Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saipan! Swimming, boogie boarding, snorkeling and just plain having fun! : )

These 4 pics on the top of this post, this pic and the 3 down below were taken by the PIC staff photographer and we bought them because we liked how the pics came out. : ) This one is of Branden in the kids pool, he was in there playing with Noah at the time, this picture was taken. : )
This was the pic of Noah who was also playing in the kids area at the time. : )
If you see this picture on the right hand bottom part of this picture says "Kids Club"? They have a kids club at the PIC, about 4 PIC life guards and group mates go and play and do lots of activities with the kids whoever is signed up. It's all in English. They have the morning class, the afternoon class and an all day class. We wanted to spend time with B, so he only joined for the afternoon class, he had so much fun!!! And loved being in a class with kids of all different backgrounds and nationalities. They sang a song, "we are the kids club...the mighty mighty kids club!!!!"
They also had a wave rider at the PIC in Saipan and Branden loved it! I took pics of my own but I think the photographer took a much better picture then I did, ha ha ha. Good thing we have this pic. He's getting really really good at boogie boarding!
This was how we started off our trip last week. Us sitting at the gate. The flight was on time. We boarded at 9:10am. We had arrived in the early afternoon.
Arriving at the PIC! The weather was HOT! And so humid. Very tropical. We thought Japan was warm, ha! It was nothing compared to when we exited the airplane in Saipan, we all said, "wow is it hot here" We did not rent a car, we stayed in the hotel the whole time, never leaving. What did we buy or bring back from Saipan? Nothing. Well unless you count Noboru and I bringing back 2 sun burns! Ha ha ha. : ) We seriously just went there for some R and R. Some much needed rest and relaxation. When we got out of the PIC van they picked us up with, a lady greeted us at the car, saying, "welcome to the PIC, I hope you enjoy your time with us here" It sorta reminded me of the welcome they gave on that show at Fantasy Island. Smiles everyone, smiles! LOL. : ) We checked in and went to our room right away.
This was our room. All wood floors. Very tropical island looking. : )
Yup, island looking beds and pictures. Turn down service every night for our room as well.

Inside the tall dresser looking thing was where our TV was hiding and the futon and more tropical pictures.
There was 4 of us, so every day there were 4 new wash cloths, 4 new tooth brushes and towels for 4. Good amenities. : )
Also, because there were 4 of us, 4 iced cold waters were waiting for us in our room every day during our stay and they were waiting for us, when we arrived. Good thing because with the heat and all, we were definitely parched. : )
Fridge and coffee maker and safe and robes in the closet area. It was a really nice room, same room we have had the other 2 times we stayed at this hotel in Saipan.
We went with the Gold card plan. You can go with bronze which means no meals included. Silver which means you get breakfast only and then the gold which means you get 3 meals a day at any of the restaurants in the hotel. It was good for us because again we didn't have a rental car, we just wanted to stay at the hotel the whole time and swim and enjoy. So the gold plan was good for us. Since we didn't leave the hotel. : )
Every time you have a meal they cross it off with a black marker. It's on the back of each card.
And each card is registered to each person, like Noah's says his first and last name and it says CH4 meaning he's a child and he's 4 years old. B's said his full name and said CH7. And then the day we will be checking out.
Ours also said "Airline Crew" since that's what hubby is. And we got a really cheap rate to stay here because of his discount. So it was an extremely affordable vacation for us. And the flight itself was free for us, same as the flight to Hawaii, etc. So when we do travel we do feel like somewhat conservative travelers. : ) The kids on the teeter totter in the kids pool. And Noboru keeping a close eye on the kids.
Going down the slide! : )
I spy my husband sitting underneath that big green umbrella in the background.
Aha, you have been spotted! : )
Branden about to go down that very steep wave rider! It looked very very steep! @_@
After going down the steep part.... he was to ride this and if you do it wrong, you'll get thrown down stream. He didn't do it wrong not even once, he was really really good at this. It was his first time on this and I was a little surprised he was so good at this.
Noboru wanted to try and yup I am sorry to say he did it wrong. Sorry honey! His body was all facing the wrong way and stuff.
And yup he was thrown back down the stream. He also got a skinned knee on this, even now he still has a skinned knee. My poor hubby. : (
Branden did this about 7 times each day we were there, he loved this!
Noboru tried it again and he lasted a minute before falling back down the stream. Noboru says he does not like the wave rider and he'll stick to boogie boarding on the actual ocean, ha ha ha. Branden meanwhile says he loves boogie boarding whether it be on the wave rider or in the ocean! Noah and I meanwhile just watched. : )
Ahhh my favorite part of the whole trip. The lazy river! It was a man made river it goes all around the pool area it's a very long river ride. The inner tubes are everywhere, there's areas all over where you can get on or off. The day we arrived we swam from around 2pm until 6pm, went back into our room and changed for supper at 6:30pm. I spent about 2 hours my first day, the day we arrived in the lazy river. And spent about 3 hours our second day and about 30 minutes the day we left on this lazy river. There is something really relaxing about this lazy river. I laid in my tube and looked up at the sky, the clouds, the palms trees that had heaps of coconuts hanging in the them. Looked at all the tropical flowers and foliage slowly as I went lap after lap. I think this is where my back and shoulders got the most of my sun burn.
The waterfall area. Oh it felt so good to be drenched by this waterfall.
The boys and Noboru getting wet by the waterfall in this pic.
A very happy Branden coming out of the waterfall and in total kicking back and relax mode. : )
Does that big rock look sorta like Totoro or what? Every time we come to the PIC in Saipan, we always call that the Totoro rock. We aren't sure if they made the rock look like that intentionally or not but by gosh it looks like Totoro to us. : ) My family down below being lazy bums on the lazy river ride. And all that tropical foliage. It was such a paradise being there, I know it sounds corny saying that, but it truly is such a gorgeous place.
There's a few bridges over the lazy river and I stood on one of the bridges to take this picture. And then I ran to our chair and hid my camera under our beach towel and hopped into an innertube and joined them for a few more laps.
Our stuff was on the left hand side, underneath that big green umbrella/parasol type thing. I think you can see 3 pair of yellow Crocs, lol. I dropped off my camera there and then took the stairs to the river and joined them. : )
We also enjoyed the ocean. The PIC has a part of the beach blocked off for PIC guests. And we snorkeled and also went canoeing.
We would take turns, Branden and I snorkeled for 30 minutes together while Noboru canoed around with Noah. Then, I jumped into the canoe and rode around with Noah while hubby and B snorkeled. We were so active, we were exhausted every night. As soon as the kids heads hit the pillow they were out like a light! : )
Noboru and Noah before they went out on the canoe.
Happy faces!!! : ) They were pretty way out there, but I was zooming in a bit.
There they are, zoom off. And that's B snorkelling.
Hi Branden! : ) See that orange buoy way in the background? When it was my turn, I canoed way back to the buoy and Noah and I each touched the buoy with our hands before canoeing off someplace else. : ) And again, with all these activities, I should have reapplied my suncrseen on myself. Even though I did apply it to the boys in the morning and then in the afternoon.
We broke for lunch at noon. We ate in our swimsuits. I had a salad and a pepperoni and mushroom pizza and a Sprite. Hubby needed to eat Japanese, so he had the tonkatsu curry. The kids had chicken nuggets. We didn't need to carry cash or a few bucks in hubby's pockets, we just carried our gold cards for times like this. And ate whenever we felt hungry.
Every meal had dessert, they even had dessert at the breakfast buffet. Hmm, I think we all over did the desserts totally, but they were all around us, ha ha ha. I had chocolate icecream for my lunch dessert.
See we also had the waterproof camera, we have yet to develop. I will try and develop those pics sometime soon. Branden had strawberry ice cream. And I feel sorta silly for sharing this but it;s true, so I first, I sorta didn't want B to join the Kids club because I worried I would miss him too much. If you're a parent you'll know what I mean maybe. I even tried talking him out of the kids club. "Are you sure, I you really wanna do this" I asked, He said, " yeah it sounds amazing mom", not wnating to hold him back, I understood. I sometimes gotta let go a bit, I know but it is hard, especially if you're head over heels about your kids the way I am. So, I said... okay if you wanna go it's okay. We walked him in and he and Noah joined. Noah did not want to join but B did. Noboru thought it would help Noah not be so shy if he socialized a bit more. So, that's why we let him join. And he didn't last too long in the club, but more on that later.
First activity was to build sandcastles, play some games, hit the lazy river, go golfing etc etc. From 1-4:30pm. Noboru suggested we go and peek on the boys to see how they were. We also worried a bit how Noah was doing. Branden's really outgoing. But Noah's more reserved when it comes to people he doesn't know.
The super nice blond American life guard, and the awesome guy lifeguard in the red trunks who said he's from Guam originally, his name was Lion. I think it's his nick name but he was so very funny and so polite and a real genuine nice guy. See Noah in the kids club in this pic? Well, I told Noboru, "let's leave because if Noah sees us", he'll start crying and yada yada yada and I swear my words were still floating in the air when poof, he spotted us and walked right up to us crying. he was a real mess. Noboru went up to Lion and apologized and said Noah would not be attending the Kids Club. Lion was very polite and said it was okay, he was still pretty young. And instead of us feeling embaressed he made us feel really good. So we thanked him.
Now the 3 of us no longer hiding. Just watched for a few minutes. Here they had hid all the kids shoes. And the kids had to go and find their shoes it was a race. One shoe way over here and the other way over there. Out of all the kids, only Branden and 1 other boy were from Japan. The majority of the kids came from Korea and Russia. And other places. But only 2 were from Japan, B and some kid who looked to be about 6 years old. : ) But the kids club was in English. And lots of the kids are well traveled kids and spoke more then 1 language so English was fine for all the kids. When we dropped off the kids, we filled out a form, one of the questions was, "what are their native languages. I filled in English and Japanese. Lots of the parents filled in Russian and English or Korean and English. While we were all filling in our forms at the same time. And I like that our kids can be around kids from other countries, to be totally open minded and not even think twice about it, and be able to make friends with people from all over the world is what I want. So for us this kids club experience was pretty positive and pretty cool. B also made friends with a boy his own age, I think he might have been a 2nd or 3rd grader, his real name was longer but everyone just called him Alex and he was from Russia. All during our stay, whether we were at dinner, Alex would see B and say, "Hi Branden" And B would say, "Hi Alex" it was pretty cool and I was glad in the end, I let B join the kids club.
Yay B found his shoes while lots were still looking for theirs. He's a quick kiddo! : )
Alex was the one wearing the bucket hat and the long sleeve blue rash guard in this pic. : ) And Lion was checking to see if everyone indeed had their shoes. : )
The photgraphers arm on the right of this pic. : ) She was a very nice lady.
After the kids club we went down the lazy river. Went down the other slides. And then Branden and Noboru played table tennis.
Now Noah joined them. Look at B's face, his face is so so happy. We all were so happy being there.
The boys near this giant chess game. : )
This was the view to the left from our hotel balcony. We could see all the pool action from our balcony.
This was the direct straight ahead view from our hotel balcony, we could see 2 of the many pools they had and the Ship in the water that the kids played on is right in the middle but hiding under the palm trees.
The view at night.
The day/night we arrived after swimming and after supper, we went to the family pool bar/restaurant and watched them sing karaoke for an hour and then we had a night swim. We also had a night swim the 2nd night but we didn't listen to the karaoke the 2nd night, well we did but from the pool. The pool was open until 11pm every night. So we had a full day from 8am to 11pm swim, a full day on our 2nd day. We even played basket ball in the water, we tried to see how many baskets we could each make. Branden made none, lol. Noah made none too. I made 1 basket and Noboru made 2 baskets. Clearly we suck at playing basketball. Ha ha ha. But it sure was fun trying to get one though.
Branden during one of our family night swims!
Noboru and Noah and B in the background playing around. And I think you can see the ship in the background as well. It's in the water and the kids could play on it.
Sorta blurry but a pic of us as we were leaving and about to call it a night. It was 10:48pm, we had just asked Lion what time it was, he was the lifeguard on duty that night. We had 12 minutes to spare but we were exhausted, we swam our hearts out. We walked to the elevator, went up to our room, Noboru showered and washed both boys. I showered alone. The kids had their jammies on and went to sleep almost immediately. Noboru walked down to the store inside the PIC and got some sodas and tea, the can drinks were 89 cents so not too terribly expensive for drinks at a hotel. He filled our ice bucket with ice and while the kids slept we watched TV. I watched a new Cold Case episode that I had not seen at all in Japan yet. Detective Rush's hair is a lot longer now. : ) We flipped through the TV and Noboru had a Fanta orange with ice and I had a Sprite with ice. Oh yes by the 2nd night, we sure did find out about our sun burns. Noboru didn't use sunscreen at all. I offered him the bottles we had, suggested he use it. He said, I'm tan I think I'll be fine. I disagreed completely but his decision, so he had zero sunscreen on. It doesn't matter if your light skinned or darker skinned you can still be at risk of a sun burn and skin cancer I thought. And oh my gosh!!! Noboru was a deep dark red from his tummy all the way to his back, he was a deep dark red all over. It was painful. He was in pain. He had trouble sleeping the 2nd night, it hurt him to sleep on his back and it hurt him to sleep on his chest. : ( Kids were sunscreened to death in the morning and they got a half day mid sunscreening again. I meanwhile applied it to myself liberally in the morning and had hubby rub some on my back in the morning as well. I however stupidly did NOT use it in the afternoon. Just my back and shoulders got it, and my sun burn is a bright bright pink. : ( My face was liberally sunscreened thank goodness. My back hurt but I took an Advil and slept on my tummy instead. So even though mine hurt, mine is bearable. Noboru meanwhile has been walking around like Robbie the robot ever since the 2nd day! My poor husband he walks so stiff these days. His face is now at the face peeling stage. I hate to be an "I told you so" type of person. Usually I will just smile and bite my tongue. But seeing him walk around so stiff and robotic like, it's hard not to say it. : ( But I do feel really sorry for him. I will have to look online today and look for a remedy to take the sting out. Poor hubby. : ) However we had an amazing time in Saipan. We did so much, we swam, canoed, lazy rivered, slid down slides, talked and ate to our hearts content, even made new friends, created new memories. Took plenty of pictures and B even joined the Kids Club. And Noah gave it a shot. So, we have no complaints. We had a blast. I think hubby wishes he woulda used some suncreen and I wish I coulda reapplied. But other then that, we had the most amazing mini vacation!!! : )