Friday, June 26, 2009

Odds and Ends

Since we began our research on Monday, we have been spending part of the time doing work and the other part doing some smaller excrusions. The weather has been pretty rainy, so we've ended up stuck inside more than we would like.

On Tuesday, Rive invited us to go on a short hike at Blunt's point, just outside of Pago Pago harbor. It was only about a 10 minute walk uphill before we reached two giant cannons, positioned such that they used to guard the harbor from attack (they were never used). Oddly, there were dozens of frogs hopping around the cannons, one of which was flooded with rain water. Despite the cloudy skies, we got a cool view of both the harbor and the ocean before heading back down to the car.

We spent Tuesday afternoon doing some data entry and follow-up work on our research from Monday. We did some more work and had a few meetings on Wednesday morning.

Also on Tuesday evening, we invited Andrew, a Kiwi with family roots in Samoa, over for dinner. We met Andrew at last week's Palagi party, and it turns out he's housesitting for his cousin just down the road from us. After we fed him some traditional American food on Tuesday (that's right, homemade buffalo chicken wings), he invited us over to his cousin's house for dinner on Wednesday. The house was beautiful, and it was great getting to schmooze with Andrew again.

Wednesday afternoon, we took advantage of a brief break in the rain and visited Nu'uli falls. We muddied our feet as we hiked the short trail to reach the waterfall, crossing back and forth accross a stream to get there. Because of the rain, the waterfall was in full force, but we didn't bring our bathing suits to swim in the pool below it. We plan to go back on a sunnier day for a quick swim.

Thursday, we met up with a few people from the Historic Preservation Office who gave us a tour of a star mound. The mound (a relatively unimpressive pile of rocks surrounded by rainforest) is one of hundreds on the island that was used for pigeon catching. The event was conducted by chiefs from the villages. They all sat atop the mound and used decoy birds an nets to catch as many pigeons as possible. The event was disliked by the missionaries and so has faded out. I'm not really sure what the allure was or how feasible it owuld be to actually catch pigions, but it was sort of interesting to learn some more island history.

After our tour and a quick lunch, we went to see the new Star Trek movie, which just opened up in the duplex theater here (along with Transformers 2, which was sold out). After a good day at the movies, last night we picked up Dana, a MD-PhD student from UCSF who is here looking for possible ideas for her discertation. She will be our sixth roomate here in our cozy little home. We have also been planning our trip to Western Samoa for next weekend, and we plan on buying plane tickets today. It will be great to get off the island, but we still have plenty of work to do first.

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