I was really starting to lose track of the days – I set my alarm to go off this morning but chose the weekday option! I don’t think it sunk in that we’d been here a full week! We woke up to the sound of waves before the alarm anyway, so headed over to have our last breakfast (and last tropical smoothie) on Savai’i.
We bid farewell to our lovely hosts Tony & Melissa and drove back down the coast to the ferry terminal. We were much more chill this time, knowing the process a little better. The only downside was that amongst the dockside hawkers were a couple of kids practically begging us to buy some drinking coconuts. It made me feel horrible to say no but I really wasn’t interested.
The drive onto the ferry wasn’t bad but it was the predecessor of the ferry that we took on Wednesday. When we got upstairs almost all the wooden seating in the small indoor ferry was full so we headed out to the outdoors area. The seats were wet (that probably should have been our first indication) so we found a patch of wall to lean on and prepared for the one hour boat ride.
What a boat ride it was! The overcast weather as we left Saleloga turned into sideways rain and choppy seas. It was all we could do to keep upright as we crashed through the waves – I’m amazed that I managed to hold down my breakfast as we definitely saw others who didn’t. We were both so relieved when drivers got the order to return to their vehicles; I snuck down as well and clambered into the back seat as there was a truck literally ten centimeters from the passenger door. It was off down the road to Aggie Grey’s Resort for the night.
Originally we’d planned to stay at the original hotel but this was seriously damaged during the recent cyclone. The resort ‘s a perfectly charming place to stay but rather generic – you feel like you could probably find similar resorts on other pacific islands and that it definitely caters for western tastes. In that regard, it was potentially the perfect place to finish our stay, helping us adjust to the real world again.
On our after-dinner walk we bumped into our old friend the hermit crab outside a hotel room and we were stalked by a cat – it’s going to feel very weird heading home to our petless home in a country where horses are kept in stables rather than tethered at the side of the road, where both pigs and dogs are kept behind fences.
Last day in Samoa – it seemed surreal to wake up today and know that the next time we woke up would be back at home in our old house. Over breakfast we discussed that we definitely had mixed feelings about the whole situation – on one hand we would miss waking up, seeing the ocean outside our windows and eating all this great produce. On the other hand, we were keen to get back to some of the comforts of home – especially soy milk cafe coffees for me!
We took the opportunity to have a good stroll around the resort and the surrounds and I ended up booking in a facial for early afternoon. The spa area at the resort is set in tropical forest away from all the accommodation buildings, with the majority of treatments taking place in small open-sided fales. They make many of their own products on site from tropical plants! So clever. After a light lunch I meandered down the beach to the spa, waving to Papa M who was standing on our balcony. After a short wait in the shaded reception area, it was my turn. One of the coolest things about this spa was experience was the novel way she kept my hair off my face. Instead of using the typical towelling bands, she braided my hair into a hairband. There’s been many times since I got back that I have often wished that I had her nimble hands here to do it again!
After my spa treatment we went for a drive to get some final photos that we had wanted to get and to fill up the rental car before they picked it up from the resort. We’d definitely recommend Silva’s petrol station on the way to Apia – great friendly service. On the way back to the resort the skies just opened – this was rain unlike any rain that we had seen in Samoa. Perfectly timed, we managed to leave right at the start of the real wet season! For this reason, we were really glad that we had opted for a late check-out from our room, it meant that we could spend a little bit of leisurely time in our room, catching a movie (the resort plays movies on loops on each channel) and packing our bags. I’m not going to lie, I completely unpacked and repacked my bag so that no one would think that I was smuggling a skink!
We checked out of our room, grabbed a light and early dinner and waited in the foyer for the shuttle to arrive. The foyer is open and a lovely breeze wafts through – it was very relaxing. We were slightly confused by a man with poor English (the man organising the shuttles) telling us that our flight had been delayed – texts to the brother-in-law in NZ showed all websites saying that the flight was leaving on time. We arrived at the airport and after checking in and finally finding the yellow lavalavas (school house competitions) that I had been looking for all holiday, we went through the departure processing to a welcome air-conditioned departure lounge. Our boarding time came and went and we were still watching Samoa’s only TV channel on the lounge TVs. How did the shuttle man know? Next minute we see him racing through the lounge with an airport security hi-vis vest! Multiple jobs for him I guess!
Our flight was delayed coming in but turn around was very quick and we were quickly being ushered out to the plane under umbrellas – Papa M kindly carried my cabin bag for me. The flight back was a little turbulent but largely uneventful – I watched Ruby Sparks and won a round of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” game; if only the money was real! Customs, even with wooden items to declare, was super-quick and the in-laws were waiting outside to take us home. I was still super-wired from everything when we finally got to our place and didn’t end up going to sleep until 4 a.m.!
Back to reality with a thud. The rain in NZ is actually cold and I spent $70 on fresh fruit and veges! Look out for my next travel post on my top travel tips for Samoa!