Despite quaffing only 12 beers the night before, I woke up with a hangover that could kill a Somali pirate. But it’s hard to complain when the view from your fale looks straight onto the beach – and all for the bargain price of $20 a night! My headache was sorted out with a snorkel, though (and no, that’s not a euphemism for wanking). Today’s swim was better than yesterday’s, with more fish and better coral. The current was rubbish, though, and I was almost sucked to my death (actually, that doesn’t sound too bad at all).
After a big breakfast I said goodbye to my new-found friends (their names still escape me), and trundled off to the other side of the island, with a stop-off at Tu Sua Ocean Trench.
It’s basically a big hole in the ground, filled with sea water and with a long ladder leading down to it. I climbed deep down below the surface of the Earth, and found myself in another world. Fish danced through the azure water as I splashed around, so far from everyday problems. I spent an hour or so down there, just floating around and enjoying life.
There’s also some grouse gardens surrounding the trench, making for a very pleasant afternoon. Sure, it would’ve been better if the rain would’ve fucked off for a while, but it’s still a place I will remember fondly for many years.
And then the epic journey really began. It was only about 60km to my accommodation, which I figured would take about an hour, but I had no idea. Unlike yesterday’s drive, which was fun and spectacular, this trip to the other end of the island was slow, tedious, aggravating and a bit scary. This was true hillbilly country. Wild dogs attacked my car. Small children ran out of their huts to throw stones at me as I drove past. One of the rocks cracked my windscreen and barely managed to keep the car on the track as I escaped the bloodthirsty mob. I was worried that the Rav 4 would finally give in, and I’d end up being butt-raped and then eaten by a fat Samoan.
Just when I thought I was in the clear, a bolt of lightning hit about 20m from my car, causing me to slide off the road and into a tree. The whole world went white for a moment, and I didn’t know where I was. It took me a while to find my bearings, and when I recovered from the shock of the accident, I discovered I was in a ditch, in the middle of the jungle, and very much alone.
Rav 4’s, whilst ugly, are obviously well-built, and I was able to get back onto the road and keep going. With no map or phone, I missed my fale about three times, until a chick ran out, waving her arms to flag me down. By then it was dark, I was cranky, and I was dismayed to see that Le Valasi’s Beach Fales, in the tiny village of Savaia, looked half-built. I was in a rubbish mood.
But all that changed as soon as I was called for dinner. Ross and Maria, the owners, are wonderful, as were the three other guests who sat in the living room with us eating spaghetti. They were teachers from New Zealand, in Samoa organising a school trip and looking for ways to help out the local students. They were so full of ideas on ow to help the poverty-stricken kids, and it was a real inspiration. Something so minor to us could be a huge ting to those kids – but fuck it, I’ll forget all about that the second I get back home. We all do.
I also discovered that the whole village had recently been smashed by a storm, which had torn Le Valasi’s apart, and that the owners had spent the last 24 hours frantically trying to rebuild my fale so that I’d have somewhere to sleep. Now that’s service!
(I’d also like to point out that, as of 2015, Le Valasi’s is completely rebuilt and looking lovely, so check it out!)
I stayed up talking to Ross and Maria until almost midnight. Fuck, this all sounds so tame compared to my swashbuckling adventures through Asia. But that’s how this place is. Let’s just say I fought a robot before hitting the hay, right?