Sunday, July 19, 2009

Camping, Karayoke, Waterfall, BBQ

As the title of the post suggests, we've kept busy since my last post. On Wednesday evening, we drove out to Vatia (on the northern coast of the island) for the Palagi camping trip. Just over 20 people showed up, and we ate deliciously grilled hot dogs and burgers and sang to Charlie's guitar playing. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative, so we were rained on most of the night. We did get a break in the rain enough to have a campfire on the beach, but sleeping was rough as the wind graciously carried the rain into our fale through the one gap in the tarp walls.

Due to our lack of sleep the night before, Thursday was a very lazy day. We even skipped out on paddling, partly because of exhaustion and partly because of the still awful weather. Friday, we had a bit more gusto, so we drove out to Tisa's (about an hour away) to hang out on the beach and get some pina coladas. Unfortunately, we arrived only to find Tisa's bar closed, so we turned straight around to head back home. We did stop at the open market (picture to the right) on the way back to pick up some fresh tomatoes and bananas to make the trip not a complete failure.

Saturday morning, we woke up early and drove back to Richard's dad's bar, where we finished up our research with the third group of kids. This group was particularly friendly with us, and Gabe and I even played some parking lot football with some of the boys. After we finished up, we broke out the karayoke microphones as we waited for Richard to drop off some of the kids back in town. The Korean karayoke machine played some fantastic (read: pathetic) videos in the background as we jammed out to our favorite tunes for over an hour.

When Richard returned, we all drove over to a waterfall site tucked away behind LBJ Hospital. The waterfall (actually just one of a series of waterfalls) delivered freshwater from the mountains into a man-made pool below. We spent a few hours swimming and jumping off the rocks about 12 feet above. We were joined by some locals who were much more fearless than us in terms of jumping.

Refreshed from our swim, we left Richard, Sharon, and Marie to go straight back to Vatia for a BBQ. It turns out that the campsite we slept at Wednesday night was actually owned by the family of one of Katy's co-workers at the hospital. Thus, we were invited back for or a Samoan-style gathering.

The site was much more beautiful during the day and with clear skies. We got to enjoy Samoan-style BBQ (including turkey tails, a true Samoan delicacy that is so bad for you, Western Samoa has banned importation) as some dogs sat patiently waiting for the remains of our meal. There were even a few puppies hanging around that gathered many awwws from the girls. One of Sina's (Katy's co-worker) brothers had just gone fishing, and he told us that black-tailed sharks could be found just off their beach. Gabe, Dana, and I joined some Samoans in a volleyball game, and we all accompanied Sina on a trip into the village of Vatia.

After sunset, we all remembered how tired we were (we had left the house at 7am). We said some (seemingly neverending) goodbyes, and then headed back over the mountains toward home. On the way, we stopped at an icecream shop we had just found out about, probably one of the only on the island that serves homemade non-softserve icecream. I crashed early last night, and now we're about to go spend the afternoon at the park.

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