Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Tourist Me

She arrived!  HB landed at Faleolo airport on time a couple weeks ago.  I’d met a lovely group of Kiwis on the ferry and they gave me a ride from the wharf to the airport.  Then they showed me a new restaurant on the grounds of the airport.  The time passed quickly as I waited for HB and the Kiwis waited to take her plane back to Auckland.

Everyone was excited about HB’s arrival.  There were big crowds, television cameras, police, sirens, music.  Or wait, was it for HB or because Samoa’s rugby team, Manu Samoa, was taking her plane back to Auckland for World Cup?  In any case it was a bit of a zoo and quite the event.  Best for me was that I got to watch the buff athletes mingle with the crowd, signing autographs and taking photos. 

I’ll be writing more details (you know me, why be brief when there are so many words available?) about our time together, but  will first give you a general overview and then work backwards.  Stick with me.

Wednesday night we just got settled.  Rented a car – I highly recommend Sina and the gang at Salufai Motor Rentals, tafatafa CCK.  $100 tala a day special for a car with air con.  I’d booked HB into the Savaiian but they’d come to me the previous day to say they’d double booked and she’d have to stay elsewhere.  They generously booked her at Lusias which is the weekend home of many of the Savaii PCVs and paid half her rate there.

Thursday and Friday she joined me at school.  Friday deserves a whole post since it was prize giving and a farewell fiafia for the Year 7 teacher leaving for New Zealand.  HB got to join an authentic Samoan experience that was filled with tears, laughter, dancing, singing and food.  And speeches, of course. 

Saturday HB picked me up at my beautiful house and we were off.  Headed toward sea turtles and lava fields.  I officially set aside my PC persona and was feeling very much the palagi tourist as we drove off in the air conditioned rental car.

Saturday night we stayed at Va i Moana.  I love it there and we had the perfect rooms.  Fales on stilts over the water.  At low tide we could see the rocks below the fales.  At high tide, which happened to be bedtime, the small waves were hitting the rocks and making a joyful noise.  There were fresh frangipani flowers on our pillows.  Dinner was included and since we were there on a Saturday night it was private tables on the beach, lit by torches and candles.  A couple played the guitar and softly sang Samoan music that blended with the sounds of the waves.  It was very romantic.  Yes, I love HB to death but admit it would have been nice to have been sharing the evening with a romantic partner.  Ah well, we laughed about it and enjoyed the dinner of lobster, palusami, taro, octopus in coconut cream and barbecued chicken.    All that, plus breakfast came to about $80 US each.  I’m talking room over the water and food.  Yeah, it doesn’t get any better.

Sunday we continued our tourist ways, since Vai Moana wasn’t able to let us keep our rooms a second night.  We went to Faleolupo to see the most western place this side of the International Dateline, or it will be until we hop to the other side of the dateline at the end of this year.

We had lunch on a beach and enjoyed feeding fries to a cat who ate them using his paws.  We had the blowholes to ourselves and got pictures, video and some good laughs.  We drove, we talked and I really felt like a tourist. 

HB is incredibly generous.  She brought toys, books, electronics and more for the kids and a bunch of stuff for me.  She funded my weekend as a tourist.  She gave me a weekend away from the stress and strain of being a PCV and reminded me that I live in paradise.  Thanks, H.  I’ll never be able to repay you.

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