Apia, Samoa

Due to a slight mix-up at Polynesian Air, our Spring Break vacation to the island of Upolo in Western Samoa was shortened to 2 days. Of course, being the easy-going island folks that we are, we shrugged it off and made the most of it.

We arrived in Apia on Tuesday afternoon and headed straight to our room at Tatiana Motel. There was air-conditioning and hot water! We also had a TV but it only got 1 clear channel, and that one seemed to only play cartoons. (I totally fell asleep watching Beauty and the Beast the second day.) Then we went to the markets.

They say you aren’t supposed to bargain in the markets in Apia, but they are really super wrong. The last time we were there I asked “How much for a fan” and kept hearing “twenty tala” over and over and over, which seemed a bit much. I finally asked “E fia tala?” and was told “lima” ($5). If prices can change that drastically that quickly, then I think bargaining is A-ok!

Here’s the Beard using his beard-power to get a good deal on everything in the world:

The Beard doing his intimidating negotiation thing

Coconut earrings for sale in the market

Samoan siapo art

I wish we had a market like this in Manu'a!

We also visited another market that primarily sells clothes and super-nice hand-crafts, but I didn’t take any photos of that one. Looks like you’ll just have to fly down here and see for yourself!

The second day we visited Sliding Rock for a few hours. You can read more about that (and find a video!) over here. We also ate (eh hem, twice) at a mah-velous Indian restaurant in Elava Hotel. Oh my stars it was delicious.

Not fried. Not corned. Not meat in a can.

We also visited the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. Stevenson bought 400 acres of land in Samoa just five years before his death. The estate is called Vailima, which, incidentally, is the name of Samoa’s only beer. We didn’t go inside the house because we didn’t have enough time, but we did hike up the mountain to visit his grave. It was a lovely hike and really neat to be able to visit the grave of an author who until recently was largely ignored by both the literary canon and me! But I have since read Treasure Island so I can feel smug about all of this now. Interesting note: Stevenson adopted the Samoan name Tusitala, which means “storyteller.”

RLS museum

Vailima

Vailima

Er, something about the end of cannibalism in Samoa

The Beard sports one of his Samoan shirts on the trail

The trail to RLS's grave

Here lies the author

Proof that I was actually on this trip.

Taking a short vacation in the middle of the week has really helped make this break feel super long. Since we got back to Tutuila we haven’t done much of anything. As in, yesterday I ate hummus and read a book. That’s it. (I am up to 40 novels and around 10 short stories, if anyone cares.)

I am oh-so ready to get back to Ta’u tomorrow and see my kiddos on Monday. We have so much to look forward to in the coming month, including music festival, Samoa day, and (eek!) teacher appreciation week! There are only about 2.5 months left of school–can you believe it!? And I should have internet at my school from now on so I will be able to email and update this blog and maybe even skype! Life is grand, eh?

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About Cat Q.

For three years, I lived on a tiny little island in the South Pacific called Ta'u, where I taught elementary and high school English. Much of this blog is a chronicle of my time there, and of the travels we were able to do while we were on that side of the world. Now, I'm doing a different kind of travelling in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. I graduated with a B.A. in English and a history minor from Kennesaw State University in 2010, and earned an advanced certificate in TEFL while teaching abroad in 2012. I love Jesus and enjoy knitting, Atlanta Falcons football, and spending time alone with my Kindle. I've been married for 10 years to a beautiful bearded man who makes me laugh like no other. The Beard occasionally blogs over here: http://www.leapfromthelionshead.wordpress.com
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