My 24th birthday and the first of three precious twenty-something birthdays that will be spend in Samoa, in probably much the same way as I spent this one. Early in the morning, I took the bus into town and checked my email at the peace corps office. On my facebook page, many people had written a happy birthday message which was nice :D Alanna and Dad had sent me a message to watch out for a birthday/Christmas package that was in route. I’m so touched that they, especially Dad, have started to take the time to email and to send things like letters and packages.
Anyway, I made a quick run to the post office with the mail box key from the office to check for said parcel and to send out some post cards to family and friends in the states and in Japan. There was no package there and the people at the photo store couldn’t read photos from my Sony Memory Stick Pro or from a USB so I’ll end up printing pictures for Pulusila and Faafetai in Apia when I go on Wednesday. That’s going to be so nice, to do some shopping and run some errands.
I stopped by the Samoan Water Authority office on the way back and asked a couple questions about getting the main pipe in Vaipu’a extended up the hill for the families without piped water. I was told an application paper had to be filled out and the families would have to pay twenty tala to have the surveyors come out and check the water pressure and the feasibility of extending the pipe uphill. Good enough for me.
Finally, I was ready to catch the bus to Saleaula to meet up with Alli and a few other Peace Corps that might be coming to kafao (hang out) with us at the Bay View Resort at the Lava Fields. I saw the bus that I needed to be on pass me by and I ran back to the office, deposited the key on the wall and grabbed a taxi, telling the driver to catch up to the green bus going to Sasina! The taxi sped up the main road, stopping irksomely at a long red light before driving 20 minutes until the bus was in sight. I paid the driver 25 tala for the ride and hopped on the bus. The 25 tala was money well spent because the next bus would not have left the wharf for another 3 hours or so.
The bus passed by Saleaula and took me all the way to Sasina and back, a nice ride along the coast and I got to see Alli’s village. I walked up to the resort with a small plastic bag of oreos, chips and a diet sprite, all luxuries unavailable in my village and met Alli, who was sunbathing on the water, with excitement and hugs. We went back to the main lobby restaurant area, met up with Lasela who gave me a hand made birthday card and some stickers, and had fish and chips and a nice cold one for lunch. Dana and Unicorn showed up shortly after and we all took the canoes across the water to the small island dividing ocean and lake. The sand there was black, no doubt caused in some way by all the black lava rock surrounding the area and the large waves crashed into us as we waded into the ocean up to our bellies.
When we paddled back to the resort, we showered and started pre-gaming before heading to dinner. Lasela and I shared a seafood pasta that was just spicy enough and quite delicious. There was a small fiafia and three hotel staff girls danced a few choreographed siva Samoa numbers to the delight of us and the other few guests that were there. After a hurried discussion, the four of us decided to perform our little siva Samoa we had learned for the last night in Manunu and did it together to a different piece of music, but with success. Jim even jumped in and “choo choo” ed for us and beat his chest.
After this, we played a couple interesting games of pool before Emi and two visitors of hers drove up. Kelly and Jeff joined us for Kings in Lasela’s rooms.
In the morning, we ate pancakes and watched Twister on the TV overhead. Alli confessed her love for Bill Paxton. We spend a few confused moments figuring out the bill for the last night’s dinner, the lodging and this morning’s meal before Dana and I hurried to catch the last bus to Salelologa.