Friday, August 29, 2008

We had a lovely day touring the island. The weather co-operated and Barry decided since we had a passenger I would have to behave behind the wheel and he basically told me to go and rent the car so that he could enjoy the drive from the passenger seat for a change. Most of the road was very windy so I had a blast in the little five speed we rented, doing my James Bond imitation going around the curves. I also spent the day conversing with our Chilean buddy who spoke French. A couple of times I had to stop trying to figure out what he was saying and concentrate on my driving. He was great to have along because having lived in New Caledonia he knew what most of the trees were and could tell us about them. Some of the nuances I’m sure were lost but we got the basic idea. I got through the day without scaring myself silly so needless to say I slowed down around the hairpin curves!!!
ANYWAY, we spent the morning on the north coast which had marvelous scenery. Then we crossed over the mountain ridge and drove along the southwest coast. There were lovely white sand beaches, we stopped for lunch at a resort and sat gazing out at the surf and some offshore islands with the ocean breezes in our faces. You can’t get too much better than that. After some fairly shoddy navigating, leading to another Lange shortcut, we got back on track and found a black sand beach where I went for a swim. The reef was about a kilometer offshore at this point so it was very calm and quiet. We headed back across the island going up and over again. Once we arrived back in Apia we headed down to an end of town we hadn’t visited yet and stopped at the yacht club. There was a whole bunch of people hanging out on the seawall at that end of town and we couldn’t figure out what was going on. We were just checking the place out when we heard the beat of the drums and some very shrill whistling. It was the Samoan rowers; here they do not have the outrigger canoes, they row very long skinny boats and there are about 50 people rowing. It is quite the spectacle, each boat has there own drummer in the bow and at the stern there is a fellow on the tiller who encourages the rowers with loud whistle blasts. It was a great way to end an interesting day.
This is a fale, it the Polynesian answer to the heat. There are reed curtains that you can put down to keep out the rain or the sun. Samoans sleep on the floor on a mattress in these structures all over the islands.