Carelbi in Western Samoa

Mon 25 Sep 2006 21:46
                        CARELBI IN WESTERN SAMOA


There was an excellent crafts market where we bought Christopher a beautiful but fearsome, carved bludgeon called a faaa a'ufala. I defy you to pronounce the word correctly... each vowel has to be uttered separately!



The fruit and vegetable market


On our way back to Carelbi we came across a street obviously named after me!



The lives of most Pacific people still centre around their churches and there are some lovely ones to be seen...


For lunch we stopped at a resort which had been badly misplaced on the map. We drove up and down the coast road, being cheerfully and helpfully misdirected until we finally found the sign in a completely different village and hidden cunningly in the bushes. We were most relieved, as there was nowhere else to eat without driving all the way back to Apia the full width of the island.


Sadly we had to say goodbye to Anders in Samoa, he was returning to Denmark to take up his university studies again to become a doctor. However, a Kiwi friend called Stephen flew in to take his place and sail with us to Brisbane where we plan to arrive in October.


There was little lighting on stage and I apologise for the dark quality of these photos. The dancers were really superb and performed separate men and women's dances as well as some together. It is a shame that the purpose of the dancing is not explained beforehand, as most songs and dances tell of events in ordinary people's lives, like fishing in their canoes, tilling in the fields, falling in love, tending their children, going to war...


At the end of the show some of the audience  were pulled on to the stage to dance. I'm really enjoying myself here.!

Apia is the delightful but seedy little capital of Western Samoa, and we were quickly checked in by Customs, and able to go wandering along its waterfront to find Immigration and a cafe. It is always wonderful when you touch land after a passage to find a nice cafe, order coffee or, better in the Pacific, a fruit smoothie, and sit and watch the world go by. We were also in dire need of fresh provisions, fruit and vegetables as it was some time since we had last shopped in French Polynesia. Carelbi is anchored here in the middle of Apia Harbour.



The buses were really beautiful, all gaily coloured and full of Fijians coming to market from their villages or leaving with their bags bursting.


When we visited the market it was pouring with rain. Rain doesn't seem to bother people here much, it's usually warm and the sun will dry out your clothes really quickly. You can mainly see huge piles of Taro roots in this photo, which is a very untasty substitute for  our potato.



We hired a car for the day to visit the island, but seriously misjudged the weather. It sheeted down with rain most of the time. This view of a little beach was the one respite of the day when we stopped for morning coffee and a smidgeon of blue sky.


Despite the weather our resort still looked romantic! You can see little bures ( hotel bedrooms) over the water and the beach that they overlook.


On our last evening we went to a local club/restaurant where young people are trained in their national dances and perform for the general public every Friday night.


I hope you can see this photo properly. This night we watched probably the best fire dancing that we have ever seen. Young Samoan men whirling long batons, torches flaming at both ends, often one in each hand, in the most complicated rhythms and gestures to the solo sound of drumbeats, sometimes flinging them high into the air and catching them without a pause or passing them between their legs and behind their backs. Their dexterity was incredible. 



We left Samoa the following morning, next stop Neiafu, capital of the Vava'u group of Tongan islands, a place which has many good memories for us from previous visits. We had really enjoyed being in Samoa and much appreciated the friendliness and good humour of its inhabitants.