A Travellerspoint blog

Homeward bound ... already!

large_5550_13516708807906.jpgRobert Louis Stevenson Museum.
I was going to take the public bus into Apia [Apia-travel-guide-1203288] today for a look-see before my night flight. I realised at breakfast that the owner was going to see the Prime Minister today to try get some funding for tsunami repairs required by the village.

They offered me a ride for WST20 and dropped me off at the Robert Louis Stevenson museum. It was interesting to learn that he had made such an impact on Samoans by spending only four years of his life here.

The heavens opened and it poured. After much waiting, the skies cleared and I tried walking to town (based on the advice given by a couple of Kiwi women who were also in the van with me). When the rain came back, I managed to find a taxi. Just as well as it was far too far to walk. I don’t know what those women were thinking - 10 minutes by foot, my foot@#!

After some lunch at a nice café, I changed my excess Samoan Talas back to Kiwi dollars because I had too many Talas leftover.large_5550_13516708797568.jpgSitting out a heavy downpour while at Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.I had an ATM "accident" due to a lapse in my arithmetical abilities upon my late night arrival. As a result I had withdrawn far too much money! Just as well though, as it would have been difficult to find any source of money at all on the south coast of Upolu [Upolu-travel-guide-1324952].

I found a tattooist (and his helpers) at work behind the tourist information centre. They were inking the victim when I first arrived. I had to wait quite a while before they started pricking him again for the next part of the design. There was no screaming or groaning at all. Brave man!

It started pouring again. I found an internet café to kill some time before taking the public bus to the airport. I had hoped to be on one of the colourful older converted lorries but ended up being on a relatively modern one.

As my flight was quite full (and being on standby), I had to wait a while before being given a boarding pass. I was issued one some 90 minutes before departure which was a very pleasant surprise.

That marks the end of a quick long weekend away from the wet and cold Auckland spring!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Samoa Comments (0)

To Sua Ocean Trench


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large_5550_13516700119748.jpgThe eating hall of Faofao Beach Fales.
Samoa is very Christian but perhaps not as much as Tonga. I was surprised to learn that dive shops are open as in Tonga, all activities come to a halt. As I had been to church before (in the islands), I didn’t go here. The singing is supposed to be very good.

After breakfast, I relaxed while Mark planned the remainder of his stay. I went down to a spare fale and did a 1 hour yoga session. I managed to get up into my wheel pose completely unassisted for the first time ever! Must be the relaxed state!

Our hosts put on a free Sunday lunch for us, consisting of taro, palusami (mashed taro leaves in coconut milk) and marinated raw fish (in coconut milk). It was filling and delicious.

Mark, Hans (Swiss) and I got a ride with our hosts to To Sua Ocean Trench.large_5550_13516700237493.jpgSpare open-side Faofao fale; great for chilling with beer and nuts. Guests stay in the closed-sided ones.It would have been an extremely long walk as our hosts had no bikes for rent (contrary to their listing at hostelbookers.com).

Over lunch, one of the guests had said that he would put money on it that I couldn’t make it down the ladder at To Sua. While I’m not the competitive type, it didn’t scare me at all.

We had a walkaround before a long swim. I feet couldn’t touch the floor and we could feel the push and pull of the sea even though there was no apparent link to the outside (it is only visible and swimmable at low tide).

Afterwards, we hitched a ride home from an old English couple from Oxford. Strangely, they were quite critical about their hometown, especially regarding graffiti and vandalism. I said, “I might just go to Cambridge instead!”.

We had a few beers by the beach before dinner and bed. The day went very quickly doing nothing.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Samoa Comments (0)

Dive and chuck


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large_5550_13516695422815.jpgTaro for sale beside the road to the south.
We woke around 0700 and had breakfast of toast and fruit in the poolside garden. The Outrigger is an old but very well-kept place. It is somewhere we would come back to for another stay if we were to pass through Apia [Apia-travel-guide-1203288] again.

At 0815 we were collected by Aquasmoa for our dives back near (beyond) the airport. We had made a mistake in our planning thinking that we would dive near Apia, so booked a hotel in town. As it turned out the other two dive operators on the island have gone, leaving only one by the airport. So we had a long ride back to where we came from only 8 hours ago.

The dives were disappointing for me, as usual, as I’ve been lucky enough to dive some great spots in Malaysia and Indonesia.large_5550_13516695435153.jpgThis stringy plant material is used to squeeze grated coconut. I normally use muslin cloth.There was some coral (not the most colourful or interesting), next to no big stuff and not much small stuff either. As we were outside the reef, it was extremely choppy and I vomited after both dives.

Aquasamoa dropped us off near the southern edge of town where they had arranged a van to take us to the south. Strangely the driver took us along the northern coast (more interesting views) rather than straight down and along the southern coast. The journey took over an hour and we arrived at Faofao Beach Fales around 1700.

We had booked online and that only gave us the option of the room (and not the fale). As it was quiet, they gave us two separate rooms instead of just one, which was what we had booked. I would have liked to sleep in the breeze in a fale (but I learnt that it can be too breezey and sometimes it leaks).

Dinner (and breakfast) was included at Faofao. The meals were good and being Saturday night, they put on a very good show with the traditional Samoan slap and fire dances. In New Zealand, many Polynesians are obese but it didn’t appear to be the case here. The men who performed had amazing trim and toned bodies. But judging from the very tall and stocky schoolkids I noticed later in Apia, these dancers could be very young … early teens?

Despite the show, everything finished early and we were in bed by around 2130 … very much needed after a short and light sleep last night.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Samoa Comments (0)

Off for the long weekend


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With an evening departure I managed to fit in a whole day’s work and a shower at home before leaving for the airport, picking up Mark on the way. He lives only a few metres off the road to the airport. We are bound for Apia, Samoa to escape the miserable Auckland weather.

Today I’m travelling on a subload (standby) industry ticket. The flight was somewhat full and I wasn’t able to check-in immediately and had to wait till closing at 45 mins prior to departure. Hence I lost out on my last opportunity to enjoy the Air New Zealand lounge as I will no longer be a Star Alliance Gold member shortly; I had flown a lot with work in previous years but not anymore.

We arrived into Apia around 1230 in the morning and took an hour-long shuttle ride in to the Outrigger Hotel in town.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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