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Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Mom Adventure: Upolu Bound (Written 5/12/07)

Before starting my post, I just want to say it has been a rough year for the leaders of the Pacific Islands. Last year, there was the coup in Fiji and then the king of Tonga died. At some point the Maori Queen passed away and last night the Head of State for Samoa, Malietoa, passed away. The odd thing about Malietoa passing away is that it was announced  at about 8pm last night (Friday) and at that exact same time a huge rain cloud just dumped water onto Savaii – as if the heavens were crying. It was quite freaky!

Anyway, back to the story at hand. Our last night of staying at the beach fale was very wet because of the storm that rolled in during the night. Sleeping in a beach fale during a bad rain storm is not very fun – and somewhat scary – because you don't have normal windows to protect you. Samoan fales use thatches to cover the "window slots" when the rain gets pretty bad, so I had to wake up real quick and put down all the thatches so that rain wouldn't be flying in on us while we were sleeping. The storm started close to 8pm and when I woke up again at about 3:30am to go to the rest room, the sky was clear as a bell – except for the wet ground you could hardly tell a rain storm came through there. Other then the storm, it was a very comfortable nights rest at Satuiatua.

Mom and I woke up in the morning and just kind of lounged around for a bit (mom collected more sea shells) because we woke up at about 7am and were scheduled to leave on the 12pm boat. So we took our time – as you're suppose to do on a vacation – and had breakfast (which consisted of toast, eggs, cereal and papya) before heading off to the wharf. The drive to the wharf wasn't so bad and along the way we stopped in Julya's village (Satupaitea) so mom could check out where she lived and taught. On our way to the wharf the strangest thing happened – I ran into a police barricade. Now I have seen plenty of police barricades on Upolu, but this was the first time I had seen one on Savaii. The cops basically asked to see my license – as if it were a speed trap or something – but fortunately I had everything in order and they let us through without a problem. It was quite surprising to see the cops blocking the road – usually if they're on the road they're directing traffic. Once we got past the barricade, everything was clear sailing to the wharf. We got there at about 10:45am and like I said, the boat was scheduled to leave at 12pm so I thought I had a lot of time to go to the Savaii Peace Corps office and check my email real quick. Well apparently the shipping company decided that they wanted to be early today and the boat arrived at 11am and they started loading people/cars onto the boat at about 11:10am – about 30 minutes earlier then they normally do. So I had to rush and buy mom's ticket for the boat ride over, get back into the car and then load the car onto the boat. The 12pm boat was loaded and ready to go by 11:30am and that's when the boat pulled away from the wharf – so had we been here 'on time' for the boat we probably would have missed it! This was the absolute first time I've heard of the boat leaving AHEAD of schedule but I guess because of the long holiday weekend a lot of people were coming over to Savaii. There was almost no one on the boat trip from Savaii to Upolu – there were only about 4 cars on the boat and maybe about 20 passengers, so a relatively light boat. The ride to Upolu was very choppy with boat bouncing up and down until we were about 30 minutes out from the main wharf – then the sea started to calm. Made me very happy that I didn't have a big breakfast otherwise it might have been coming out! When we arrived at the wharf on Upolu there were a ton of people waiting to get on the boat back to Savaii – so going to Savaii the boat is packed but coming from Savaii the boat is light.

So we unloaded from the boat and hightailed it back to the big city of Apia – which only took us about 45 minutes to do. One of the first things that mom commented on once we got back into the general Apia vicinity is how 'dirty' Apia looked in comparison to a lot of Savaii. It was quite funny how before Savaii, Apia looked pretty good but after Savaii it didn't look so hot. Fortunately for us, the general flow of the traffic was going away from the city so we didn't have to much trouble getting back into the city proper. We then went back to my place so mom could collect her stuff and consolidate them back into one bag (even though the trip home is 2 days away, gotta make sure everything is in order now) and headed to the last hotel mom will be staying at here – Hotel Millenia (Note: This is the same hotel where we had our (Group 75) swearing in ceremony). Once we were safely at the hotel I decided to take advantage of the hotel accommodation and have a nice hot shower – the last time I took a good hot shower was when I was in New Zealand so you know I was loving that! Mom asked if we had anything else planned for the day and I told her no because I had a feeling we would both be tired after tracking around Savaii for 4 days – and boy was I right. Even though we did nothing but rest and relax, something about that boat trip back from Savaii just takes a lot out of you. So after a bit of rest, we went out to eat at Seafood Gourmet (Mom's new favorite restaurant in Apia) and then headed back home.

So tomorrow (Sunday) is Mother's Day…when mom originally booked the ticket to get here we didn't know she would be here during Mother's Day, but it provides a good ending for the vacation. And since this is Samoa – not only is Sunday a holiday, but Monday is a holiday as well because you gotta have a day off from work in order to truly enjoy a holiday. So I'll let you know how we celebrated Mom's Day on the next edition of 'The Mom Adventure"!

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