A few final scenes from the Northern Mariana Islands

View from the top of Mt. Tagpocha, Saipan, looking toward one of the beaches where U.S. troops came ashore.

View from the top of Mt. Tagpocha, Saipan, looking toward one of the beaches where U.S. troops came ashore.

View up into 'Paradise Valley,' facetiously named, Saipan.

View up into 'Paradise Valley,' Saipan - facetiously named by soldiers, apparently.

View from the top of "suicide cliffs" at the north end of Saipan island, where Japanese civilians, including women and children, jumped to their deaths to avoid capture.

View from the top of "suicide cliffs" at the north end of Saipan island, where Japanese civilians, including women and children, jumped to their deaths to avoid capture.

Japanese memorials at the top of the 'suicide cliffs.'

Japanese memorials at the top of the 'suicide cliffs.'

Looking up at Mt. Tagpochau from the side.  Many scenes from the Northern Mariana Islands made me think of Terrence Malick's film "The Thin Red Line."

Looking up at Mt. Tagpochau from the side. Many scenes from the Northern Mariana Islands made me think of Terrence Malick's film "The Thin Red Line."

Scene from town on Saipan. The mix of native Chamorran, Spanish, Japanese, and American cultures on an island of 50,000 people was unique.

Scene from town on Saipan. The mix of native Chamorran, Spanish, Japanese, and American cultures on an island of 50,000 people was unique.

Scene from the 'invasion beach.'

Scene from the 'invasion beach,' Saipan. Some of the best swimming I've enjoyed.

Guam

Guam, the most 'American' place I visited, indicating the influence of the large and growing Andersen Air Force Base on the island, but in all the islands most of the tourists are Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Russian.

Saipan is the island that leaves me with an itch to return.  I’m working on a new Paris Review post which I think will focus on Saipan.

-S.S.

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