Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lalomanu Beach

This island off shore from Lanomanu was an old Leper colony.

One of the best known beaches in Western Samoa is Lalomanu. It is also one of the most densely built up beaches with cheap beach fale accomodations. If you want a beach front accomodation for a mere forty tala and don't mind sleeping on woven mats and fighting off mosquitos-this is the place for you!

Luckily, our resort Seabreeze was just a short drive down the road. I think the crowded accomodations is just a breeding ground for dengue. Not that I can prove this but it just stands to reason. Plus I enjoy sleeping off the floor. But I'm old what can I say.

The beach and reef here offers some of the best snorkeling and swimming around. It does come with Samoa's own form of adventure with ava's (rip tides) and strong currents, but with fins on, strong swimming skills and knowing where the avas are you can have a great time.

I actually saw my first turtle in Samoa there. Yes I'm leaving after two years and this is my first turtle. I have been extremely unlucky in this department-other people see turtles all the time. It was a nice parting gift.

Here are some lovely photos from snorkeling:

Western Samoa-One More Time (this is it I promise)

If you are keeping up on my blogs you might recall my last trip to Western Samoa (which was literally supposed to be my LAST trip). Weeeellll....have I mentioned how much I love Western Samoa and the fact that I didn't get any market shopping done last time and that, combined, with a three day weekend (thanks Dr. King!), and Markus being back on island, all added up in my mind to another trip to Western.

I got this awesome shot of Apia from the plane when we were leaving. Yup that's it. The grand metropolis of Apia. That's exactly what it feels like for us, too.

Aerial shot of part of the hillside in Upolu.

We stayed again at Manumea in Apia. I highly recommend this place. We got to watch some really bad tv to remind us not to miss TV. The highlight of which is the following expert from what appeared to be a lip sink music video.

We had our usual amazing pizza at Giordanos pizza, where Markus had to sit with his back to this painting as it creeps him out.

The next two nights we stayed at Seabreeze. I've blogged about this place before, but I can't say enough good things about this place. The food was great again in their wonderful cliff hugging restaurant.

The little fales have giant hammocks in them for lazing, as below.

Driving on Upolu is one of my favorite things in the world. The roads are awesome (esp compaired to American Samoa), the views are incredible, there are no cops (I'll leave this to your imagination what this implies), and there are NO cars on the road, esp on Sundays. American Samoa is literally overrun with cars and the citizens are not better off for it.

Here are a few shots from the roadside:

Awesome fale with Samoan tatau designs.

Horses grazing under palm trees.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A few things: L&D

A Few Things I'm Going to Miss (some of you will have no idea what I'm referring to herein-that's ok)
  • Zero Epidural Rate
  • Women who can push out a baby in one or two pushes and who think a long push is over 15 minutes.
  • Women who want to walk and move around in labor and are surrounded by female family members that think birth is natural and not scary.
  • Fast labors
  • Women who want to go home in early labor
  • Women who labor at home until things are really cooking.
  • The hard working and under appreciated nurses (somethings are the same no matter WHERE you are)
  • An understanding of what a midwife is WITHOUT having to explain it.
  • A preference for midwives as birth attendent

A Few Things I'm Not Going to Miss:
  • Putting my foot into my shoe in the middle of night to feel a cockroach (a large one) squirming around in there. (Insert high pitched scream and shoe flying across the room).
  • Sleeping in the linen closet on a gurney.
  • Routine episiotomies (by OTHER practitioners)
  • Latex gloves that are moldy and disintegrate as soon as I put them on.
  • Lack of systematic health care
  • Going to the "delivery room"
  • Lack of adherence to Universal Precautions (gross and scary)
  • Chromic suture as the only suture
  • The lack of a neonatal crash team (hmmm I think there is a name for this but I've been without one for so's like some sweet memory) Good thing bad babies are so few and far between.
  • Lack of urgency when a crash csection is called.
  • 20 minute Decision to Incision Protocol
  • Women who refuse induction when they are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY overdue.
  • Babies going straight to the nursery because there is not enough staff to monitor babies during transition.
  • Lack of position changes for delivery.
  • No IUPCs

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bright Lights, Big City

My time here in American Samoa is rolling to a close. I have two more months left on island. Though there are many great things about being here, I've decided not to renew my contract.
I had hoped we would be able to move to Hawaii, but Markus found a good job at his alma matter, Portland State University, writing programs for researchers. So we will be returning to our old 'hood. It will be great to be close to family and friends in old Puddletown. Let's just hope I can adapt to the rain and cold.