Two days down, two days to go Apia, Samoa 03/04-05/2020

Everything seems to slow down in the heat of the South Pacific. You walk a bit slower, you sleep a bit later, you take longer to eat – everything just seems to go in slow motion. Two days seems to have slowly drifted by while we worked on staying cool (usually failing miserably.) Yesterday, we spent the morning at a cultural show where we learned about the many traditional aspects of Samoan life. We started out by making our plates for the lunch they would be serving us. Dave’s plate was half the size of Kathy’s plate and she soon took pity on him and traded plates with him. Bigger size more food. You know what Dave says, “Fat boy’s gotta eat!” Dave is petite compared to the locals, so this adage may no longer apply to him. The next demonstration was the making of clothes by a local Samoan woman. The process was pretty impressive, starting with a small tree stick, stripping off the bark, and turning the cambium into cloth! We were so taken by her skill that we bought one to remember our visit with her. Next stop was the wood carving. Kathy was tempted to buy a really cool wooden bowl, but “where she would put it in her luggage” is always on her mind. Reason prevailed and she wistfully walked away from the table to go to the next pavilion for the next demonstration. This demonstration was how the meal we would eat is prepared. In Samoa, men do all the cooking. Kathy now understands why it is so bland! The meal was put in a fire and consisted of taro roots, Samoan bananas, fish, and something like spinach. Kathy and Dave went for the vegetarian option and decided to pass on the fish. The last pavilion was a demonstration of tattooing in Samoa. Tattooing is considered an art that men do as they come of age. Using a hammer and pointed object, we watched as the ink was “hammered” into the man’s thigh. It looks as painful as it sounds. No film was allowed so you will need to Google it to watch the process. Last stop was the large pavilion where we sat down and received our meal and watched a native song and dance show. It was not the best meal we have had, but also not the worst. Fortunately, we did not have to pay money for it, so it was good it was free. Pretty boring all and all. The spinach-like concoction was good. Dipping both the taro and the banana in the concoction helped the flavor. Later in the afternoon, Dave went running down to the post office to see about mailing our Samoan souvenirs home. No such luck. He needed to go to the quarantine office to get a certificate from them. Dave came home feeling hot and sweaty while Kathy was curled up on the bed enjoying the sweet air-conditioning.

Thursday saw us just driving in the morning to explore the island because it was raining. Coming back, we came through a police checkpoint where Kathy got to witness a bribe in process. Last stop before coming home was the quarantine office where Dave got our item sprayed and made ready for the trip back to NY. The office sealed the envelope and gave Dave a certificate from the office. Now time to return to our hotel. Along the way, we stopped at a bakery for some fresh buns for PB and J sandwiches. Kathy was in heaven with the buns, they were soft and freshly made. She salivated as she squeezed the buns to see how soft they were. Ahhhh, the rain had stopped, and a decision was made to walk to the post office in downtown Apia. The ~~ 1.1 mile walk to post office was hot and muggy, but it was a welcome relief to be out and moving. Arriving at the office, Kathy parked herself under the air conditioner while Dave waited to send the package. For the second time he was denied. Dave had not brought the certificate with him and the post office required that in order to send the package. Walking back carrying the same package, Dave grumbled about not knowing he had to have the certificate to mail the package. Grabbing the certificate, we headed back to the post office for the third time, another walk in the muggy heat. Dave said, “I bet we will get to within 100 yards of the post office and it will start to rain, smearing the inked address and shredding the certificate.” While it was not hard, we did get spritzed on by the rain. Finally, SUCCESS!! The envelope was stamped and mailed and should hopefully be sent tomorrow. In part to celebrate, and in part just to cool down, we stopped at McDonald’s for ice cream. Our next stop the visitor center, where Dave pulled out all the interrogation techniques he had, trying to get information on Samoan history. One thing Kathy learned by watching him, all the techniques in the world do not work if the person does not have a clue. We are amazed at how many people we have met who are not familiar with their country’s history. Next, we were off to dinner at a restaurant recommended to us. We were not surprised……it was closed. Walking back, Dave said, “How about Roko’s?”, a restaurant we have passed multiple times walking back and forth from Apia to our hostel. Kathy begrudgingly said, “Ok.” Great decision. Kathy had vegetarian spaghetti with olive oil and garlic and Samoan chili peppers. This is one of her favorite meals but in this case, it came with a twist. Dave had unique chicken cordon bleu – sorry Jill forgot pictures again – and we both enjoyed our meal. Also dining in the restaurant were a couple of Mormon missionaries. One was from Kathy’s old stomping grounds of Utah. Now it’s time to relax and eat our Samoan “Oreo’s”. Night all.

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