I’ll try to impart a few observations of what my Samoan experience has been thus far, but I’ll also incorporate a few thoughts about Matt from someone who’s known him in The States.
In baggage claim, as I waited and waited for my luggage—which would not appear for another day—I started to sweat. This is a reoccurring theme for me. Apparently, I came to Samoa during the middle of a heat wave. Walking to the bank = Sweating. Eating = Sweating. Doing anything out of range of air conditioning = Sweating. I think Matt has adapted to the climate and sweats about half as often. He particularly loves to walk and still somehow doesn’t sweat. Other PCV members recommend taking a taxi, but we’ll probably walk. He is a walking non-sweating machine.
My favorite way to cool off (besides air conditioning) has been a tasty treat called niu, a particular type of coconut with sweet juice, which tastes a little like semi-sweet water… but not really. Maybe more like a slightly sweet, watered down Vitamin Water? Ehh, those descriptions don’t do niu justice. Just know that it’s heavenly.
I’m still not sure what the food equivalent of niu would be. Samoan food has been a mixed bag for me. On Thursday a local family invited us to a barbeque, which was great. Other meals have been so-so. We made it out to the fish market for fish and chips, which was tasty. Matt has mentioned Mexican food a few times in the blog, and I can tell he still really misses good Mexican food. His eyes tell the story. He also really wants to make his famous taro hash browns before I take off. There’s still that to look forward to.
During my stay we’ve been venturing back and forth between a local hotel and his place, which isn’t unlike his apartment in Pasadena—although it does get incredibly hot and is insect-filled. On these trips, I’ve encountered a few roaming dog gangs. They are intense. I fear Matt is now officially a cat person.
Finally, I’ll mention one of the craziest experiences of my life and definitely a lasting memory of Samoa. The River Fales hike in Falese’ela has left me cut, bruised, sore, and extremely happy. We traveled for 5 hours through the beautiful Samoan outback climbing rock faces, jumping off cliffs, and treading through rivers. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
As I write off into the distance, I’m happy to report that Matt is doing a-ok. While it’s been over a year since I’ve seen him, things are like they always have been. Only now he can direct a cabbie in Samoan and write detailed reports on what Samoan’s think about rain.
It’s been a pleasure exploring Samoa with a good friend.
Pictures from the River Fales Hike below.
Blakey and Chris with the guide climbing the waterfall in the background.
There were long stretches of river-wading.
Chris jumping off a waterfall.
Jordan jumping off a waterfall (He didn't jump from the top.).
Matt and Chris in a waterfall.