Kevin to Alan, 8/14/97

From: Kevin
To: Alan
Date: 8/14/97
Subject: Your missive of 8/??/97

Dear Alvino (better than "Scarface"),

Sorry I misspelled your address - how troubling that a misspelling still is enough to thwart the incredible technology of the computer age. Of course, I am dying to know all the details of the gigs this summer. I thought of you all at the end if June, sitting here in the fairly sweltering tropics, wondering how (if) the gigs came off. So far, no music here. I have been really busy with work - tomorrow is due day for two major briefs to the Supreme Court. Everything got messed up with the supertyphoon Winnie (some pronounce it Weenie. As a linguist you know why). The winds got up to about 60-70 mph here, enough to devastate a lot of the beautiful flowering bushes, and to knock the flowers off the flame trees. In the aftermath it is a vegetable stew of plant matter blown everywhere, and poor drainage due to the fact that the island is mostly clay, sitting on a bed of granite. There is a rumor of another on the way. We lost power for 3 days, water for 3 days, and had lots of leaks in the windows and walls tokeep us occupied.

Nonetheless, I am enjoying Saipan a lot, and promise to write soon with more news. In the meantime, I have attached a copy of an email I sent to my folks to give you the flavor of how things are. Hope all is well with you, Liene and the high school kid. Judging from Liene's email back, I can determine she was VERY impressed with the Chia Pet - just not favorably so.

Take care, Kevin

Dear one and all,

Not too much new to report, but the novelty of e mail has not yet lost its glitter for me, and you were so prompt is responding, I could not resist the opportunity to send more. I promise to try to keep it up if you promise to ignore my (hopefully) infrequent misspellings. We finally got a second car this week. It is a 1988 Chevy Celebrity, very similar to my Pontiac 6000, which was a great car. I cannot see paying for a really good car here, since a) the salt air takes a terrible toll on them, reducing them to rust long before their demise from mechanical failure, and b) Saipan drivers are not too skillful, perhaps because the streets here have not been paved for more than 5 to 10 years.

Even on this little island, the Department of Public Safety responds to about 10 accidents per day. At least they are not enamored with vehicle speed - top speed limit is 45 mph, and then is only on one little stretch of road. Otherwise, 35 mph. It should be a pretty good car, needs a bit of work but was well maintained and somehow has escaped the ravages of rust.

With a 2.8 liter engine, it may be one of the most powerful cars on the road here, since most are little Japanese cars with barely enough power when in proper tune.

One of the attorneys from our office used to work in Palau, and was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court there. He has been appointed Special Prosecutor, and is awaiting confirmation from the Senate of Palau. His caseload consists of cases from the islands of Rota and Tinian. I have been designated to handle the Tinian caseload if he gets appointed. We flew in there on Friday for the monthly court calendar. Cases run the gamut from traffic through burglary and other serious felonies. You can see Tinian from Saipan. The flight takes about 20 minutes from takeoff to landing. The maximum altitude acheived was about 900 ft. I can say this with some authority, as on the trip over I sat in the copilot seat in the little 6 passenger plane that took us over. The color of the ocean from that height shows a spectrum of iridescent blues and blue-greens as the shore tapers down to the depths of the Pacific between the two islands. The current is said to be trecherous there as the currents flow between the islands, and then meet with another set of currents on the leeward side. The north end of Tinian is owned by the U. S. and is reserved for military training exercises. It remains unsettled, but is open for visits when training is not underway. As we approached the airport in the middle of the island I could see the huge army airfield laid out and built during the war, where the B 17s took off to bomb Japan and where the atomic bombs were loaded. I can imagine the noise and scene as the planes took off, two abreast from an island that still appears unsettled, exceedingly quiet and remote from any taint of civilization. The development that has been overtaking Saipan has not caught up with Tinian yet, but the time is near. A Chinese Corporation is building an ENORMOUS casino, which will attract a huge crowd of charter tourists from Asia. It may not be ready until December or so, but I am certain the complexion of the island will change dramatically when business gets underway.

I'm preparing for a trial that starts tomorrow that I believe will not go - I do not think the victim will show up, but I have to be ready just in case. I'm also finishing up the two appeals that are due the 15th, I hope the secretaries keep their noses to the grindstone so they are not late. People do not put too much weight on deadlines here.

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