Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fa'a Samoa

Pulled this from the Murphy Family's Blog. Too funny (and mostly true) not to repeat.

You know you are a Samoan
Your mother says that at 25, you're too young to have a boyfriend.
Your mother has a better throwing arm than your father.
You find a 6 yr old kid still in diapers playing in front of the house.
Being whacked with a leather belt is considered discipline not child abuse.
At any major function, instead of a plate, your food comes in a box that used to hold a 24 pack of soft drink.
You run into a mountain of shoes/sandals blocking the front door.
You're the only ones swimming at the public pools with t-shirts on.
You can sprint barefoot on sharp stones and rocks.
Your first and last names are the same.
You make that funny kissing sound with your lips when you're trying to get someones attention.
You can speak with your face - (I've seen teens have entire conversations with their eyebrows.)
Your 2 yr old cousin does fe'aus (chores).
You have lava lavas for curtains in your house.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Massacre Bay

On Saturday, a group of us decided to go for a hike. Even though it does not have the best name, we thought the hike to Massacre Bay would be fun. It was suppose to have a nice beach and a monument commemorating the death of a bunch of Frenchmen who died there. Back in 1787, the french visited Am Sam. As they were leaving, they angered the Samoans - not a smart idea. Angry Samoans are not fun people - and the Samoans took out 12 crew members - hence the monument and the name of the Bay. The French killed 39 Samoans, but they don't get a monument. Life is unfair. Once we found the trail head, we started our hike. The warning sign concerned us for a second. The hike down was not that bad - a little muddy and mostly downhill. Markus cut us a path, but Bonnie got the prize for walking the trail down in bare feet. That is one tough lady. It took about an hour and thirty minutes to get to the beach. Any pain from the hike disappeared as soon as we hit the beach. It was a great one.We spent a couple of hours on the beach, and visited the monument. The start of the hike back was a little hard, cause the trail can be confusing - can you find it?Luckily Liz and Markus had marked the trail on the way down, so our confusion only lasted a few minutes. The hike up was not as bad as I thought, but near the end, we wondered when it was going to end - we just kept going and going. We reached the end and had some great views of the island - and a really cool breeze. awesome. I think everyone enjoyed themselves - except maybe Don - I think we wore him out.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hong Kong

After a 10 hour flight (and 11 episodes of Prison Break) I was in Hong Kong. Jordan picked me up at the Express Train Terminal, and after a quick shower, we started to explore the city. One of the first things we did was ride the largest escalator in the world. It was super cool. We then went for dumplings. Totally cool. Eric (friend living in Korea) got to Hong Kong that afternoon. That night we had super awesome Chinese food - as well more dumplings. Can you tell that I like dumplings? That night we walked around Jordan's hood. Hong Kong at night. Kowloon. A very strange sign. I don't think I am going to swim in the harbour. And an even stranger sign. I was shocked that they have San Miguel beer and more shocked that they proudly advertise it. I wonder if they have tried the Am Sam verison. The five of us.Adam & Jordan's building. They have a pug - Bimbom. Really cute and she loved to lay in my suitcase. Adam and Jordan had to work on Friday, so Eric and I went to Macau. Macau like Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region, but instead of the British the Portuguese gave it back a couple of years ago. It was a quick hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, but required an immigration process - another stamp for the passport. We ate at Fernando's on the southern most island - great Portuguese food. We then walked around downtown Macau visiting the Sao Paulo church, or at least what is left of it.We also went to the Macau Tower. It was a little cloudy, but still neat views. We could have bungy jumped off the Tower - I decided to pass - I'll stick with jumping off bridges. Next we went to gamble. Macau is the Asian Las Vegas - and actually surpassed Vegas in terms of gambling revenue. I bet the Communist love that fact. We had no idea what we were doing, so we lost $600 Hong Kong dollars in about 20 minutes at the blackjack table. I was just happy the dealer didn't laugh at us. Jordan had to work on Saturday. What!?! He is a therapist, so he has some weird hours. Adam, Eric and I went to Lantau Island to see the tallest outdoor seated bronze buddha.Not to be confused with the tallest indoor seated bronze buddha. Or the tallest indoor seated wooden buddha (which is in Japan). It was pretty cool. Unfortunately, the gondola was broken - one of the gondola cabins fell off earlier in the week. oops. So we took a ferry then a bus, on a very winding road. yikes. The bus driver was definitely going over the 20 mph Samoan speed limit. Saturday night was a tour of Hong Kong gay bars - six bars in seven hours. We finished up around 5 am. good times. Sunday was a slow day - the major activities included dim sum, getting me a tailor made suit and watching all of the domestic helpers enjoying their day off. By law, the domestic help - normally immigrants from the Philippines or Indonesia have Sunday off. They gather in every public space in Hong Kong and enjoy the day together. Also on Sunday, Eric left for Korea and Adam left for Beijing (for work). We also made it up to the "Peak" one of the taller spots in Hong Kong. Nice view, huh. These are suppose to be koalas climbing up the building.Little different then Pago Pago's cityscape. The tallest building in Am Sam is three stories. We decided not to go to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant at the Peak - can you say random. Instead, we did have Indonesian food with Jordan's really cool friends Jamie & Amanda as well as Amanda's mom and neighbor. I was introduced to an avocado ice drink. Pretty good.On Monday, Jordan and I went to Kowloon - another area of Hong Kong. The view of Hong Kong from the ferry to Kowloon.We went to the "Ladies' Market" were you can get "copy watches" and "copy bags" - I got a watch for $2.94 US. sweet. It is still working, so I think I got my money's worth! It was sort of crazy place - people selling knock off crap for as far as the eye could see - including my favorite - Calvin Klein underwear. Huh? I think I would drawn the line on underwear. My last day in Hong Kong was a nice way to end my trip. First, Hong Kong has developed the most amazing aid for travelers. You can check your bags and get your boarding pass downtown - 24 hours before your departure. It is amazing, and so smooth. I loved it. After I checked in, we met up with Jaime and Amanda. We all got 50 minute foot massages. Kinda wonderful. After an amazing massage - she was darn good - we went for my last meal of dumplings. hmmm. good. I had no problems getting back to Apia - Maximo picked me up at the airport and went to dinner for blue cheese pizza. delicious. However, the next morning my flight from Apia to Pago was all messed up. I was suppose to be on the 9:15 am. However, the Governor of Am Sam showed up with his entourage and they bumped me and five other people from the flight. Thanks governor. You're the best. I got to wait around the Apia airport for another five hours to get on the 3:00 pm flight. Oh well, I am not going to let the governor ruin my trip. Cause it was a great one. Thanks again to Scott, Adam, Jordan and Adam for being great hosts.


My adventure ended as almost as soon as it started. When I checked into my flight to Sydney at the airport in Apia, I was told that I needed a visa to travel to Australia. What!?! Who knew you needed a visa to go down under? Didn't they realize that I am an American, and no one should require an American to apply for a visa? Don't we run the world or something like that, what the heck has Bush being doing these past eight years? Anyway, we were told that we could apply via Internet for the visa. (Sharon and Ben were traveling with me to Australia - but since Ben is an Aussie, he didn't need worry about any stinking visas). We ran to the internet cafe at the the airport. Of course, the webpage was not working. We then called a travel agent, but we needed to be in front of the travel agent, which was farther away then we could go without missing the flight. We finally convinced Poly Blue to help us out, and they were able to use their computer and get a visa for us. whew. We then went to Aggie's by the Sea for a much deserved drink to calm our nerves. All this stress for a stupid piece of paper. I arrived in Sydney at the same time as the worse storm in 30 years. perfect, more rain, cause I certainly don't get enough of that in Am Sam. The storm flooded area north of Sydney and even washed an oil tanker ashore. oops. While in Sydney I stayed with my friends Scott and Adam. Scott and I use to work together many moons ago. Scott and Adam met each other at the Sydney Gay Games a couple years back and Scott quickly moved to Sydney. They have a cute little house in the Surry Hills area of Sydney and a a Laberdoodle - Bella. Bella loves to play ball and she is very good at it. It was nice to play with a dog not covered in sores and ticks. Saturday we walked around the raining city - and visited the Museum and the Opera House.I am told it is somewhat famous. Scott and the City. Hyde Park.Sunday was a clear day, so we did some more walking. Does this mean that children should be cautious of ice cream? Where is this magical place? Monday was a public holiday for the Queen's birthday - so to celebrate we went out dancing till 5 am on Sunday night. I think it is the same thing that the queen did, no? On Monday we went to the mouth of the harborand Bondi Beach.Pretty. Tuesday my hosts had to work, stupid work, so I did some more walking and went to the Aquarium and the Observatory.Despite the cold (it was in the low 50s) and rain, I had a super time. The eating was great (salad, fresh bread, and options) and Scott can make a mean Cosmopolitan. And of course, it was great to see Scott and Adam. On Wednesday I woke up with a cold and left for the second part of my adventure to Hong Kong.