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Published: August 9th 2018
We are very tired after yesterday’s travel so we sleep in and decide to spend the day relaxing.
We swim in the shallows from the beach in front of the hotel. There’s lots of sharp coral underfoot and we spy the occasional fish. We dry off and set up shop on sun lounges under another small wooden umbrella shaped structure on the beach. Just as I’m about to shut my eyes I spot a large bunch of coconuts in the tree directly above my head. I think that they mightn’t be too pleased that they just missed killing Issy yesterday, and they’ve now decided to take their revenge out on me. I tell Issy that we need to move the sun lounges so that our heads are completely under the structure. She moves hers, which is on wheels, but mine has been bolted firmly to the central upright and I can’t get it to budge. Issy tells me that I shouldn’t worry. She says that she’s pretty sure that a coconut falling on my head from that height would kill me instantly, so I wouldn’t feel a thing. Somehow I don’t find this all that reassuring.
We have lunch
and then wander along the road through the village next to the hotel. We see lots of horses, cows, pigs, chickens and dogs roaming contentedly in amongst the fales; at least I assume they’re contented. I wonder if rabid dogs can be contented. We decide to play it safe and give them a wide berth. The beach in front of the village looks idyllic, but to get to it we need to cross a small strip of private looking land. We’ve been warned not to stray onto private land in Samoa without first asking for the owner’s permission, and that even a lot of the beaches here are private land. We can’t see anyone to ask. I wonder what they do to you if you stray onto someone’s property without permission. We decide that today is not the day that we want to find out.
We’ve read quite a bit about Samoan etiquette. Most Samoans sit on the floor when they’re at home, and if you need to talk to them you need to sit down too as it is considered very rude to talk to anyone while your eyes are above theirs. When you sit down you mustn’t
under any circumstances point your feet at anyone; you need to cross your legs or fold them under you "yoga style", or as a last resort cover them with a mat. We’ve also read that it’s quite common for villagers to invite random strangers into their homes. As we walk through the village we watch nervously for any signs that we might be about to be invited in anywhere. My knees are way past being able to do yoga poses or much else in the way of bending, and we forgot to bring a supply of mats with us, so if we get any invitations I think that running away might be the only thing we can do to avoid causing severe offence. Thankfully no one seems to be taking too much interest in us.
I venture out to take some pictures of yet another stunning sunset, and get chatting to a New Zealand couple. They tell me that this is their sixth trip to Samoa, and that she is here for the distance ocean swimming. We spoke to some Australian ladies on the ferry yesterday who said that they were here for this as well. It seems that
long distance ocean swimming is a big thing here in Samoa. The ladies we’ve spoken too all look to be in their fifties or sixties and not particularly athletic, but if they’re to be believed they routinely swim ten kilometres or so through the open ocean without batting an eyelid. I don’t see how anyone could swim ten kilometres through the open ocean. I think I’m reasonably fit and I reckon I’d struggle to complete a lap of a fifty metre pool. I wonder what they do if they come across a shark. I think that I need to stop wondering about this, and just be in awe of their ability and courage.
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