Sunday, July 30, 2017

My beyblade

You have no idea how long it took both Jef and I, in separate shifts, to get Kien to write this story. The stubbornness that kid shows is palpable. Perseverance pays off at the end of the day though. Thanks, Margaret, for the nudge to make the effort with these exercises.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Samoan road trip

Unlike the last time we were here (when we didn't do anything whatsoever except laze around reading books and swimming all day, every day), we took the opportunity this time to hire a van and do some exploring...a van seating 12 people and there were 14 of us. Good thing there were some pint sized people amongst the group!

We visited a waterfall - pretty. Easy money for the village people here - they charged 10 tala per person to view the waterfall over that gnarly cliff.

Then we were off to the idyllic To Sua ocean trench. Over the course of millennia, erosion of the lava fields around Lotofaga left the area pocketed with tide pools and a series of blowholes, the largest of which is To Sua (name translates to “big hole”). Surrounded by lush gardens, the natural salt water pool is sunken deep into the earth, and we had to climb down a very steep ladder to get inside. Kien was too scared to go down the ladder, so Jef stayed behind with him while the rest of us went for a swim.

By the time we finished our swim we were all extremely hungry. Good thing us mothers thought ahead and had packed a picnic lunch. So we occupied a gazebo in the groomed gardens that kissed the cliff face.

We then drove all the way to Lalomanu, a beautiful village on the east coast of Upolu. We stopped at the local store to get some cold Vailimas. There were some cute piggies on the side of the road too.

This spot was heavily damaged by the 2009 tsunami, and even now the reef is still recovering. You can see this when out there snorkelling. But man, this beach is so beautiful. The next time we visit Samoa I want to stay here for a bit. Its quite different to Return to Paradise beach.

What a fantastic and exhausting day. We took the long drive back to Matautu, witnessing a spectacular sunset across a still river.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Return to Paradise

Highlights of our Samoan vacation - well, everything was a highlight as far as I'm concerned; going back to the wonderful Return to Paradise resort where we stayed last year, having lots of friends with their families with us, making friends and having fun with the resort staff, snorkelling in the clear turquoise reef just a few meters from our room, cooling off in one of the 4 pools, getting warm in the spa after spending too much time in the pool, walking back and forth barefoot in the soft sand between the villas, giant clams, unexpectedly swimming with a turtle, stopping at roadside stores for Vailimas, catching a ride in the back of a truck with the resort staff to see Manu Samoa vs Flying Fijians rugby match...the list goes on and on. I haven't even mentioned the fact that I travelled back to Auckland in the cockpit watching the Captain and First Officer doing their thing while another pilot explained what was happening. Now that was fun.

I've got squillians of photos which will take some time to sort through (no doubt), but while it's all fresh in my mind I'll post what I can.

We came in on Saturday afternoon with 9 whole days stretched out in front of us. Kien was so excited that he was now on school holidays. Jef and I were so excited we were not working. It's been a tough year with so much going on, so this was a welcome break.

I love it here at this beautiful beach in Matautu. When the wind blows the sea is rough and wild, but at other times its so calm and clear. The snorkelling is pretty amazing out there.

We spent a lot of time in the pool. There are four of them here, and depending on the temperature and position of the sun was the decision for which pool to swim in.

We played pool, caught a shuttle to Apia, found hermit crabs, and generally just walked back and forth on the white sand between our beachfront room and the main villa that our friends were staying in.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Finally I went for a run again

Oh boy, I'm been entrenched in a relentless project that we didn't think would ever finish...but it did! We went live on Wednesday with all fingers and toes crossed, and hark, it was smooth - no catastrophic failures! We worked the previous weekend to make sure we had covered as many scenarios as possible, and even on Tuesday we were pretty nervous. But yes, its all gone well. Phew. So I went for a run, which I've not been able to do for some time now because of all the lunchtime meetings I've had to attend. It feels nice to be out there again...tiring, but nice.

On Friday I started really early, and by 10:30 I was itching to get outside. The fog was starting to lift out on the water, and it was a perfect morning for a run.

School holidays start at the end of this week, and we're off to Samoa. I've been looking forward to this break for quite a while. It couldn't come soon enough, although it's a bit stressful because I've now moved on to another project, and it will be very demanding when we get back. Ah well, one day at a time. In the meantime I can't wait to be warm and spotting clown fish while snorkelling.


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