Recording in Western Samoa-Page 3 (3D Audio's Excellent "ProTools in a Suitcase" Adventure)
Day 4-Travelling to Savaii
Friday, May 11, 2001
I'm up early. I set my alarm to 5 AM, but awake at 4:30. We rendezvous at the front desk at 6, before they start serving breakfast, and pack all the recording and video gear onto the van and head to the ferry. We have to be there early because the ferry is the only transportation back and forth between the two main islands. It only runs three times a day on weekdays and once the boat is full, you have no choice but to wait for the next ferry, typically 3.5 hours later.
As we drive along the same road that we travelled by night when we arrived two days ago, we are surprised at how close most houses are to the water. Many have a "guest house" in the front, with the main house or fale (FAH-lay) behind that and then there's a backyard maybe 20 feet deep and the ocean.
Samoans live their lives in proximity to the ocean. Most of them live within walking distance of the water. On the island of Savaii, there is one primary road that runs around the perimeter of the island. I ask how many roads run to the interior of the island where the mountains are. "None." The typical construction for Samoan fales (as seen above) is a flat floor of either lava rock or concrete with poles around the perimeter supporting a roof of thatch or corrugated tin. Most have no exterior walls, and coconut mats are used for protection from the weather. Most Samoans sleep on coconut mats that are rolled out at night and rolled up and stored during the day.
When we drive by the Faleolo airport where we landed, I am shocked at its proximity to the water's edge. It appears to be built right on the beach. Since there were few lights when we landed, we had no idea we were within 30 yards of the ocean as we stepped off the plane.
When we arrive at the ferry about 7:15, there is a long line of cars already. There are trucks full of cows and horses, a dumptruck with gravel, many commercial vehicles with logos and some family vans. This is the only affordable transportation between the islands so everything that goes between the islands comes through here.
We leave Joe and the van in the line waiting to board while we go looking for breakfast. I buy some more Dirty Dog root beer and we find some "half-moon pies," a flaky circular crust folded in half over a custard filling that is then baked. They are quite good. I also find a meat pie. It is filled with dark chicken meat and taro. It is not good but it is filling. Now they are loading the cars and trucks are being loaded onto the ferry and we must go.
The empty ferry sitting at the dock on the island of Savaii, looking toward the island of Upolu.
As the only inter-island transport, the ferry is always packed and they make the most of every square inch of the vehicle hold on the bottom deck. As we walk on board, I am amazed at how tightly they pack the cars and trucks. I watch in awe as they sandwich the cars so tightly together there is not even a hand's width between many of them.
Mapo (MAH-po) wearing headphones. She was my favorite "Rock, paper, scissors" competitor. She beat me more times than I can count. Below is a picture of how we spent our spare time.
Mapo wins again (rock crushes scissors) in one of our favorite pasttimes. Some of my new Samoan friends. Lynn Fuston standing beside an awesome Samoan blowhole on the island of Savaii Taken from the shore of Savaii overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the smoke from Samoans cooking their breakfasts had just wafted out across the water. It had rained so hard the night before that it woke me several times during the night. But the sunrise was beautiful. The sliding rocks at Papase'ea. The lush rainforests of Samoa are truly amazing. Look closely and you'll see people walking down the stairs to the falls. I'm working on this page almost daily to try and finish it. Thanks for visiting. -Lynn Fuston