outweigh the negatives here in this numberless apartment in it’s nameless building.