I think every holiday has one portion that you’d just like to forget. In the early hours of the 9th, my stomach decided to rebel against me. Papa M was worried but I felt much better afterwards and just wanted a sleep. In the morning he went to breakfast alone, bringing me back a Sprite that I stirred until flat and then drank. We went to check out and the computer system was down, thus requiring us to make alternative arrangements to get our bill sent to us. We got to the ferry terminal and despite faded signs and our guidebook saying that we needed to get the underside of our car sprayed, it wasn’t happening. We’re so used to the New Zealand way of loads of instructional signs, check ins and service that we really were at a loss as of what to do. We parked the car in a line of cars that appeared to be waiting for the ferry and sat there in the heat for an hour.
It turned out that we were in the right line and it was relatively quick and painless to get on the ferry. The seating area was air conditioned and we got to watch most of a GI Joe movie on the big screen.
Hopping off the ferry was another story. Only drivers are meant to return to their vehicles and drive them off the ferry, leaving passengers to walk off. We’d arrived on the island of Savai’i in an absolute tropical deluge and so I had to walk in the rain quite some distance to get to the car. We’d planned to have lunch at a guidebook-recommended restaurant about fifteen minutes up the coast but when we got there it did not appear to be open. Tired (him), slightly ill (me) and hungry (both of us), we were both in fine snarky form as we headed up the coast, all suddenly forgotten when we arrived at Savai’i Lagoon Resort.
While not as upmarket as our original resort, Savai’i Lagoon has a lovely cosy vibe, and the ex-pat Kiwi managers are lovely! Tony showed us to our room and gave us the run down of how things work at the resort and then left us to chill out at our water’s edge honeymoon bungalow. The units aren’t airconditioned but are built in the same way that many modern Samoan houses are built – it was nice to know that our fale was cyclone-proof. The fans kept most of the heat down too. The resort also has their own water-treatment plant (that they also use to supply local villagers with clean healthy water) so it was nice to be able to drink out of the tap again.
Reading on the bed must have turned into a much-needed nap for me; Papa M went for a beach walk and woke me up just in time for tea. Dinner was delicious – the resort tries to make the most of local produce, even paying their employees extra for ingredients they may be able to bring in from their home gardens. Papa M went for a Vailima beer, he’s becoming fond of the local brew! After relaxing and watching the sunset, it was back to the bungalows. It’s pretty hard to stay up later here, everything sort of goes by the sunrise and sunset. I had a shower (with three defined heat settings and a detachable shower head it felt like luxury) and felt much better than I had in the morning. We were kept amused by a couple of skinks running round our bungalow and then headed to bed.
Papa M finally got his cereal and milk for breakfast! Soy and lactose-free milk seem to be unheard of so I had picked up some non-dairy creamer on our Apia trip and made a quick coffee before heading over to the wee restaurant. As well as R having cereal, we both had toast and I had a delicious tropical smoothie – instant favourite!
After breakfast we took a little bit of a walk to familiarize ourselves with the local village and then sat on the shore in a couple of beach recliners, watching the tide go out.
Lunch was yum! We had tuna cakes and the resort managers make delicious aioli to drizzle over the top.
The weather really turned in the afternoon – we got our first experience of a tropical storm! It did make us happy that we were in a concrete fale rather than a traditional open fale, we would have got pretty damp with the lashings of rain. We watched TV1 Samoa – the advertisements are hysterical as they all seem to be backed with classic rock soundtracks!
The weather cleared up a bit in the late afternoon and we went for our first swim in the ocean this holiday. The lagoon here is perfect for it, much better than the beach at our resort on Upolu as at high tide you actually have a decent stretch before the reef starts. The only thing to beware is a strong tidal current heading across the lagoon but if you catch the incoming tide you can ride it down the length of the beach – it sure beats the lazy river attractions at the swimming pools in NZ! It really tuckered me out after about 45 minutes but Papa M stayed in for an hour and a half!
The restaurant is closed on Thursday nights as the neighboring resort does a traditional umu meal and cultural fiafia night. Given that we’re both familiar with hangi (the Maori equivalent of an umu) and that we have connections to one of my previous schools that has strong Pasifika cultural traditions, we decided that tonight would be the night that we tried the best pizza in Samoa!
Leilina’s Pizzeria has the reputation of being the best pizza place in Samoa. You can eat in at their terrace restaurant but they will also deliver to your resort room! For ST$43.50, we had two delicious thin crust pizzas around the size of a dinner plate. Woe betide the major pizza chains if they ever decide to expand across the Pasifika region! If you visit Savai’i, you must make a stop at Leilani’s pizzeria in Fagamalo.
We finished up the evening by finally completing the game of monopoly that we had started on my iPad on the plane. I won my first game ever, hooray!