|How far from home are we?|
|A waterfall near a "cult" town.|
Our first full-day was spent driving across the island and then checking into beach hut at Faofao Fales for the next 2 evenings. Besides providing an awesome view, it included dinner and breakfast. We were also subjected to driving rain, a leaky thatched roof, and gusts of wind that blew open the thatched panels. Beth tried in vain to weave the panels closed as I slept most of the evening only waking up when drops of rain hit my face or when Beth stepped on my leg. The next night wasn't as bad as it was just raining without the gusting wind.
|Ship marked the end of the boat race.|
At the fales, we met an older couple from Auckland who have been coming to Samoa for the last 17 years. They had a wealth of knowledge of the area and culture and a German girl, who is on a working holiday in Auckland, was grilling them for information. She was busing and hitching around Upolu and getting caught in the sudden downpours that appeared out of nowhere.
Beth found on the tourism site that was going to be an Independence Day swim (either 1.5k or 3k) across the harbor. So we registered our interest in the swim. It would be our first open water swim in awhile and our first in the country. We didn't know what to expect so we went with the shorter distance. The swim was beautiful as you could see the bottom, including blue star fishes, and looking around we were treated to mountains peeking out of the mist. This wasn't a race, but rather a group swim with designated stopping spots for roll call. There were 34 individuals swimming and another half dozen in water crafts offering support for those who needed it. After the swim we ate with the group and talked with the organizers who started this event last year as well as a swim series. We have some friends going over in August to do one of the races in the swim series.
|At least it wasn't a horse. Just everything else.|
We did a little walk to see the Robert Louis Stevenson grave at Mount Vaea. We walked through a botanical garden past a little waterfall and a pool filled with locals. Instead of bothering them, we scooted past and trudged up a very muddy and at times covered trail. In case you are wondering? We took the long path on the way up and the short one on the way down. On the descent there was even a rope to give you assistance where it was very necessary. The scenery was amazing on the walk and made me want to talk other walks on the island. The only issue is that you need a guide as it is crazy thick and any trails are probably reclaimed by nature after a short amount of time.
The other Independence Day activities we took in were 30ish man boat races across the harbor and locals signing in front of some street food. I partook in the street food with a good helping of hot bbq. It was taro, chicken, and a hot dog. There were a lot of little signs dotting the main highway with these temptations. I'm glad we found one open on our trip as the country is one of the various churches on Sundays and this particular Monday just happened to be a Monday-nized holiday.
|Brownie with ice cream and chocolate pie with fresh cream.|