Samoa - Part One

Our long awaited holiday to Samoa - I have no idea what to expect. I've even left the Lonely Planet Guide at home, sadly unread. I've done no botanical research - oops! Will this be a nice holiday for an obsessive gardener?

How warm will it be? How colourful will the flowers be? Will there be gardens? Will I have to sound learned as I describe rainforests, wetlands, and crops? Will I ever find out the names of the plants I see and like? Aargh!

 I hope I have got the name right!
Hibiscus Flower

I now present my Samoa Troical Island Holiday Journal, in a severely abridged form. Forgive me if it's a little thin on the gardening ground!

Wednesday 9th August

Last night we stayed in Apia at Aggie Grey's, where I took lots of pictures - of seats, flowers, dark rock walls, and the resident cats. I'm ashamed to say that I ignored the night life of Apia for the air-conditioning of the hotel room, and my science fiction holiday book.

 Very comfortable - we managed to get a seat!
Local Ferry - My Lady Samoa

Now we're waiting in the ferry terminal to board the Lady Samoa, which will take us from Upolo to the big island, Savai'i. It's hot, with a puffy sea breeze (the trade winds, according to my travel companion). The ferry is full of locals. We are staying in the village of Manase at a small resort called Stevensons.

 A lovely place to stay.
Our Beach Fale

We will live on the beach in a beach fale (house). Traditional Samoan fales are open to the warm air - they are oval with high thatched roofs supported by wooden posts. Our beach fale on the beach is a hybrid, designed for visitors - it has walls, insect netting and glass louvres.

 A fale, with its ornamental garden.
Garden Paradise

Later, Beautifully Warm...

We are installed in our beach fale surrounded by golden sand and coconut trees, gazing out at the sparkling blue sea. It's so warm! The drive to Manase was great - through vine-filled forest, over a lava field where regeneration is spasmodic (plants trying their best to grow in cracks), always in sight of the turquoise sea.

Real Gardens

All the villages we've driven through have real gardens! Brightly coloured tropical plant hedges line the road as it passes through village land. There are hens with chickens scratching around, pigs snuffling in the vegetation, and lean short-haired dogs out cruising. Toyota pick-up trucks potter past, with extra passengers sitting in the back tray.

I've seen lots of churches. Each village has a church, often more than one - solid buildings with paint trim, often wide entrance steps, and wee gardens!

The only dark blotch on my day is the sunhat that Stephen has brought to wear. It is worse than the oldest gardening hat I've ever owned - cream with dull brown stains, rusting rivets, and spots of mould. Aargh! The trouble is that hats (and sunscreen) are very much necessary for us fair-skinned English roses...

Thursday 10th August

Today I've had much fun swimming in the warm sea. I've peered at the reef, and already seen lots of fish. I am already getting bolder, swimming up and over them and pointing at their noses - not sure exactly what this signifies! And not sure that fish have noses, either!

 With its tropical roadside hedge well trimmed.
Manase Village

After breakfast I walked along the road to the end of the village. I've snoozed, I've read more of my book, and I’ve gone for yet another long swim (in my turquoise board shorts and groovy surfie-chick UV top). I have done lots of things - please note the pronoun.