February 26


 I had forgotten how long and hard the trip is to Samoa.  We left State College on Monday, February 24 at 7:15 am and arrived in Apia, Samoa on Tuesday at 2:25 am.  We arrived in Asau around 2:00 pm on Tuesday.  The flight time was about 17 hours, ferry time of about 50 mins., bus ride of 45 min. and truck ride of 2 hours.  That left lots of waiting time at airports and the ferry.  The entire trip took about 38 hours, plus or minus.  During that time we got very little sleep and of course in the excitement of the trip neither Tai nor I slept much the night before we left.  I figure that we went almost three days without any sleep. 

It is easy to forget how humid Samoa is.  I was soaked in sweat within a few minutes of leaving the airplane in Apia.  I remember in 1968 getting off Pan American Airlines in Pago Pago and as I stepped out of the airplane it felt as if I had just opened an oven as the heat and humidity hit me.  It wasnít much different this time except that we arrived in the early morning hours and the humidity was a little less oppressive.  I have lived in and traveled to other tropical locations but have never been in any place as humid as the islands.  All-in-all, the heat and humidity is a better alternative to what we left in State College.  We traded the remnants of 14 inches of snow and grey Centre County skies for white sand beaches and blue skies.  I think it was somewhere around 19 degrees when we left for the airport and there were predictions of snow for later that day.  The high today was 91. 

The last two times I visited Samoa I approached the trip with some apprehension with the fear that I would be disappointed.  Each time my fears have been unfounded and the ferry ride helped to reinforce how beautiful the islands are.  The first thing that strikes you is the colors.  There are three dominate colors in Samoa; green, blue, and white.  The sky is a clear robin egg blue that darkens as it reaches the horizon and is broken up by high white thunderhead clouds that run from cotton white to a dark grey.  The sea is several shades of blue.  On the reefs the water is turquoise and emerald depending on the depth.  As you get to the deeper areas the sea turns a royal blue that reminds me of the ink we used in schools in the days of fountain pens.  From a distance all you see of the islands is various shades of green.  The rich vegetation covers any other man made or natural colors that might be there.  The exceptions are the lava fields that introduce black to an otherwise green landscape.  The flowers are made even more beautiful by the contrasting green vegetation. 

We are staying in Taiís sistersí house in Asau, Savaii.  Samoa is made up of two principle islands with Savaii being the largest, but the most remote.  Asau is near the western end of the island is one of the more remote villages. Life here is still very traditional and the area is less developed than on the main island, Upolu.

 We didnít do much today except getting some much needed rest.  I got up at 5:00 am for a walk and jog and didnít accomplish much other than wake a lot of dogs and scare some pigs.  Later Tai and I went down to the Methodist Church in the center of the village to watch performances being put on by the young women of the church for a district meeting of the womanís auxiliary.  These were choreographed to traditional hymns as well as a rousing version of Cucaracha.  Not very Samoan, but lots of fun.   This afternoon I watched one of the women of the family weave a mat.  This is all hand done and takes weeks to complete.  

It is now overcast and trying to rain.  I expect that we will have a heavy rain shower soon.  There is distant thunder and you can smell the ozone.

 Tofa, George