Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wonderful Easter Weekend

I finally got more than one day for a weekend and it was spectacular. I had Friday through Monday off…wonderful! Since I work 6 days a week now, I don’t get much of a weekend. I do get a ½ day every week to take whenever I want to, so I took mine Thursday afternoon and started my Easter weekend early by meeting a couple of volunteers at the movies. Afterward I ran some errands, which surprisingly were productive and I got a lot done (this doesn’t happen very often because I always get distracted or can’t find what I need).

I met the people I went to the movies with at the Peace Corps office and they convinced me to go to Faofao beach fales for the weekend. I had been thinking of going to Savaii since I need a vacation off this island; however, since this past weekend is one of the most traveled weekends in Samoa I didn’t want to deal with the really crowded buses and boats. John had rented a car which made the deal even sweeter. We Peace Corps Volunteers have a fondness for Faofao as it has been a great place for us to get away when we need too. They take care of us at Faofao and we enjoy going. Faofao is in Aleipata, the area which was hit the hardest by the tsunami back in September. Right after the tsunami, we couldn’t even tell where Faofao had been even though we had been there several times. When the other PCVs told me they were going to Faofao and invited me, I was very hesitant to go. Back in December when my Mom and Aunt were here just driving through the area was really hard for me. I didn’t know how I would react if I went for the weekend. But I decided to see how I would do, knowing I wanted to go back sometime.

We decided to be true tourists that day and stopped at Togitogiga Waterfalls to go for a dip in the cool water. We also did the coastal walk there as well. I highly recommend this do anyone coming to Samoa. I had no idea it was as amazing as it was. The path to get to the car park is 4 km and is an adventure in itself. The 1.8 km trail takes you through a jungle of pandanus and overlooks the crashing waves. There is no barrier reef on this section of the south coast so the water is deep and crashes powerfully against the large sea cliffs. Natural bridges and amazing rock formations have been cut by the strong waves. There is also a lava field and blowholes at the end of the path. It is a pretty cool thing to do and I wish I had done it sooner.

I am very impressed at how well they have done getting Faofao back up. They have 6 fales built and are in the process of building more. They have a large dining/hanging out area complete with a bar which John’s students at Don Bosco built. The beach looks great as does the coral which was really surprising considering the destruction 6 months ago. None of the fales have electricity, which adds to the rustic nature of the resort. I don’t know if they plan on putting electricity in or not, but for now a kerosene lamp will have to do (or the light of your cell phone). Six of us went and had a very enjoyable time talking, swimming, walking the beach, reading, etc. The typical things one does while relaxing on a beach with friends. Benj found a kite surfing board so we messed around with that while swimming in the ocean. We had a perfect day for the beach too, sunny and warm (course that describes most days here). The sunrise Saturday morning was one of the most beautiful I have yet to see. We left early Sunday morning to get back to Apia; I could have used another day of that gorgeous beach, but we had to get back.

I was able to fix my bike and ride it into town on Monday. I had problems with the pedals locking up (it did go through a tsunami and somehow still works, course this is mostly thanks to Jim and Trent who fixed it up for me). I sprayed lubricant on it a lot and the pedals still locked up, causing me to nearly tip over when I rode it to the next village to shop for my family; luckily I was coming back from the shop and didn’t have far to walk back. Somehow yesterday they decided to be nice and not lock up; I’m thankful. It is 3-4 miles I guess from my house to the PC office. Going there wasn’t so bad, mostly downhill. I thought I would die going back since it is mostly uphill, but thankfully my heart didn’t explode. It turned out to not be nearly as bad as I thought I was going to be, even though not all the gears on the bike work. Running and biking are very different and I’m in ok shape running wise (not going to run a marathon or anything, but can run a few miles no problem), but didn’t know how biking would suit me. I didn’t use the bike much when I lived on the south side. Once, I did ride 12 miles (in the rain) to Siumu and 12 miles back the next day…that about killed me. But today after the bike ride, only my bum hurts from the seat. So now that I know I’m not going to die from riding the bike I’ll have to do that more often. No cars hit me either which is a big plus too.

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