WanderingDan’s Weblog


Chocolate Creme Oreos…Samoa…and lots of beer
February 15, 2013, 4:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Not sure how it came to be I am walking back to the ship intoxicated offering Oreo chocolate crème cookies to everyone I pass…but that’s the case. Let’s see here, how did this begin? When I left the ship this morning, I had no plans or agendas…just a ‘let’s walk and see what happens’ attitude. The usual mad frenzy of taxis and tour buses met the crowd as we head out of port. Not interested. I just want to go on a walkabout and have some ‘me’ time. Easy nuff. Town is not really a town. Not sure exactly what I expected American Samoa to look like, but whatever image I conjured, this isn’t it. Nonetheless, everything here emits a certain type of calm energy. Not hippie calm, not catatonic calm…more of a ‘what-the-hell-are-you-in-such-a-rush-for’ type of calm. I like it. Walking past some hotels…the kind I would only patron with a bodyguard in LA, but here I would stay at with only a double-guess. The sign says national park next left…I turn left and start walking. Ummmm….nothing but houses and dilapadated churches. Perhaps it was the next left. Oh well…I’m here, lets keep walking. As the incline starts, I think to myself: “I wonder how far up the mountain this road goes?” Ten minutes later, drenched in sweat with my shirt clinging to me in classic ‘wet-t-shirt style’…”I wonder how far up the mountain this road goes?”. The house get more sparse…the road steeper, then windier. When the sidewalk stops, I commit to going up until it starts to go downhill…I mean, shit, it’s only 10am, I have all day. No matter I ran six miles yesterday and my calves are sore as hell…and I have no water and it’s hot as balls out here. When I get to the top, I see a national park sign. Hmmmm….head back down, or explore what looks to be like a trail? Right as I get to the spot, a car pulls up and some dude gets out, obviously not a local. After chatting for a few, Carlos and I decide to brave the trail up towards some peak. Pretty cool dude. I find out he’s an engineer from San Diego here on business for a few days…originally from Columbia, but grew up in Jersey and Boston. The trail traversed the ridgeline through the jungle rainforest. Amazing….and muddy. Had I known I’d be tromping through mud I would have worn more than my leather sandals. Oh well. The foliage is incredible. Ferns twenty feet tall…it seriously looks like the ‘exotic plant’ section of Home Depot threw up all over the landscape. At some point we decide to turn around and head back…thinking (mistakenly) we had crossed the summit and were heading back down the mountain. Now…neither of us had prepared for this. No water. Improper attire. No clue. Turning around was prudent. On the way back a Dodge pickup pulls up (random, but it fits on this trail/road thing) full of locals. They chat with us for a couple minutes, insinuate we are crazy for trekking out this far, and then ask us if we have water. Ummmm….no. We feel like dumbasses. They pull through the mud pit…stop…and give us each a bottle of cold water for our hike back. Seriously, Samoans kick ass. Noone has been anything but friendly to me since I stepped off the ship. Since we are both muddy as hell when we get back to the trailhead, Carlos recommends we drive to the nearest beach down the hill to rinse our shoes off. I can’t believe how hard it is to scrub the caked on clay out of my sandals. I grab handfuls of rough sand/gravel and scrub scrub scrub. It takes ten minutes to get them clean…bloody hell!

 

Carlos drops me off back in town near the ship. I wander for a few, and eventually come to the Filipino restaurant everyone was telling me about. As I get closer, I run right into the Pritchards, having a drink…beckoned to join, I gladly acquiesce. Mind you, I am still somewhat severely dehydrated after the morning’s shenanigans. Mike, after asking if I want a beer (the question being more of a formality than serious inquisition) goes up to the window and comes back, settting to silver bullets in front of me. Oh my god, I think to myself, this is the beginning of the end… After a couple hours of great conversation, more beers, and joining company of a few of their friends, everyone heads back to the ship. My intention is to as well…but first I want to say hi to Rammel and Lucy. I should have known better. In the ensuing hour a couple more beers were graciously put in front of my face…the conversation about ship life was enlightening, as was the paddle ball…but then again, everything is more fun when your drunk. On the way back to the ship Lucy wants to pick some things up at the grocery store…I don’t know why I’m glued to the Oreos…but I am. From the time I step out of the store to the time I get to my cabin I think I offer a cookie to everyone in my path: the wooden drum vendor, terminal security, ship security, the medical staff (I wandered in to the medical clinic on my way to the cabin…even the Chief Purser took me up on the offer. Call that my contribution to Valentine’s Day.

 

I met some great people today. I’m in the South Pacific. It’s 80 degrees outside. Today was a good day…now I’m gonna dress up in formal wear (tonight’s attire)…grab my bottle of Spanish wine, and head up to deck 11 to play chess on the massive 20x20ft board…alone, probably…no matter…screw Valentine’s Day…it’s been a great day and that’s all that matters. Why am I now hearing the words of a Whitesnake song playing in my head???

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