Friday, March 13, 2009

The bike does still work

There is really nowhere for me to go on my bike. I use it to go up to the main road to take my trash out or go talk to the mayor, but other than that it usually just sits in my house, much to my dismay and disappointment in having nowhere to go. Friday, I did manage to get over to see the volunteer in Lotofaga, about a 30-40 minute bike ride away. Each semester her village hosts American exchange students who are taking a Pacific Islands course. The students’ 10 day village stay was over so the village was throwing a fiafia (eating & dancing party) to say good-bye. I had a fun time having nothing to do with the fiafia at all and only had to sit and watch. I did have to go up and dance the final dance with Liz in the taupo headpiece and belt thing (I don’t really know how to describe it better than that). I was smiling and laughing while they got Liz dressed in the taupo wear and then my smile quickly faded when I saw a second set of taupo garb appear and the women told me to turn around so they could tie this stuff on. It was ok though, most of the time was spent laughing because one of the women was hiking up Liz’s skirt so she could show her malu (traditional tattoo for women which wraps around the thigh), apparently dancing is the time to show it off. It was a fun night.

The next day we walked to To Sua Trench. It’s just a big hole in the ground, but you can go down the biggest ladder I’ve ever seen and swim in the trench. It looks pre-historic at the bottom of the trench; sunlight beaming from up above, ferns growing from the sides, and long roots streaming down to the water. We also explored the lava field and blow holes on the grounds. There is a little cove surrounded by hardened lava rock where ocean water still reaches, but it is mostly enclosed and protected. The most beautiful, built up coral and blue water is in this little cove. I really want to snorkel in it; the reef has to be incredibly pristine, but because the coral is so built up there are only a few channels one can fit through. The way the tide surges in and out is a problem too. It was really cool to see rainbows appear when the water shot up from the blow holes. The ocean drops off quickly and waves are huge on this lava field, leaving interesting structures carved from the lava rock. I had fun exploring the trench.
I did notice how I was able to explore all this potentially dangerous land with no warning signs or fences taking all the fun away. One could easily step in a hole and break a leg, be swept off one’s feet by a huge wave and be hurt, killed, or taken out to sea, or fall off the rock face just trying to get down to the lava field. I just loved it; I could get as close as I wanted. We all know in the States there would be signs and fences so one couldn’t get close to all the cool stuff and really explore all the things one wants to see because some idiot got hurt due to his or her own stupidity and since they felt so dim-witted decided to blame someone else to try not to look like the idiot they actually are. All the fencing and signage just takes all the fun away and is completely unnecessary. I guess it helps that no one here has the money to be able to sue or if sued would have no money to give, but still I liked being able to explore a natural wonder without being baby-sat.

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