Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Day at the Beach

There are many benefits to all Peace Corps countries, I'm sure, but certainly one of the biggest benefits of serving in the South Pacific is going to the beach. As tiny as Samoa is, the island isn't teeming with picturesque beaches. This is especially true of Apia (where we've been since we arrived last Wednesday), which can be a littly grimey at times. So on account of yesterday being a national holiday (the observance of White Sunday), we ventured across the island to a resort beach on the south shore.

While the beach was technically located at a resort, there was no resort building or tourist incentive for coming besides the beach. In fact, the resort is so rural that our bus had to idle while a herd of cattle was ushered out of the roadway (picture below).

The beach today was protected by a coral reef. This means a couple of things:
  1. The water was safer because sharks and other large fish won't swim beyond the coral reef.
  2. Snorkeling was excellent. Lots of coral. Lots of pretty fish.
  3. The ocean floor and the beach itself were covered in sharp, abrasive shards of coral. Ouch.
My feet are having a very rough time here. In fact, I've decide that my feet are having the most difficult transition of all. The transition from shoes to flip-flops is alluring and breezy, but for feet that were used to the constant protection of shoes, this transition means building up a lot of callousness. Added to that is the mosquitos. Since feet move the least when you're sitting, they are the safest part of the body when it comes to sucking blood. This not only means that my feet are itchy from mosquito bites; it also means they are sticky from being lathered up in insect repellent every night. So the coral on the beach only added insult to injury. Or more like injury to insult, I suppose.

In any case, Supy took the picture of Blakey and me above. This was taken in front of the Fale we staked out at the beach just as we were about to share our lunchtime snack. A fale is a traditional Samoan hut. You can see PCT Dan and Training Director H.P. in the fale playing chess as well as some other Peace Corps Samoa trainees and staff.

All in all, the beach was beautiful, and the day was a success. I covered myself in sunscreen and re-applied after a while, and I escaped with a little color and a little burn on my nose. Others in our group were not so vigilant.

Yesterday afternoon we watched some Samoan TV in our hotel room for the first time. We watched a strange Japanese Anime movie, title unknown, and then later this evening, a Filipino soap opera, which we think was titled "Margie." I felt cool because people were speculating that the language was Samoan, and then Indonesian. And then I recognized "Salamat" and "Cuya," and I knew what was going on! Thank you, Union City. We also played more Euchre last night. It's kind of become the game of choice around here.

Today was back to training with language in the morning and water safety in the afternoon. More on that later.

Thanks for all the comments. They are fun to read. More pictures below.
View from inside the bus as cows are ushered out of the way.

The beach.

The beach again.

Playing cards in the evening. From left to right: Gore, Blakey, Phil, Joey, Paul, Me, and Dan.

Even in Samoa, Obamania is alive and well.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Matt,
It's V from Cole Middle School. Of course, I am no longer teaching there... getting my Masters in Math at the moment. I'm glad you are having fun and saving Samoans. =)

Kelly said...

Hey...it is very, very fun to read about your experiences and see the photos! Sad to hear about your feet though!

Where are the other PCT's from? Anyone else from the Bay Area?

Amanda said...

Your feet are gonna get rough & tough & then you'll be able to walk anywhere! How fun that you got to go snorkeling! It looks so beautiful there! You are too skinny! Hopefully I'll be that skinny when I visit you!!

How's the food??

I told Alton about your blog & he wants to read it. He is very impressed by the url. He thinks you are so clever!

I'm very excited about the movie "Margie," because on of the nursing assistants is named Margie & she only speaks 2 or 3 words at a time. So naturally I have to fill in the gaps with talking excessively & I can't wait to tell her about it.

Have you learned anymore of the language?? Be ready for when I put you on the spot.

Love you!