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Published: April 14th 2019
Talofa (Hello) from Pago Pago, American Samoa. Guess what? It is Saturday the 13th
all over again. Confused? Last night we sailed back across the International Dateline and got back the day we skipped a few days ago. We are at Longitude 170 W and Latitude 14 S. We only sailed about 100 miles but it makes a day’s worth of difference. So now we are back on the same day as everyone at home.
Since last night was a short sailing distance we arrived pretty early and our excursion left comparatively early. We set the alarm for 6:00 and had breakfast delivered to the cabin using Room Service. We got Breakfast Biscuits and a pastry, with orange juice and hot tea. We ate on the balcony and watched the scenery as the ship came into port.
We went to the Crown Grill at 7:30 and were once again allowed to stay there when they saw Janet’s walking stick instead of being herded into the Princess Theater with the others. Yesterday there were several couples who came for their excursion check-in and had brought their Pago Pago tickets instead of Apia. Anyway, the crew called our excursion just after 8:00
and we rode the elevator down to the gangway. Then began a bit of a walk as all the buses were parked off the pier and out on the street. But we found our bus and got a good seat in the front.
Our bus, like all the others, was a small school bus style except it was made out of wood. The chassis was probably metal and the outside had an aluminum skin painted in decorative colors, but everything inside was wooden. The sides of the bus were wooden planks, the ceilings were wooden, the bench seats were truly wooden benches with a thin vinyl covering, and even the door was wooden (though it was never closed for the entire trip). The windows were all open and in the event of rain there were sheets of Plexiglas which you could lift up and place in the opening. Does that sound rustic? Actually it was just part of the charm. Now you may suddenly have a negative image in your mind, but it was quite a bit of fun. And fortunately they drove on the right hand side of the road, which was more than you can be said
of Apia (forgot to mention that yesterday).
We headed off as caravan of half a dozen buses, each stopping at the same places at more or less the same time. There were 4 photo-stops of about 10 minutes each. David hopped off and took pictures in each place but Janet stayed on the bus each time and could see pretty well out the window.
The first stop was at the “Flower Pots”. These are a couple of tiny little island which appear near the coast with lots of vegetation on top. In reality these are the tops of a couple of volcanic knolls which had been part of the main island many years ago but they and the island have gradually sunk/eroded until these few are standing alone just off the coast a bit above sea level.
The second stop was at a park along the shore with a nice view of the coast. There were also a small set of somewhat primitive restrooms in case anyone needed them. The third stop was at a resort which has been converted to a banquet/reception center along the coast. They had another good view of the coastline and everyone
was able to walk along the shore for short distances. They also sold drinks and souvenir t-shirts. Apparently it is a very popular location for parties and this was just a side-job for them. That raises the subject that our guide said they only have about a dozen cruise ships a year (seems pretty low to our thinking) but that may be why everyone was so happy to have visitors with a fresh supply of dollars.
location was at a Tsunami memorial where a huge wave did lots of damage in 2009. Again we had a chance to take pictures and it certainly had a good view of the coast.
Finally we took a rather rough road to the inner island. Up until now we had been following the only road that runs along the coast. We had gone past the only shopping plaza, the only police station, the only junior college (the 4-yr college went bankrupt so anyone going to finish a degree has to leave the island), past the only airport with its one runway, the only hospital, and generally past the only one of many different things. It got to be a running
joke on the bus. At last we reached a “family center” where they were preparing a demonstration of family life in Samoa.
We sat in chairs under a tent and prepared for a demonstration. Just to be helpful with their economy, David went ahead and got one of the local Samoa beers – it was pretty good. Then we got to watch them prepare a meal cooked in a fire on the ground and covered with large banana leaves to keep the heat enclosed. Finally we got to sample some of the food which had previously been prepared. They had breadfruit, coconut, mangos, bananas, chicken, tuna, and cocoa drink. Then there was a singing and dancing demonstration by a few of the family members. At the end it was traditional for a couple of guest to help perform the “welcoming dance”. They drafted a couple of people from the audience since there were no volunteers. This is when we suddenly remembered the rule about NEVER sitting in the front row. Yes, they drafted David. He got up in front of the whole group and made a real fool of himself, but fortunately Janet did not know how to use
his camera. Unfortunately she pulled out her Kindle and took a picture anyway. To help with the authenticity of the dance he was given a lava-lava (a traditional wrap worn by that men and women in Samoa) to wear – and he got to keep it. Anyway, this just disproves the famous saying: “whatever happens in Pago Pago, stays in Pago Pago".
Back on the bus we returned to the ship and got back on board just about noon. Janet only wanted some cheese and crackers, with a glass of iced tea and a chocolate milk shake. So David brought those down from the Lido deck and Janet got to rest and eat in the cabin. He also observed that today was Mexican Day on the buffet, so he made a 2nd
trip and got tacos and a pork enchilada. With a coke from the refrigerator then he had a good lunch with Janet.
Then we basically collapsed in the cabin and took a nap. David had been planning to go to the pool to rest and cool down, but we fell asleep in the cabin for a long nap. Janet watched a couple of movies and did
some needlework during the afternoon (Ice Age-3, and Ralph Kills the Internet). After his nap David (no he did not sleep all afternoon) did a little bit of stuff on the computer and then went up on deck to take pictures when we got ready to sail. It had gotten cooler - probably around 80 – because of some clouds. The TV said it was 86 when we left this morning, but happily it didn’t seem as hot as yesterday. Anyway, we sailed about 4:00 and David took a few pictures while sailing from Pago Pago.
After a couple of quick showers and changing for dinner, we were off to the dining room. Tonight we both had the Prime Rib, after having appetizers of Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato Soup, and Caesar Salad. Afterward Janet had ice cream and David had Cheesecake.
This evening’s main entertainment in the Theater was a hypnotist’s show. We have seen similar shows on other cruises and haven’t been especially entertained, so we stayed in the cabin and watched another movie. It was “Old Man with a Gun”, staring Robert Redford. That finishes our report from American Samoa.
Tomorrow is a Sea Day
and we should have plenty of time to sort through all the Samoan pictures and get them posted for both Apia and Pago Pago. Good night for now
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