Samoa in the Pacific

Airtravel went fine with the kids, they slept well and enjoyed watching movies and playing with toys. We arrived in the afternoon and were picked up by Lucy's brother and sister from the airport. A short ride and we arrived at her parents house with all our luggage. We installed ourselves in one of the rooms and were offered dinner in the evening.


Following day we borrowed a vehicle and went into Apia to get some cash from the bank and have a look around. Much was still the same as for ten years ago but there were also changes. One improvement was the playground in central Apia. Nina had fun playing there for a while. The seawalls along the shore were still the same. It felt good to hide in an airconditioned vehicle when the sun became too strong in the afternoon.


Next morning I took Nina with me on the bike and went to see the turtles in a pond some half an hour away. As we sat there watching, Nina's grandpa stopped by and offered us bread to feed the turtles. There were many very big turtles to look at and it was comfortable to sit in the shade with a breeze from the ocean watching Nina feed the turtles.


Another day we went driving along the coast in opposite direction. There is now a connection over the mountain to make a loop and come back again. Nice view from the top. When coming coming down again we had to ford a river to get back on the old road again. It was a nice afternoon trip.


Back home in the house Nina is having fun with the cats and she is playing with her cousins from morning til evening. Pim is happy to see all the new faces of his samoan relatives, young and old. Sometimes Lucy's sister Alofa comes to visit. She is nine months pregnant and expected to deliver any day now. Lucy's brother Sani lives in the neighbouring house with his wife Lisi and two kids. Every sunday he wash his pimped up 4wd vehicle in front of the house.


Nina play with cousins Peter, Jasmine, and Lautusi on a sunday afternoon. Since it is hot and dusty in Samoa, we take a shower/bath every evening. Pim likes to play with the water in his little pool. We have put up mosquito nets over our beds to sleep comfortably every night.


After a week we decided to go across to Savaii, the other big island in Samoa. We borrowed Lucy's brother Maselusi's vehicle and took the morning ferry across. The sea was calm lucky enough. We first went to see a waterfall in a really nice setting.


There were no water in the fall but we had a refreshing swim in the lake of crystal clear water. Then we continued to have a look at the blowholes. There are holes in the ground by the shore. When the big waves hit land a cascade of water go up through the hole, high up in the air with a roaring sound. Quite cool to look at. 


We then went north and after an hours drive stopped to see the lava fields. A volcano erupted in 1905 and the flow of lava is still very visible from the road side. Late afternoon we arrived at 'Tanu beach fales' and moved in to a bungalow (called 'fale' in samoan). We were offered a nice dinner in the evening and sat chatting with the other guests for a while.


Following day we went to swim with turtles. There is a lake full of big turtles and it was an interesting experience to swim with them. Pim also had a good look at the them. The turtles were friendly and swam around us all the time.


Then we enjoyed relaxation in the fale. Listening to the waves hit the beach and reading a book. Nina was happy playing with some other kids. Lucy and Nina went for a swim during afternoon but I waited until sunset. The fale was surrounded by coconut trees. They grow all along the coastline.


After two nights we decided to try the neighbouring resort instead. So we moved and installed ourselves over there. Nina found a girl there to play with, while the rest of us relaxed on the veranda. We went swimming and collected some pieces of coral.


It was a nice evening with a full moon in the sky. Next morning it was low tide, so I took Nina with me out to look at the small fishes swimming around the corals. We used the goggles and saw blue, yellow, black, and zebra colored fishes swimming around. There were also some bigger multicolored fishes that bite on my legs! I had practiced with Nina several times in Canada to use goggles under the water in preparation for this day and it turned out well. Then we checked out and took the inland route on narrow roads back to the ferry landing in Salealonga.


We waited in line for a while and then boarded the ferry. It was a windy day and waves were high. I prepared myself for the worse. I hate going by boat. Half hour into the crossing Nina was so sick that she threw up. We cleaned up the mess and then it was my turn to throw up. Nina fell asleep and I spent the rest of the journey outside, looking at the horizon. Why don't I ever learn not to go by boat? I recovered later in the day and took the kids for a swim in the village pool.  


An important tradition in Samoa is to every sunday morning make an 'umu'. An earth oven. They heat up the stones, put in the food and cover with leaves. After a couple of hours the food is cooked and ready to eat. Anything can be cooked that way, chicken, pork, fish, octopus, taro, breadfruit, and coconut sause. It tastes really good. This particular sunday we had asked Sani to make octopus for the whole family. It became a nice sunday lunch to eat together with some boiled vegetables. 


I spent one day repairing the sawing machine that me and my family gave to Lucy's mother ten years ago when we got married. It broke down recently. I took it apart only to discover it was full of dust and dirt. Cleaned it all and put it back together. Now it is working well again. Meanwhile Nina enjoyed using the small bicycle going around the big fale. One day we went into Apia and saw a samoan Mobile home! 'Kavale fale'. A bit different to the one we used in Canada. 


This week was the 'Tehuila festival' with cultural exhibitions and shows. We saw some teams competing on getting the husk off the coconut. Nina liked the childrens corner with a jumping castle and other fun. We bought a small samoan flag and looked at the carving in wood. The highly pregnant Alofa was also with us that day.


Thursday morning I took Nina with me on the bicycle and went all the way into Apia, some 27 km away. We arrived exactly in time to see the longboat race start. They took off and disapeared in the horrizon. Ten minutes later they reappeared coming in full speed towards us again. I snapped some pictures of the fastest vessels as they crossed the finishing line in Apia harbour.


Following day Lucy went to meet some of her old schoolfriends. They met at a hotel were the kids could have a swim in the pool. I was nice for all of them to catch up again after so many years. Margaret invited us for a barbeque at her place an evening following week. Nina had really fun playing with all the other kids.  


Next was the big family day. Barbeque on the beach at Lalumano. They had prepared well with marinated chicken and mutton. Maselusi's wife Tala arranged with taro, vegetables and pieces of raw fish as a snack. The family seldom go to the beach together, so this was a special day for all of us.


I had decided to go all the way by bicycle. I set off at 6.15 in the morning and spent one hour going up hill until I reached the peak on the cross island road. Then it was downhill and straight into the rain. I got completely soaked but continued riding. Later the sun dried me up a bit and I went along the coast line all the way to Lalomano. It was a nice ride and I passed through many villages on the way. I arrived at 11.15 when the meter showed 78 km distance. The others arrived by vehicles at exactly the same time. Good timing!


We went swimming. The kids played in the sand. Some of the others took care of the food cooking. We ate all the nice food. We drank a lot of beer. The afternoon became evening in no time. Before sunset the others left again to go back home, but I had decided to stay overnight and ride by bike back again following day. It became all quiet and peaceful. I took a nap and then Maselusi and Tala came back with dinner for me. We sat all evening talking and listening to music from the nightclub next door. Maselusi gave me one beer after the other. It was well beyond midnight when they left and I went to sleep.  


At 6.15 I started riding towards Apia with a hangover. A very long uphill took me to the Le Mafa Pass. When I finally reached the peak my legs had had enough. A long downhill took me back to the coast and I continued to Apia, arrived at 11.15. Had a big milkshake and took a long rest in the park. Later in the afternoon I went uphill to the hospitals maternity ward and got to meet a newborn baby. Alofa gave birth to a little boy only minutes before I came there. I also met Alofa and some of the family members with her there. Then I went back home to Leulomoega again, arrived just before sunset.

Following day we took the bus into town. Lucy's brother Maselusi own three buses on routes to Apia. He has invested in modern buses, as opposed to the old style wooden buses that are still in majority on these islands.


First we went to the museum to have a look. They had a long story about the german colonial days at the turn of the century. There were some wooden tools on exhibition as well. Then we went home to Lucy's friend Maselina. She offered us a really nice lunch of red-snapper fish and lobster. Wow! We enjoyed that food plenty.


Nina had fun playing with Maselina's kids. I also know Maselina from before, we met in Dunedin where all of us studied at the same time. The afternoon went fast and we soon had to depart again. It was nice to catch up with Maselina again and to see their new big house in Apia.


Next day we went into Apia again. First we went to the fish market, where Maselina sell fish from thier family business. Then we went to see Lucy's former work collegues, whom I also met several times during my previous visit. We had lunch with them at a restaurant in town. They went back to work and we continued to Robert Louis Stevenson museum premises. He used to live here the last years of his life.


We went walking on the track towards his tomb, had a look at the house and went back to the vehicle again. Too many moscuitoes in the forest. Then we went home to Alofa to see her and her new born baby boy. Was Pim really that small half a year ago? Alofa had recovered again and enjoyed taking care of the boy back home.


Then it was party time! The girls were dressed up. We went to Margaret's place for barbeque dinner. She lives close to Alofa on the other side of Apia in a nice house close to a banana plantation. We were six adults and many children. It bacame a really good evening with lots of interesting conversation and nice food. The kids were busy playing all evening.


Next day I went on a bike ride across the island to Saanapu and Virgin Cove resort. Lucy, me, my parents and friends stayed here after the weeding ten years ago. It took me two hours to get there and the I spent the afternoon swimming and working on the website. When I came back home after sunset Sani and his friends were busy to barbeque a small pig over open fire.


Later in the evening the dinner was served. It tasted really good. Maselusi with family also came over so it was a big gathering. This was our last evening in Samoa. Tomorrow we leave for Sydney. Pim has grown a lot during our time in Samoa. He can almost crawl now and he has got two teeths in his mouth.


The whole family came with us to the airport. We checked in all our luggage and some extra cartons for the relatives in Sydney and said farewell to everyone. 3,5 weeks were over and we were ready for more adventures elsewhere. Bye bye Samoa!