Mom survived her first night in a beach fale with a minimum amount of damage and worries. The best part was that her back wasn't acting up which can always be a problem with sleeping on a not so soft mattress for the first time. She said the strange sounds around her kept her up all night, but I must be use to it because I slept like a rock. We woke up at about 7:30am and I decided to go for a little swim in the ocean before we left and before breakfast. The water was quite warm and refreshing and it's always nice to see the world that exists under the sea (it has definitely been a while since I've gone snorkeling).
I took a shower and then we had a huge breakfast which is always a nice treat! We had an interesting conversation with an American Samoan lady who grew up in Utah and a Canadian woman who is traveling around writing stories about the places she has visited. Once we were done with the chit-chat, mom and I walked along the beach and I showed her where I took the shot of my first New Years in Samoa and the big island that is in almost every Lalomanu picture I take (it's called Namue Island). With our time up at Taufua, we went to Josh's village to see if he was there but he wasn't so we began our drive along the south side of the island to our next major beach fale.
Driving along the south side of Upolu feels entirely different from the north side mainly because most of the trip is inland instead of along the coast. The highlight of this road trip was showing mom the village Dianne and I were dropped off in during training (with the inventive blog entry called 'The Drop Off') and we also drove through Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's family village. We stopped at Togitogia Falls to have a look and a bit of a rest before continuing the journey to Virgin Cove. I expected the Togitogia waterfalls to be huge but it was just an okay falls. Maybe if we had played in the pool area it would have been more impressive. Anyway, we left from the falls and about 30 mins later we were at the entrance to Virgin Cove (or at least the road that led to Virgin Cove). We took a left and headed down a paved road but we soon ran into a roadblock. Apparently you have to pay $5WST to travel through the village that Virgin Cove is located in – since this was my first trip here, I didn't know about this "tax". Almost as son as we got past the roadblock, the paved road turned into a sandy and gravely road (thankfully our Tucson has 4WD). After a few "interesting" turns we finally arrived at Virgin Cove.
Now I had heard a lot of good things about Virgin Cove, and while the shots from the beaches are gorgeous the beach itself is pretty small and uninteresting – overall I wasn't very impressed (and neither was mom). The best part about Virgin Cove is the fact that it is a very secluded and quiet beach resort. Not quite party central like Lalomanu – so each place has their trade off. Along the beach at Virgin Cove you can see the entire southern coast of Upolu, so it is very picturesque.
I think mom is getting the hang of being at a beach fale – it's just a time to relax and just let the stress of life go. The first thing I did was take a nap and then read – I've adjusted to the mysterious slowness of time that occurs when you're away from the city life. Mom is starting to understand this – so when she goes back home everything is going to seem super fast paced.
As for the weather, it has been a cool but overcast day. Hopefully, when we do our tour of the Savaii beach fales, the sun will decide to show itself. Tonight is our last night in a beach fale on Upolu, tomorrow we head back to Apia. See you there!
Addendum: At every fale we are going to visit on this trip, the price of the fales includes breakfast and dinner. So we had dinner last night at Virgin Cove and a few interesting things happened. First of all there were two cats constantly going around to each of the tables begging for food. Now this in itself might not have been a problem except for the fact the cats would literally jump up onto the table to try and get your food – it was quite annoying, especially for folks who didn't like cats. The secluded nature of Virgin Cove also means that the visitors keep to themselves a lot – this is the largest beach fale resort I have seen in Samoa. So it lacked that kind of closeness and comraderie that we experienced at Taufua – if you don't want to have to talk to people, this is the place to go. And while dinner was suppose to be served at 7, we didn't get our food until about 7:45pm – in between that time that tried to get us to by extra things that weren't included in the price of the meal (such as drinks and entrees – the entrée was $9WST, that's the same price as a ticket on the boat to Savaii. And you want to know what the entrée was? Spring rolls – which are kinda like small egg rolls). So coming from Taufua, we were hoping for a huge dinner but instead we got a very gourmet (i.e. small) dinner which consisted of rice, some veggies and a very small piece of steak. The steak and veggies were alright, but the rice was not moist and tasted almost stale. All in all, the dinner was quite a let down – which doesn't give me a lot of hope for the breakfast. Will it improve? Stay tuned!