We had a little treat for dinner the other night, Mom stopped and got some very fresh red snapper and poached it in coconut milk. It did require a little lesson in cleaning a fish, but well worth it!
We have taken a few drives over the past two weeks just to check things out. We stopped at a popular tourist trap (the only one I think) called Tisa's Barefoot Beach....
I am sure we will visit for a beach day and get more pics. The owner (Tisa) is an conservationist and has set aside a large chuck of land as a preserve. The snorkeling here is supposed to be good, but I've been warned about currents so I won't be venturing too deep.
We also happen to be along the coast during low tide on the day of the "super moon" (when the moon is particularly close to the earth). As a result of the "super moon" the tide was WAY out...
And just for fun here is Noah....
Last Saturday we drove out to the eastern side of the island for a day at Two Dollar Beach... they need to update the name to "Five Dollar Beach" as that's the current price of admission (per person) and is the cost for keeping the beach tidy and the use of the fale's and bathrooms. There is also a little bar and some tables, its quaint and nice!
A fale (fah-lay) is a traditional Samoan home which is typically oval in shape and consists of columns and a roof. There are fales all over the island, but I have yet to see anyone living in one. From what I am told many people still live in them in Western Samoa.
It was almost an hour drive from our house but we got there early and were the first on the beach, It was a little cloudy upon our arrival but the nice folks running the place opened us some coconuts and we hung out in the fale. We were also given our first sample of a coconut which had already begun to germinate. It was delicious! The inside of the coconut turns into a very sponge like consistency while maintaining its sweet coconut flavor. It is natures sponge candy.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying the beach, collecting coral and swimming!
NOAH NEWS: During our day at the beach Noah figured out how to use a straw on his own! He really wanted coconut water and was sick of waiting for us.
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: Malo (mah-low) means "hello" (informal)
Fafetai (fah-feh-tie) means "thank you"
Fa' mole'mole (fu-ah-mol-ay-mol-ay) means "please"
I have captured the way staff meetings begin, it is not as one would expect (of course). The interesting thing is that the room simultaneously went from the mixed chatter of 25 people in one room to the following recording with no coordinated effort.... Keep in mind these are just a bunch of random office and field worker staff members.
We are headed to a beach on the eastern side of the island tomorrow. Hopefully the weather co-operates. The east side has sandier and slightly calmer swimming areas so it should be great! If things go as planned I'll have some pics up this week.
If you didn't know, tuna is big business here, there are two canneries in Pago Pago. Therefore we have access to some good tuna. Here is our $5 sashimi dinner (Cajun style), I emphasize the $5... this would be at least $25 back home. Mmmmmm.....
NOAH NEWS: Teething displeases Noah! He just got his forth (upper left) tooth today and is not happy.
TIPS FOR NEW A.S. RESIDENTS: If you like good coffee, bring your own. Folgers or similar brands are generally whats available. I have seen Starbucks coffee, buts its very expensive (and not that good in my opinion).
“There is still a lot to learn and there is always great stuff out there.
Even mistakes can be wonderful.” - Robin Williams
So now that the rain has stopped; I pulled out the camera, put on long sleeves (Chikungunya prevention), grabbed my dog bite prevention stick and headed for the shore...
Kinda cool huh? The circular indentations seen in the rock (mostly in the 3rd pic) were created during the making of tools and weapons many years ago. Apparently they used round stones, brought from elsewhere on the island, in collaboration with the lava rock in the picture to sharpen and polish axes and other items.
There are a few reasons for the lack of excitement in the blog lately. Not only were Dad and Noah sick for a bit, but once we recovered we learned about Chikungunya... which unfortunately is not some sort of Indian food. Chikungunya is a mosquito spread virus that is going around the island right now. The virus leaves you with a fever, rash and joint pain, generally it's not life threatening but we certainly don't want to test it. The mosquito species that carry the virus are more active during the day resulting in our confinement to the house lately. The Samoans aren't taking the little epidemic as seriously as us. They still go about shirtless and even travel internationally (Western Samoa) when knowingly infected. It seems to me that this activity certainly won't help the situation, but we will just worry about us. It may be that we have had a little help lately from the rain keeping folks inside. Now normally rain wouldn't have this effect, in fact I am pretty sure most of the time the locals don't notice rain. They certainly don't acknowledge any ordinary down pour and will continue on with conversations, yard work or whatever they might be doing outdoors. This last week, however, has been very different.
About a week ago it started to rain, and by rain I mean half the Pacific has been dumped on our heads. This is not rain like you will ever experience on the mainland and apparently it's not so normal here, we had 6 inched in one day and it just kept coming!! I started bringing Noah wood and nails hoping it would ensure me a spot on the boat! Water was everywhere, our road appeared to be a long and very straight river which luckily was only 5 inches deep. Fortunately that was the worst of the experience for us, others here have not fared so well. The heavy downpours have caused mudslides and the flash flooding of rivers. Mudslides have destroyed several homes and at least one church, to my knowledge nobody was hurt in these events. Unfortunately there has been at least one fatality caused when a brother and sister where swept down a river during a flash flood. The young man managed to grab onto a tree, his sister unfortunately was not so lucky. I worked with Homeland Security, EPA and FEMA representatives last Friday assessing the river and surrounding area where this occurred. Hopefully our efforts can prevent this from happening again.
The rain has begun to stop and we are only getting a few daily showers. We are looking forward to a dry and virus free island in the near future so we may resume our adventures.
NOAH NEWS: Noah enjoy's eating solid food more and more, he comes running in his walker when Mom and Dad sit down at the table. We are also working on his sleep, he has been given a lot of leeway until now as a result of the time change, teething and being sick, but its time to start falling asleep on his own.
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: You may want to consider the potential disasters when looking for a home. I am a bit paranoid and therefore ensured our house was well above sea level and away from steep slopes.
The Jaskowiak Family
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