Published: June 8th 2012June 8th 2012
Well I've been on a bit of an adventure. After my last blog, I went on from Mount Cook to Rangitata. The bus stops there because there is some amazing white water rafting but unfortunately, because it's Winter in New Zealand now, that was shut and we spent most of the day watching DVDs and playing board games.
I flew from Christchurch to Auckland a couple of days later and during my time in Auckland I managed to watch a film at the cinema (on my own - a new experience!), go on a bus tour of the city and bungy jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Yes, that's right, the one thing I said I would never do. But I have to admit that it was great fun. I was absolutely terrified before jumping off having just watched the only male in our group back out. But what an experience; it felt great, just like jumping off a really really high diving board. And then bouncing back up. I was smiling for the rest of the day.
I had to get up early the next day to fly to the Pacific Island of Samoa. Once
I arrived, I was picked up by the family with whom I was staying. I was given the guest seat in the front of the pick up van while my host's wife and daughter rode in the back. This is very common as I was to learn! Their place was on the South coast of Upolu island and I was to stay there for four days. It was very isolated with very little in the local area other than a beach and lots of pigs and chickens. I slept in a fale which is essentially a thatched roof with open walls, although there are blinds you can pull down. As you can probably imagine with those animals around it took me a while to get to sleep and I woke up early. It didn't help that it bucketed down with rain most of the time I was there as well.
The second day I was in Samoa was June 1st - the day that Samoans celebrate gaining their independance from New Zealand. There was a UB40 concert in the capital city- Apia, which my host family were going to so I tagged along in the pick up truck (this
time there were seven people sitting in the back). The concert was good but I can't say I knew many of the songs. My knowledge of UB40 was limited to Red, Red Wine. Although their songs were played fairly regularly on the radio so I definitely know a couple more now. It was great to be at the celebrations - it was such a busy concert. Samoans don't get much live music so the stands at their national Rugby ground were packed as well as the pitch being full of people standing. A lot of people!
When I left the place I had been staying, I caught a lift with 3 Kiwi medical students I had met to the Wharf. We were headed to Savai'i island which lies West of Upolu. I was only staying there for one night so in spite of the rain that was lashing down, I went on a cycle ride to explore a bit more of the island. I got very very wet and only had a cold shower when I got back to where I was staying. This is also pretty common for Samoa - I only stayed one place with a hot
shower during my whole stay.
Before taking the boat back to Upolu the next day I went to visit Lano beach, which is supposed to be the most pretty of all the beaches in Samoa. Fortunately, it was actually sunny so I managed a swim and a quick lie in the sun before heading back.
The next place I stayed was a little more like a homestay than a hostel. The family lived downstairs and they had rooms upstairs for travellers. The family were lovely - there were 5 kids, 2 of whom were mid teens and the rest were under 5. I had lots of fun playing with them. Their English was exceptionally good as well, we had a fun game where they would shout an animal at me and I would have to pretend to be that animal and chase them around. Yeah I am a big kid really.
While I was staying with the family I decided I wanted to see more of Upolu island so I hired a car to have a look around. I drove 150km mostly along the coastline. I stopped at beaches, caves, waterfalls and just at the side of
the road sometimes to look at the spectaular scenery. Hopefully the photos will give you some idea of what the island looks like.
For my last night in Samoa, I decided to treat myself to a little luxury and booked into the famous (in Samoa terms) Aggie Grey's hotel in Apia. It was beautiful, I had a huge room to myself and went to the gym for the first time since I left home over two months ago. It had a lovely big swimming pool and a great selection of cocktails! I spent most of my last day at the Hotel but I did get out to the market in town to buy myself a couple of big flowery hair clips.
My flight back to New Zealand took off at 01:50 this morning and arrived at 05:00 so I am pretty shattered right now! I can't check in until 2 o clock this afternoon either so I think it might be coffee time.
Lots of love to you all and I hope everyone in the UK enjoyed their 2 days off and any celebrations they may have had xxxx
Okay so a lot of the photos
I just uploaded are in the wrong order or have the wrong titles but my credit for internet time is about to run out so sorry if it's really confusing!!
There are more photos below