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Any Saipan questions?

San Diego
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Any Saipan questions?

I'm living out in Saipan right now. If anyone has any questions about Saipan, Tinian or the CNMI just pm me or post it here.

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usa, oklahoma
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51. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Hi,

Are grocery prices a bit higher than the norm in the usa? And how about cartons of cigarettes? Does the CNMI have the outrageous taxes we have in the usa? Is there satalite tv available in english?

Thanks in advance, Paul

San Diego
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52. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Hi Paul,

Grocery prices are definitely higher here than in the states. This is because everything needs to be shipped (by boat) from California to Hawaii to Guam to Saipan. So if you are familiar with prices in Hawaii on food, we are slightly higher than that.

This is most noticable in things like berries that need to be flown buy airplane from Hawaii. So a box of strawberries might run 7 or 8 dollars.

Finding fresh veggies can be difficult at first. The hardest part of the transition for me when coming out here was dealing with grocery shortages. I love to cook and was used to getting whatever I needed at the store on demand. But a trip to the store out here might find a shortage of apples or oranges or something else you wanted. Fortunately we have a new store that just opened called "Super Fresh" which actually has a very good selection of veggies. But there still are days between food shipments when everything will start to look wilted and moldy in the veggie aisle.

If you like meat, though, Super Fresh always has a great supply of steaks and hamburger meat.

San Diego
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53. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Hi Poorestourist,

Saipan is experiencing a lot of rain right now. It has actually rained for the past 16 days. We don't have any typhoons though, its just regular rain. Usually it will rain for an hour or two and then be sunny the rest of the day.

Insurance is required by law on the island, so I don't know who told you otherwise. Car rental rates are very cheap (around 30 - 40 a day). I'd recommend using one of the smaller companies, they will be cheaper than budget and hertz.

freedom1
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54. Re: Any Saipan questions?

My wife is interviewing for a teachers position on the island. We have several questions:

1. Passports needed? I am retire USAF and we have appropriate ID.

2. How much is a one-way ticket (approximately) via Northwest.?

3. We have 2 cats - I have read the 2008 postings on pet quarantine and I think I understand the process. However, do you know what the cost is nowadays for shipping pets out there?

Thanks, lvsarge.

San Diego
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55. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Hello lvsarge,

Passports are required to enter Saipan. I'm not sure how/if this will change when the Feds take over immigration in November, but definitaly plan on having to show yours.

Flight fares are going to vary depending on date, current fuel charges, etc. I paid about 1300 per person to fly out via continental about 2 years ago. I'd check northwest.com for the best prices.

I'm not sure where your wife is applying, but some of the schools pay to fly their off-island hires out (and their spouses). My job covered travel expenses for both my wife and I. They should also pay for your flight home.

My memory is a little foggy on what we paid for our two cats, but I think it was around 200 per cat. You will need to contact the airline's freight department. They will have guidelines as to what type of carrier, size specifications, etc. I recommend flying the cats through Northwest (via Japan direct to Saipan) so that you can avoid Guam. We went through Guam and Continental does not transport animals between Saipan and Guam. Therefore you will need to hire Freedom Air (a local company) to fly them over and they only take freight on Fridays. So our cats had to go to a kennel in Guam (I'm pretty sure it was called paradise valley) and they charged us over a hundred dollars to keep the cats for a day. When we picked the cats up at the airport it was obvious that their carriers had not been cleaned - they were full of several days worth of urine and feces and our cats were filthy. So its better to go direct from USA to Japan to Saipan if possible.

Once you get the cats here they will be quarantined. Its a 90 day quarantine, but be sure to apply in advance for the at home quarantine. This means that the cats will only do 30 days at the kennel and the remaining 60 days at home. The kennels are good sized and they will put your cats together if you request. The kennels have 2-3 layers of fencing for walls, a tin roof, a concrete sleeping area where they can escape the elements and a double door system so they don't get out when someone comes in. The kennel allows daily visiting.

usa, oklahoma
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56. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Thanks sdnative,

I've noticed the comments on the lack of fresh veggies and fruit at times. Since Saipan is one of the most stable tropical zones for temperature and rain, why don't the locals grow their own fruits and veggies? Is it a matter of having level ground?

And if you could quote the price of a carton of cigarettes?

Paul

San Diego
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57. Re: Any Saipan questions?

I'm guessing its the temperature that makes growing things difficult. Even though the thermometer might always be about 88, when you factor in the humidity it feels more into the mid 90's. Don't worry though, you get used to it pretty fast. I'm from San Diego, where we don't have humidity (or rain), but I got used to it pretty quick.

There are local veggies in the market, but they are mainly string beans, carrots and some squash. I've tried growing tomatoes, but they always die before maturing. The produce has really improved in the last few months though - I don't know if they are using some new shipping routes or if its just seasonal.

If produce is important to you, there is another way to get it. A few people have gotten together and they all chip in cash to order monthly shipments of fresh fruits and veggies from the mainland. You could probably join one of those groups if you are so inclined.

I hope I haven't given you the impression that there is a major lack of food variety out here. You can find what you need (most times, the other day I couldn't find fresh lettuce anywhere), you just need to know where to look. I usually go to Super Fresh now, they have a great selection. If they are missing something there, I go to San Jose Mart. That is a Korean store and for some reason I've found the little Korean markets have fresh stuff. If both those fail I go to the Joeten Market in Garapan - the prices are the highest on the island but they generally have a good selection.

Also, we do have several native fruits that you can find anywhere - even on the side of the road. Bananas grow everywhere, as do star fruit, mangos and papayas. There is a wild avocado grove near my house where you can walk out with a backpack full.

As for cigs, I couldn't tell you. I quit smoking a few years ago so I'm not up on the prices. I think they cost about the same as back home. I emailed a friend and will update this post when they tell me.

usa, oklahoma
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58. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Thanks for the additional info on fruits and veggies. Those local fruits are all favorites of mine. It is puzzling to me why a tomato plant wouldn't thrive but now doubt there is a reason or someone would be earning a living doing that.

Good for you on stopping the cigarett habit/addiction. With very high taxes recently imposed, a carton of name brand cigarettes at Wal-Mart is over fifty dollars.

Thanks again for all your informational help.

Paul

Saipan, Mariana...
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59. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Hi! I was wondering what neighborhoods would be the best to live in with families with little kids? Considering things like daycare, elementary schools, safety when playing outside, etc...

San Diego
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60. Re: Any Saipan questions?

Its a very, very small island, so where ever you live you are going to have access to the same health services, daycare, etc.

The entire island is safe and as far as schools go, the only real difference is whether you do public or private.

The only safety issue that I am aware of is household breakins. The least breakins seem to occur on Mt Tapochau, Capital Hill and Wireless Ridge.

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