Digging into anything and everything that makes the CNMI tick beyond politics...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The glory that was La Fiesta

I have passed the now-abandoned La Fiesta Mall several times since I arrived on Saipan in February and had always been curious about the sprawling buildings. I finally had the chance to visit the place when Mr. Sandman (aherm-now I have your attention) took me for a quick look at the place some weeks back. Twilight was falling and we just drove around the parking lot as he regaled me with stories of “The glory that was La Fiesta” more than four years ago, before the bustling mall closed its doors.

I didn’t even try to take pictures because I know my reliable camera couldn’t take any shots. Although the daring side of me was very much tempted to explore the empty halls, I didn’t give in. I didn’t exactly relish the thought of being caught by police authorities and be mistaken as a prowling robber. Nah, I wouldn’t want to hit the headlines!

The chance to really explore the ruins (or some parts of it) of La Fiesta Mall in San Roque came last Saturday when I and four ranch-mates (???) Mark, Raymond, Junhan and Moneth decided to stop by on our way to Marpi. In broad daylight, the buildings didn’t look as sinister and eery as it did when I first went there. I picked my way among the ruins, through the debris-filled hallways, peeking through the rooms and shouting “hello” into the vast emptiness. My voice ricocheted through the walls.

Now, no traces of the once-largest shopping and entertainment center on Saipan remained except for these forsaken buildings with its peeling paint, shards of broken glass from the shattered windows and dangling plywood from the cracked ceilings. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for these mute witnesses to the place

Mark playing superman up there

which once throbbed with life and laughter. The three sections-- Fiesta I, II, and III which used

to house shops, fast food restaurants, designer boutiques, movie theaters and a concert hall where performers belt out live musical renditions every night have become a thing of the glorious past.

La fiesta Mall taken from a15th floor balcony of Palms Resort Saipan.

(Who says I'm afraid of heights???)

I left the ruins with a heavy heart, sorry for the days-gone-by when La Fiesta stood in all its glory. I was not yet here to witness the non-stop activities but from the accounts of people who had contributed to the heydays of the mall, I released a huge sigh and realized I went sentimental over a past which I was not even a part of.

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