Sunday, May 15, 2016

Best toilets ever (and a waterfall swim)

There is a great national park with the best toilets we have ever seen. When you open the door, this is what you see:



Here's a view from the commode:


These are advertised as "garden toilets" which is part of a project per the sign below.


Near the toilets and visitor center is a waterfall pool. Here is the trail to the pool.


Here's Marc in the pool. It was so nice we went there twice,


Finally, here is a little friend that was near the changing rooms:






Rugby

We (actually Marc) have been wanting to see a rugby match and could never get info on when the matches were happening.  So after the Ma tree, Tafatafa beach, and the grand opening of the Tiapapatia Art Center, we drove back to Apia to Apia Park to see if anything was happening.  Lucky for us we got there at the end of one match just before the next one.  The stadium is really nice.  It cost us 2 tala each to enter and 2 tala to park.  So cheap!  These matches are between villages.  A local man sat near us and introduced himself to us and we learned a bit more about the rules.  He was from the black team's village.
Here is a video of a scrum.




Beaches

We have been to a number of beaches around the island.   The beaches are on land owned by the villages and we pay a small fee to use them. It is their way of maintaining the beach.  Many beaches have been passed down through the generations.   These first two pictures are of Palolo Deep Marine Reserve.  The family who own this are members of our church.



Most of the beaches around the island are very rocky and have a lot of coral.  There is a huge reef surrounding most of the island.  The waves breaking in this picture are where the reef is.  We have snorkeled here but it isn't as good as other beaches.

This next beach a family in our ward told us about.  It is called Tafatafa beach and we went to Brenda's Bungalows.  Usually there are fales you can use for free at the beaches after you pay your fee, but this beach had large fales and it was an extra charge to use them.  We loved this beach so much we decided to go back again.  But today it was pouring down rain so we sadly couldn't go.  We were actually on the dirt road to the beach and had to turn around.  Disappointing!





And just for grins here's a fun picture of Gayle!



Ma tree

Last Saturday we pretended we were tourists and did a bunch of things since it was our last weekend.  One of the things we wanted to do was walk to see the Ma tree.  It's a tree that has roots exposed (google it).  The walk was about 15 mins and through a rainforest.



Here is the Ma tree with a Ma!


You can see those curvy things that are around me.  Those are the root things.

 They curve around the base of the tree and form little cave like  places.


Dogs

We have been here in Samoa a little over three months and the landlady has left her dogs for at least one month of that time (five times--at least a week each time).  Our house is in back of the big house and there is a wooden fence separating our yard from the big house yard.  Her sister brings them food usually every day and is supposed to give them water.  We end up making sure their water tubs are full.  There are four dogs.  Ono is the only female and decided she loved us. She would lay on the steps of our house every day, walk with us to the front gate, then go back through the hole she dug to lay on our steps until she heard us coming.  She was so excited to see us when we got home.  That excitement spread to the other three dogs during the times they have been here.  They all jump up and try to jump on us as we come through the gate.  A little annoying but somehow cute. Since they are so much a part of our stay here we have their pictures.  Ono is the white dog with me and the others we have nicknamed Growler (white and dark brown), Brownie (obvious), and Fighter (White with light brown--he escaped all the time and came back this time injured).  They have gone back home now to aggravate their neighbors! :)


You can see our little house way down in the back.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Drive around Samoa


We took a couple of days to drive around the island.  There is one main road that circles Samoa.  Along the edges of the road are plants and flowers like this.  Each village makes sure that it looks beautiful.



This is the river we had to cross.  Luckily we had a Subaru Impreza to help us get through.
It was about 8" deep!


One of the many animals we have to watch out for.  There are also pigs, chickens, dogs, and lots of people.




A typical village with a lot of fales. They are used as meeting places for families, villages, etc. and I randomly included the no smoking sign (in Samoan).


This is one of the many many resorts along the coast.



An even larger river we crossed. Check out how fast that is moving!


A few more resorts.  We wanted to check them out to see if we wanted to come back to use during the day.



View of the south coast.  It is so beautiful here!  We are going to miss being so close to the ocean!



Robert Louis Stevenson plants

These are some flowers and tropical plants around the beautiful Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.








And these last ones are in front of our house.  The flower grows out of the top!