Saturday, April 26, 2008

Virgin Cove

For two nights we stayed at the highly recommended Virgin Cove. Many people have said the place was really romantic and affordable.

We stayed in a Secluded Fale the first night, and because it was booked the following night we had to move to a standard fale.

Secluded Fale:

Nice Beach at the Secluded Fale

Standard Fale:

Outdoor shared toilets



There were a few disappointments at Virgin Cove. Friends who had stayed here previously had said that dinner and breakfast were included in the fale price. Not so when we got there. Breakfast only. And the dinner was not that great and definitely not worth what they were charging. We spent the next night eating pizza in Apia-of course Virgin Cove tried to charge me for dinner the night we were gone.

I really liked the secluded fale with it's own piece of beach heaven. The standard fales weren't that great and no beach. I think it's worth the money for the nicer place.

The road to Virgin Cove is a spine breaker and the thought of going back and forth on it not too appealing. It's quite a drive from the main road so once you get to Virgin Cove you should be ready to stay there. And you can swim and relax, but we do that so much it didn't have the appeal it might have to stressed out mainlanders.

I thought it was a beautiful place but I wasn't blown away.

The moon was almost full the night we were there and as the sunset and the moon rose I floated in the calm water. This interesting celestial phenomenon happened with a shadow shooting up into the sky. If anyone knows the scientific explanation for this let me know. I can't figure it out.

Aggie Grey Bungalow

Our last night was spent at Aggie Grey's again. We opted for a Fale Bungalow in the courtyard of the hotel. Last time we had a Harbor View. As we get a harbor view every day at home we opted for something different.

These fales have been around since the early years of the hotel and have names of famous people that stayed in them. We got the Nixon Fale. I think this might explain why Markus got bedbug bites while he was laying on the kids bed watching Alien vs. Predator (for some reason I opted out of this tv treat).

I love the way Aggies looks and decorates their nice rooms. They are always liberal with the hibiscus flower decorating. They put them everywhere!

We hung out watching tv, soaking in the pool drinking potent fruity beverages and then went to Upolu deep for some snorkeling. It's shocking to realize that we are grown up enough to stay at nice places like this (well, minus the bed bugs and horrible front desk inefficiency=they wanted to take an imprint of my credit card three times, charged me for room service we did not have and could NOT get us checked out!-I left without officially checking out-hey they have three imprints of my credit card!)

Western Samoa Roadside Images

One of my favorite things about being in Western Samoa is driving around and seeing the way of life in there and comparing it to Am Sam. Since the roads aren't hairpin curves as in American Samoa you can go faster than 20 mph. There aren't many cars out, esp outside Apia-and certainly not SUVs and giant $40,000 trucks as in American Samoa.

There are more people walking on the road than driving. Sunday is a fun day to drive, because most people stay home and go to church. Many church goers (esp Catholic) wear white to church. People seem to be healthier from all the walking.

Outside of Apia, most Western Samoans still live in the traditional open Fales. They are kept in much better condition than the open fales in Am Sam. It's fun to drive around at night and see TV's glowing inside the fales.

This man was hand carving an outrigger canoe with his grandchildren watching.

This is a bathing pool in a family's compound.

They also have many, many horses and apparently they double as low impact lawnmowers.

Black Sand Beach

I won't write a lot about Black Sand Beach as a picture is worth a thousand words. I love this beach. And this time the surf was mild so we got to snorkel.

Fresh fruit from the market in Apia!

Shells from Coconuts-a great place for drinks and a walk on the beach.


Apia town. The Big City. The Bright Lights.

The Harbor.

The home store of Samoan handmade coco oil and soap products, Mailelani.

We did a wee-bit of shopping for the wedding at the market and apparently sent a rush on fans. We could only get good prices (you should only pay 5 tala (2 US) for a fan, not 8 ($3)-ridiculous!) from urchins on the street. We sought those buggers out high and low-they were happy to see the palagis with arms full of fans and fists full of tala!

We mostly just go to Western Samoa to eat I think.

The aftermath of another fine meal at The Curry House on the Cross-Island Road.
Something I've learned since living here: Fiji has a high Indian population with generations of Indian immigrants. Fiji is well known for it's Indian food and if a South Pacific Island is lucky enough to get an Indian immigrant from Fiji to open a restaurant, the locals are happier for it. There is a business opportunity in American Samoa if there are any Fijian chefs out there reading this.

Real European Espresso?

One lump or two?

Giordano's Pizza two nights in a row-completely without shame or remorse.

When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza-Pie! I love the Italianesque decor with the Samoan Fale Roof.

Tasty Beer (lager, of course, but apparently dark beers aren't allowed below the equator).

All Dressed Up and Actually Some Place To Go!
Full Priced First Run Movie for Two? 12 Tala ($4.93 US)

Outside Apia in the hills is the famous Sliding Rock.
A series of pools and slick rocks that you can sit on and slide. I thought I'd be freewheeling down those puppies but once we got there, fantasies of brain injuries and a solid knowledge of the health care system in small tropical islands kept me in the pools. It was wonderful to swim in freshwater.

British Royal Intrigue Discovered on Our Walk Along the Harbor.
Could there be Samoan British Royals?
Is Queen Victoria's Secret Husband Buried in Samoa?
Inquiring Minds Want to Know!