Thursday, August 22, 2013

Enjoying Samoa!

We have been here two weeks all ready - it sure doesn't seem like it.  But, we have been busy exploring, meeting new people, shopping, and all kinds of fun stuff.  So, time just gets away from us.

Rainbow over Apia
Western Samoa was governed by Germany and then the British.  Now they are self governed.  So the architecture is very interesting and different than other south pacific islands we have visited.

Lots of traditions have been passed along plus, you can even get schnitzel at some of the restaurants!  Everyone speaks English - some with a British accent, which always surprises us.

Brunch - mimosas and everything
The Apia Marina is small.  This morning there were 13 cruising boats, but several will be leaving over the next couple of days.  It is a very social group of cruisers from all over - France, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA (of course).

Everyone coming and going different directions.  We have been to several potlucks, happy hours, Kava lessons, a dock pool party, and even a brunch - all very entertaining.  It is fun to meet everyone and hear all of their stories.

Dock pool party - cooling off!
The marina was damaged in the cyclone last December, so there is one whole dock that isn't very usable, plus several slips without cleats.  But, with some shuffling, all of the cruisers have found a good slip.

We have had a couple of real rainy days since we have been here, plus it is more humid than we are used to.  So, we do a lot of sweating!  But, it still cools off at night so we can get some sleep - good thing.

Doug in his new LavaLava - very handsome
There are lots of places to shop and eat and we have been checking them all out.

Our favorite happy hour - Island Bar and Grill - Wednesday through Friday 5pm to 7pm.  Cold 10 oz draft beers for $2 Tala (less than $1 US), plus free appetizers and air conditioning.  We will definitely go back. 
Doug and a jug of Vailima

Apia is also a great place to provision and taxis are cheap.  $5 Tala/$2.50 US will get you almost anywhere.  The buses are supposed to be great too (and really cute), but they always seem to be crowded.

Colorful buses
So we walk a lot and take taxis when we get tired or buy too much stuff (Coke Zero and Vailima beer usually).

We have been to two Fire Knife Dance shows (Siva Afi) at the Ooh La La ice cream parlor - right across the street for only $15 Tala.

The first time, was on my birthday and they sang Happy Birthday to me, plus dished me up a huge bowl of ice cream.  It was wonderful!
Happy Birthday to Me!

Enjoying the show
Plus, the Samoan Cultural Village puts on a great show every Thursday at 10:30 am, which includes a kava ceremony, singing, dancing, demonstrations, plus free lunch - they just ask for donations. 

Very entertaining, plus the demonstrations taught us about their culture and history.

Traditional headdress and Tapa cloth
We learned how to bake fish wrapped in banana leaves in an umu (buried), make and design tapa cloth from a mulberry tree, woodcarving, plus their very sacred tattooing process. 
The Welcome/Kava Ceremony (doesn't taste very good)

It takes a month for the men to finish their body tattoo's that start above the waist and goes to the knees.  It sounded excruciating and it is a disgrace to the family if the men don't go through with it.  Ouch!

Dancing with joy - so fun to watch
The womens tattoos are several small dots that go from the hip to the knee.  Still painful, but quick compared to the men.

We also visited the Museum of Samoa and took the guided tour (no charge, but donations accepted).  The museum was small, but a great way to learn about the history of Samoa.

Young Fire Dancers
We discovered that Samoa's annual festival, the Teuila Festival, starts September 1 and ends on the 7th.

So, we decided to stay in Apia a couple more weeks so that we can attend.  We hate to miss a festival!

Plus, we don't have much further to go.  Fiji is our final destination this year and it is only 4 - 5 days away.  We are getting close...

So, all is well on Moondance and crew are very happy to be here in Samoa.  Enjoy the rest of the pictures!

Town Center

The slow dance - very pretty

And so energetic - tired just watching them

Dancers and the Band - wonderful

More dancing

Fire Dancer - Hot Hot Hot

Dock potluck - great food!
Making Tapa cloth from the Mulberry tree

Pounding the Tapa cloth

Wrapping fish in banana leaves

Cooking our lunch in the Umu

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