28 August 2013
We decided to stay at our rather posh but budget-priced hotel, since neither of us wants to be eaten all night long by blood-thirsty insects. Tuesday was rainy, so we had a nice relaxing day around the hotel. (http://www.jetoverhotel.com/)
The lagoon, which is bright aqua on a sunny day, turns into a moody pewter color on a rainy day. Add the wind and and incoming tide, and the smooth mirror of water turns into a choppy wave basin! Throw in some atmospheric grey clouds and a bit of rain, and suddenly this peaceful tropical lagoon looks threatening - especially with what looks like a floating island in the center, eerily hovering on top of the water.
We've had fun with the restaurant at our hotel - apparently, when the kitchen runs out of an item, they'll make what might seem like a logical substitution. So our first lunch, I ordered a BLT - a bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich, hold the mayo, on whole wheat toast. Apparently the kitchen was out of lettuce - the sandwich arrived with thinly sliced cucumber. Not bad, but different. Richard's burger came with thinly sliced cukes, too - even though he requested no lettuce - but I guess, since he didn't request no cucumber, well, that was added. Next day, the BLT turned into a ham, tomato, cucumber sandwich. It cracks us up - somehow the meal always seems to have a surprise twist!
Yesterday, though, the pipes in the kitchen/dining area sprang a leak, and so by evening the water was turned off. It was on by morning, but the breakfast buffet was moved so the plumbers could cut holes in the ceiling to find the source of the major leak. Yup, we ate our morning fruit and toast while plumbers' legs dangled out of holes in the ceiling. It took three or four holes to find the source of all the water, and all is fixed by now - but just one more funny episode here.
Today, we picked up our car, a RAV 4, and made a complete circuit around the island of Savaii. Savaii (sah-VIE-ee) is a volcanic island, so there aren't a lot of beaches - the NE corner has some beaches, and there are a few in the NW corner as well as the SW corner - but inbetween the coast is all kinds of igneous rocks, and along the south shore you can see very cool
lava flows out into the ocean.
The ferry comes in at the SE corner, and our hotel is just a tiny bit north of there. This corner is probably the busiest - the various villages are lumped together as "town" and there are more businesses, banks, schools, local buses painted in all kinds of bright colors, and people in this general area of the island.
We headed north along the east side of Savaii, and mostly admired the views, with a few stops to stretch our legs. We never quite made it to a beach, since many of the beaches have resorts on them, and you need to pay a fee to spend time on the beach. But we had lunch overlooking one of the prettiest beaches we found, and we may go back tomorrow. (Or we might go to the blowholes down south.) It was just one of those idyllic locations that you find on tropical islands, where it looks like some kind of perfect airbrushed movie set instead of reality: white sand, aqua water, reef creating a breakwater so the lagoon is like a pool, people frolicking in the lagoon. As I said, movie set perfect!
Anyway, we continued around the north side to the NW corner, where there is a short canopy tour. But don't let the word "short" fool you - we went in and I paid for myself. Richard stayed at the front and read, hanging out with the men who run this small business. I was assigned a tour guide, who walked with me through the forest to the site of the canopy tour. This turned into a major test of my will and fortitude!
First, we climbed a tall metal structure that has a spiral staircase. I have vertigo problems, so twirling up a spiral staircase that is open on all sides is not a good option - but I wanted to challenge myself, so I did it, holding on to the railing with one hand and a step with the other. At the top (a good four storeys high) we paused so I could take a photo of the bridge, and we could catch our breath. (And I tried not to look down.)
Yes, this is a bridge that is basically ladders, end to end, held up by some kind of steel cable, with maybe 2" x 8" boards, also running end to end - all encased in what looked like fishnets so if you fall sideways you hopefully won't fall down. Yup, with rope on both sides so you feel like you're at least holding on to something. I crossed this very bizarre, makeshift hanging bridge, hanging on to the ropes for dear life, trying not to look down but still place my feet carefully as the whole contraption swung tilted bounced, and I let out a periodic squeak of pure panic. Ugh! I finally made it to the wooden platform on the other side, high up in a banyon tree - and I heard Tiu, my guide, cheering from the other end of the bridge! All I could do was laugh!
Of course, Tiu nimbly walked across this monstrosity of a bridge in about 5 seconds, and then we could climb another 5 or 6 or 8 flights of wooden steps up the tree, with wood railings to cling to. We rose up above the neighboring trees, until we were on a platform maybe 400 meters (1200 feet!) above the ground. O.M.G!!!!! The view in all directions was amazing, and I walked back and forth, looking everywhere but down! I could see the ocean on three sides, and it looked as if we were at eye level with the mountains in the middle of the island. Absolutely gorgeous, but, still, scary.
Then we walked down the wood stairs, to the lower platform. Instead of taking the bridge again, there was a stair option, so I went with that - steep, narrow steps, steps so small even my feet hung over the edge, as I clung to the wood railing and walked slowly down. And then I was back on the ground, with my legs weak and trembling from this ordeal.
But was it worth it? Totally!!!!!