SESOKO BRIDGE GETTING READY FOR A PAINT JOB — View from the West Side

SESOKO BRIDGE GETTING READY FOR A PAINT JOB -- View from the West Side

This bridge connects MOTOBU PENINSULA (part of the main island of OKINAWA) to the island of SESOKO. When I first arrived on Okinawa, the only way to get out to Sesoko Island was by boat, canoe, inner-tube, or back-stroke.

The hanging "boardwalk" for use by the paint crews is on its way to being finished on one side, and the other side will follow shortly.

I’m hoping for "Metallic Red", but am prepared to have those hopes dashed on the altar of "Battleship Grey".

*

When I first arrived on Okinawa in 1973, there was no bridge to Sesoko Island. Instead, small boats made the 600-yard crossing about ten times a day, hauling people and supplies.

In 1974, someone said, "Hey, we should put a bridge here", and after eleven years of budgeting, engineering, and building it, the SESOKO ISLAND BRIDGE opened to everyone in February 1985.

At that time, the bridge was the longest ever built in Okinawa, and every looky-loo and his brother had to make the trip up to MOTOBU PENINSULA and drive across the bridge.

Of course, Old Soba (and many of my relatives) were amongst those looky-loos.

These days, although no longer the longest bridge in Okinawa, it remains a respectable span still crossed by island explorers, and captured by the cameras of many a Flickroo.

SESOKO BRIDGE : www.flickr.com/search/?q=Sesoko%20Bridge%20Okinawa

♥ After many years, time for a PAINT JOB in 2014 : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/12617260533/

*

MONEY, MEN, GOLF, AND CONCRETE

For about 9 years after the bridge was built, SESOKO BEACH remained lined with trees, jungle growth, and farmers fields.

However, the 800-meter-long stretch of sand caught the eyes of big business, and in 1994, an 18-hole golf course opened along the low bluffs and [the former] gently-sloping farmland.

At least the golf course maintained the green color, and the landscaped lines of low trees between the fairways provided some picturesque compliment to the blue sea beyond it as you drove across the island on your way to the beach.

That came to an end in 2007, when a mainland Japanese company bulldozed the entire golf course, with the aim of covering the entire expanse with a huge hotel and "resort cottages" — all requiring as much concrete as possible.

However, they did spare a few of the ponds and "water traps" of the old golf course, incorporating them into the design of the new premises.

The bulldozers began work in June of 2007, and — after 14 months of pouring massive amounts of concrete reinforced with massive amounts of steel — went completely bankrupt, and fled the island back to their rat holes in mainland Japan.

So, since August of 2008, the half-finished, massive hotel, the un-occupied cottages, and countless fingers of rusting iron re-bar now line the whitest and purest stretch of beach Okinawa has to offer.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW ?

Well…..

HOTEL HELL

The highly-questionable hotel project and subsequent mayhem was run by dubious mainland Japanese, and financed by dubious mainland banks. Upon bankruptcy, everything was taken over by the same mainland banks, who immediately put up fences, chains, ropes, and KEEP OUT signs. I suppose they didn’t want Okinawans to trespass on the once-open-to-all property (where "they might hurt themselves").

The huge ZENECON CORPORATION ("Zenecon" is Japanese shorthand for both "General Construction" and "General Contracting") was called in to bail out the situation. However, they didn’t (and still don’t) want to get involved with the fiasco, but have officially taken on the role of finding another company to (1) spend billions of Yen to raze the unfinished hotel, or (2) spend billions of Yen to finish the hotel, so it can go bankrupt (as usual) and be turned over to Flickr photographers for more great "Ghost Hotel" images.

Although you can no longer walk along the bluffs over the beach and shoot photos from various vantage points through the now-non-existent trees, you can still go down to the beach.

Just park your car along the paved access road next to the abandoned ghost hotel, and make a bee-line for the water.

Other former beach access points that were allowed when the golf course was there are now closed off. But, don’t think about that.

Just enjoy beach combing and taking pics along the whitest stretch of sand in Okinawa, bounded by the blue coral reefs of the East China Sea.

*

*

*

RANDOM SOBA : www.flickriver.com/photos/24443965@N08/random/