IN broad daylight, the ruins of what was once a flourishing mall teeming with life and activity looks like what it exactly is—sprawling dilapidated buildings, but cloaked under heavy darkness, the view changes. The crumbling buildings take on a sinister form and everything about the place feels creepy.
It was getting dark and I and a buddy were at the parking lot of the former glorious La Fiesta Mall in Marpi. Sitting under the old, ominous-looking tower with the huge clock up above, I could not stop the goose bumps as the silence engulfed the whole place.
I’d been at the La Fiesta mall several times in the past with companions, picking our way among the ruins, through the debris-filled hallways, peeking through the rooms and shouting “hello” into the vast emptiness. As always, our voices ricocheted through the walls.
I had seen the place come to life with gun shots echoing through the hallways when the Department of Public Safety used the place as a training area for shooting.
I’ve heard hundreds of stories about the glory days of La Fiesta Mall before the bustling mall finally closed its doors.
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 buildings that had been mute witnesses to events of the past.
Somehow, in the deepening darkness and deafening silence, it was hard to imagine that just a few years back the place bustled and throbbed with life.
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.
We didn’t dare wander thought the empty halls in the darkness albeit the temptation to do so was strong. I didn’t exactly relish the thought of being caught by authorities and mistaken as burglars.
We left the ruins with a heavy heart, feeling sorry for the days-gone-by when La Fiesta stood in all its glory, a past that I was not even a part of.