Sunday, October 29, 2006

On the DL

Sadly, no fun weekend adventure stories. Some bad milk on Friday knocked me out for most of the weekend. I will not go into the gory details, it is not that kind of blog. Feeling much better now thanks to my old friend Pepto-Bismol. Never chugged it before, but I thought at the time it was necessary. That pink little liquid is magic.

My Best Friend

My Worst Enemy
I guess I should have known better when the milk comes in a box and the cow looks like it survived Chernobyl. oh well.

I did have one little adventure. When I went to take a shower this morning, I found this guy waiting to shower with me. I would have preferred someone else. oh well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Moso'oi Regatta

Looking for some type of physical activity beyond running in tropical heat, I stumbled upon Paddling. Actually, stumbled might not the best word. My friend Mary has been doing it for a couple of months, and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would give it a try.
What is Paddling? Beyond a punishment for rowdy English pupils, it is basically a type of kayaking. We do it in six person outrigger canoes. It is a lot of fun, but a lot work. You work muscles that you normally never use, and the key is all about timing - you need to be in sync with the other paddlers. Easier said then done. I have only been doing it for about a month - I go twice a week, however, I participated in my first race on Saturday.

The Pago Pago Yacht Club sponsored a race - the Moso'oi Regatta. Don't ask me what Moso'oi means. One of the teams need an extra person. It was the Pacific Horizons team (a local private school). The division was the social team division, which was perfect for me. Sadly, we did not win - but it was a good time had by all.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Addict to Reality (TV)

As many of you know, I have a horrible addiction - to reality TV. Most of the obsession is centered on "high brow" series like Amazing Race, Survivor and Project Runway, but I have sunk to such levels as MTV's 8th & Ocean and the the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency on Oxygen. ouch. I have tried many things, including law school, in an attempt to break the habit. It only got worse with Tivo, oh I miss you Tivo. Travis, I hope you are giving her a good home.

It looked like my year in American Samoa might be the detox I needed to cure me of this horrible affliction. Am. Sam. does have Cable TV, but like all things Am. Sam. it is totally random. Am. Sam. Cable provides about 20 stations, but they are on a two week delay. It appears that someone records Cable TV in San Fransisco (in the last month they started taping TV in Hawaii) and sends it to Am. Sam. I am still wondering about the copyright issues as well as the poor guy recording all of this TV. The delay includes the local news. random. I also learned that the Cable company is out of cable converters, so even if I wanted to get Cable (on my 13 inch TV), I was unable to get it. Okay, looks like my addiction might be cured.

But like any good addict, I looked for other sources. I turned to the fine TV companies that air the wonderful shows. This avenue looked very promising because more and more stations are creating streaming video broadband sites where one can watch these programs through the Internet. While the Internet here is one step above dial-up (a very small step at that), it still looked like it might work. Sadly, the TV executives never got a copy of the Treaty of Cession between Samoa and the United States clearly stating that the Samoa is part of the United States - hence the American of American Samoa. Wrongly believing that we are not part of the United States, these "bastard people" (please see movie Waiting for Guffman to fully enjoy phrase) have blocked the broadcast of these quality shows to areas "outside the United States" - fine, be that way. Strike Two - perhaps I will finally be cured? So help me if Guam gets US TV over the Internet, damn you Guam! I am still drafting my strongly worded letter to the executives of ABC to broadcast Dancing with the Stars over the Internet in Samoa. Here is a clip from my phone call to FOX in attempt to get Nanny 911 in Samoa.

I began to go underground - due to the dial-up nature of our Internet connection, it would take close to five hours to download a TV show through the peer to peer networks. I first thought about it, but realized that even that was a bit extreme for me. I think I am really growing here in Am. Sam. Then I found the motherload - For those not "hip" to the latest Internet fad, it is a site where people can post short videos. Some people have a lot of free time, cause some of the stuff on this site is just plain weird.
I told you. However, in addition to the random videos, some very, very wise people have decided to post TV shows. The withdraw pains disappeared, sweet, sweet medicine. I have been able to keep up to date with the Amazing Race, Survivor and America's Next Top Model. As a bonus, new episodes of Lost are also being posted. While watching a show in nine minute segments, and sometimes having to wait for it to load can be annoying, it is still totally worth it.

I am still having trouble finding my MTV shows, where are you Laguna Beach!?!, but I am keeping the faith. I still have hope that someday I will beat this addiction, but realized that going cold turkey was not the right method for me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Brrrrr...Its Cold in Here.

It looks like I am getting pay back for my mocking of winter weather back on the mainland. A storm front moved in yesterday. Heavy rain, but even worse is the wind. It dropped the temperature to around 76 degrees. I got cold during the night AND I am wearing a long sleeve shirt to work. crazy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sliding Rock - American Samoa Style

This Saturday's adventure took us to an area called Sliding Rock. It is a large lava field right on the ocean. Nature carved out some pools where you can swim and look at the fish. I am told that the pools are normally protected by the crashing waves, but we went during high tide and at the start of a storm. No protection, but some neat views of nature.

The pool is located on the right side of the photo and the waves would crash in front of the large lava mound in the center of the photo.
We did go swimming in the pool. Stupid palagis. A wave would crash over into the far end of the pool and the current would really push you. It was cool feeling, but one that we only did a few times - some of the waves got really big, and none of us wanted to be taken out to sea.

Unlike the sliding rock area in Indy Samoa, I didn't really figure out why it was called sliding rock. However, after both Sean and I fell on the slippery algae covered rocks, I figured out the full name of the place - sliding (onto your butt) rocks. I now have matching bruises on my bottom from the two Samoan sliding rock places, thanks Samoa! Of course, the day ended with dollar ice cream. Might be the best part of the day.
Jessi dreaming the day away as the waves crash.

Disclaimer: I forgot my camera, so all photos taken by Coletti clan. No reproduction of images without express written permission from Coletti clan. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I thought it would be important to take the time to mock my friends back in Chicago. I noticed that Chicago got its first snow fall of the year! Ha-Ha! And the weather in American Samoa? Sunny high of 85, with a slight breeze. I said Ha-Ha!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Holiday in the Other Samoa

We did not have to work on Columbus Day - yes Samoans celebrate Columbus Day, not sure why, but I don't ask these kinds of questions - in fact, Samoans celebrate most holidays. I get a total of 13 paid holidays in addition to the 24 vacation days. nice, huh. Anyway, due to the long weekend a group of us decided to go to Independent Samoa. Independent Samoa, or Indy Samoa, is a 35 minute plane ride from American Samoa. It has the same cultural heritage as Am. Sam. but thanks to the wonderful system of colonialism, the island chain was divided between the Germans and the United States. good times.
The final head count was 14 people - I guess palagis like to travel in packs.
The Palagi Crew - Back Row: Sharon, Ben, Gonzolo, Nate, Maximo, Jonas & Niki. Front Row: Jeff & Meredith, and Sebastian (seabass). Not pictured: Fred, Steve, Taylor and me.

We all arrived on Friday - most in the morning, but I got a late afternoon flight. I am still adjusting to flight travel in Samoa. I only had one bag, which is rare for Samoan travel, most families take the maximum amount of luggage and it is normally at the maximum weight. It is also necessary to get weighed, so they can evenly place the weight on the plane. Security is also fun, we walked around the X-ray machine and after a quick glance at my bag, I got on the plane.
My usual nickname of Weaver or Weave has been quickly adopted by my friends here, but in Samoa - it is THE Weave. I guess cause I am a "High Clerk" I get an article in front of my name. I mention this because as soon as I got out of customs, I heard shouts of THE Weave through out the terminal. Most everyone at the airport turned to look at the celebrity - me. The group picked me up at the airport in the taxi van we had rented for the weekend. There is no greater ride in Samoa then a 14 person taxi van.

Maximo drove the entire weekend, god bless him

Ben waiting at the local 7-11 for supplies - mainly Vailima Beer. We made regular stops.

After the airport pickup, we headed to Papasee'a Sliding Rock. It is an old lava field where one can slide down different parts of the lava rock into a fresh water pool. Very refreshing and a ton of fun. The slide does have a bit of a bump - I now have a large bruise on my bottom. ouch. The walk back up the 200 steps, not as fun.

We next headed into Apia, the capital city. After living in Pago, Apia looked like a huge metropolis. It had a traffic circle, multi-lane traffic and even stop lights. crazy. We stayed at the Pasifika Inn and went to dinner at a Italian restaurant - really good pizza. I miss pizza. Am. Sam. does have a Pizza Hut, but it is just not the same. After dinner we went to a couple of bars including one that looked like it was someone house. Fun had by all.

The next day we left Apia and went to the Piula Cave Pools. Formed by lava, it is a fresh water pool, that is super clear and filled with fish. I had a total deja vu moment, because I had been to the Cave Pools ten years before when I did the Semester at Sea South Pacific program. Two caves are connected by an underwater passage near the back of the cave, spooky. The water is so clear and my legs are so white that while in the water it looked like my legs were radioactive. It is fun to be a circus freak. An old church above the cave pool.
After a nice swim, we went to Coconut Beach Resort for lunch. A fancy resort, and we were anything but fancy. oh well, no one cares in Samoa. We spent about three hours at the Resort, no rush to do anything. We then drove to the far southeast part of the island - Lalomanu Village. On the Road in Indy Samoa:

At Lalomanu, we stayed in mini-fales right on the beach. The fale was a little hut wrapped with plastic sheeting and a mattress for each person. The beach was beautiful. Very sandy and deep water, so you could actually swim, unlike most places in Am. Sam. We stayed for two nights. The first night was a full moon. It was clear as day, I could have read a book, I didn't, but you could. Due to a little mix up in our group (too many chiefs, not enough communication), Sharon, Ben and I had been bumped from our fale. Ben found room with the Argentines, and Sharon and I bunked with Jeff & Meredith. Four people and two twin mattresses does not make a restful night sleep, we were literally sleep on each other, at one point, I kicked Sharon off our shared mattress - oops sorry. The highlight was the ghost stories told by Jeff. Does anyone remember the man with the gold arm ghost story? Jeff and I could not remember it. If anyone remembers, please post it as a comment - thanks. The second night, Ben, Sharon and I got our own fale. Pretty sweet waking up and looking out onto the beach and the ocean.
Lalomanu Beach
Our Fale
Sunday morning we spent at the Lalomanu beach-a lazy morning for us. We snorkeled, swam, enjoyed paradise. We next went to Le Pupu-pue National Park. The park has a bunch of waterfalls with deep fresh water pools. So deep that you could jump off the ledges into the pools. The highest jump was about 25-30 feet. At first, my legs would not move, but when are you going to have the opportunity to jump into a fresh water pool at the base of a waterfall? So I jumped, sorry mom. We also crawled under one of the waterfalls into a little cave behind it. I had another little scare - got stuck in a downpour of water and had a little trouble getting out. Not has bad as the ava at Ofu, but I am sticking with a theme of near death experiences when I travel. good times. I can visualize the gray hair growing on my mom's head. again, sorry mom.

The Path to the Waterfalls Looking down from the ledge and Jeff taking the plunge. Steve jumps, Sharon jumps, I jump.
After the waterfalls, we went to another resort - Sinalei Reef Resort - for lunch. We spent most of the day at the resort - partially because Fred dropped the keys to the other car in the water. A bunch of people snorkeled for about an hour looking for them. In the end, Ben found them.

Enjoying a cocktail at Sinalei The view from Sinalei

The next morning we went to the Black Sand beach. The beach was one of the most beautiful places I have seen. The sand was really smooth and the water was great. We body surfed for a while. I realized why the beach was still so nice and underdeveloped. The road to the beach was one step above a dirt track. We went through deep water and at one point had to get out of the van in order for the van to get up a hill. good times. It was well worth the bumpy ride.

The "road" to the black sand beach.
We had to head back to the airport because some had an early flight. A slight delay when the car overheated, but we made it. The rest of us on the later flight went to another resort - Aggie's by the Sea for a late lunch. Then off the airport. I felt bad for the other passengers on the flight, because I stunk. I realized that I had not used a cleaning product on my skin since early Saturday morning. oh well. At least I looked better then the inside of our van. yuck.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Your Local News, Later

While I realize that this blog keeps the reader up to date on events in my life in American Samoa, I am sure you are constantly asking yourself - what else is going on in American Samoa? You are in luck my friend. We have a daily paper that provides all the local coverage that you demand - The Samoa News. Perfect. Even better, you can get the Samoan News on-line at I should warn you, that the Samoan News On-Line is on a bit of a delay and the articles are from two weeks earlier, but sometimes it feels like the entire island is on a two week delay, so it doesn't really matter.
So what kind of coverage can you expect from Samoa News? Only the best, the hard hitting in-depth reporting you expect from newspapers like the New York Times or the Washington Post. For example, actual headlines for today, Wednesday, October 4, 2006:

"Public Works crew looking for huge boulders and rocks to complete Leloaloa seawall project"

"Play McDonald's 2006 MONOPOLY for a change to win $5 million!"

Please contact the Public Works crew if know of any huge rocks available. The other big headlines of today, beyond the Election Office being open on Columbus Day, is that the Governor's mansion was vandalized. It appears that vandals broke into the empty mansion (currently being renovated) and smeared banana sap through out the house. It appears banana sap is the Samoan equivalent to spray paint on the mainland. No worries, a five-member special board as been appointed to investigate and the evil-doer will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

And finally, a gem from Samoa News, Friday, September 29, 2006, Sports Section -

In an article about the Rotary Club's annual golf tournament to help for the construction of a community swimming pool, and the need for Samoa to have a pool, the Club President states "Over the past years, more than 100 people have drowned in American Samoa. The territory could really use a swimming pool." Huh?

Say Good Bye to Mr. Cracky

Got my windshield fixed on Monday. The kind people at Haleck Island Motors fixed up my Nissan. I still have not named my car yet, can't rush these things, but I did name the large hole in my windshield - Mr Cracky. Okay, perhaps not a very original or even good name, but it made me laugh. But now, Mr. Cracky is gone. I am still pursuing the little rascal that threw the rock into my windshield, but it is a slow process.

I dropped off my car in the morning and the repair guy asked me if I wanted to wait or if they would call me when it was done. I told them to call me, but I asked if it would be done today. They said they would try. what? What happens if I decided to wait. Do they provide a cot and dinner? perhaps breakfast the next morning. Luckily, it was done that day.

Sean and I took the bus from work to home, so Jessi could drive us to Haleck Motors. Thanks Jessi. Sean had taken the bus many times before when he didn't have a car the first two weeks. However, it was my first time on a bus. It was amazing.

The local buses are owned by the driver. The rides can range from 25 cents to a whole dollar. ouch. The structure of the bus is what makes it fun. Most of the buses are converted trucks where a wooden frame is placed on top of the back. It is then covered with sheet metal. To signal your stop, you knock on the wood frame. You need to duck down to enter and then walk up to get to the seating area. The passenger seats are higher then the driver. It looks like the driver is seating on the floor, but he is simply seating where you would be if this was a normal truck. It is hard to describe. As private buses, the owners take pride in their bus and really decorate and paint it up nice.

The bus above, is more of a modern bus because it was actually built as a bus. Many of the others are smaller, and simply have a wood frame (covered by sheet metal) for the passenger compartment.

The highlight of the ride is the audio system on each bus. The buses are hooked up for sound. I am not sure why, but the drivers play really loud music on the bus, normally some sort of fast tempo Samoan music or rap music and with the bass or treble really high. It can make your ears bleed. A fellow passenger brought along ear plugs - a smart move. It is also fun to watch the driver change the compact disk, while driving on the really curvy roads - safety first!

I can't wait for my next bus ride.