LANO, SAVAI'I, SAMOA
17.06.2013 - 21.06.2013 30 °C
A FABULOUS/FASCINATING/FUN FACT ABOUT THIS PLACE:
Savaiʻi is the largest (area 1700 km2) and highest (Mt Silisili at 1,858 m) island in Samoa and the Samoa Islands chain. It is also the biggest landmass in Polynesia outside Hawaii and New Zealand.
The island is the largest shield volcano in the South Pacific with recent eruptions in the early 1900s. The central region comprises the Central Savai'i Rainforest that with 72,699 hectares (727 km2) forms the largest continuous patch of rainforest in Polynesia. It is dotted with more than 100 volcanic craters and contains most of Samoa's native species of flora and fauna, making it globally significant in world conservation areas.
As on Upolu, every day, evening prayer (sa) takes place in every village around dusk before the evening meal and lasts about half an hour. It is usually signaled by the sound of a conch shell or the ringing of the church bell. The sa usually means no loud noise or walking through the village commons. Matai sometimes stand by the side of the main road, which pass through village land, to slow down traffic until prayers are over.
HOW EVER DID I GET HERE?
I took the ferry from Upolu to Savai'i and then took one of the crazy buses from the wharf to Lano.
WHERE DID I STAY?
Lauiula Beach Fales in Lano. Another great find. Very friendly and accommodation but just a bit more formal than Vaiula. Richard is a great, friendly and knowledgeable host. I had planned on staying here only a few nights then going somewhere in Manase on the north shore, but ended up deciding to stay here the whole time instead.
When I first arrived I was told they had "upgraded" me. Turns out their idea of an upgrade was to put me in a closed in fale instead of an open one. This meant I had lattice walls and doors. It was the only closed in fale and the worst one by far but they were fully booked. It was surrounded in grey tarp. They seemed surprised when I wanted to have the tarp rolled up and only rolled up part of the front for me. I did more on my own.
MY CLOSED FALE
A few days after I got there, a big group of bicyclers from NZ departed and I was able to move into an open fale.
THE AGE OLD QUESTION: HOW WAS THE WEATHER?
Superb. No complaints here. A few crazy rainstorms in the middle of the night partnered with thunder and lightning only added to the experince of sleeping in a fale. Lauiula had security at night and when it started to pour rain sideways the guy would come put enough blinds down so you didn't get wet. Great service!
WHAT DID I SEE HERE AND WHAT DID I DO?
I spent a LOT of time in the water. I was quite surprised by how cold it was, then I found out that there was a spring feeding fresh (cold!) water into the ocean almost exactly where we were. I walked around the village a couple of times. I snorkeled and tanned and read and napped. I ate amazing food. I met interesting people. I watched a Fia Fia show with a fire dancer.
ANY RESTAURANTS, SHOPS, HOSTELS, PEOPLE ETC WORTH MENTIONING?
Lauila Fales were great. There's really nothing else in these villages other than sometimes a small shop. The guy who ran the place was named Richard. He was a fantastic host. His daughter Lynn, who was being prepped to take over the family business was also awesome. Really sweet woman.
FAVORITE MEMORY FROM MY TIME HERE:
Lazing on the beach. Meals with the other guests. Fia fia show.
WOULD I EVER COME BACK HERE IF I HAD THE CHANCE OR WOULD I RECOMMEND IT TO A FRIEND OR FELLOW TRAVELER?
I would definitely come back here. And definitely recommend it as a place to go.
Some snaps from around Lano:
After the Fia Fia show the dancers all choose a guest to come up and dance. One of the guys chased me down as I was running away (I hate dancing) and proceeded to drag me up on stage and proceeded to fake grind on me to the amusement of EVERYONE else. That's right. Fake grind. As in grind from afar. He would never ACTUALLY grind on a guest as that would be completely disrespectful and he would likely get punished by one of the chiefs. After we sat back down the dancers lined up and came to all the guests to thank them for coming to see them perform. I then got a sticky hug from each coconut lathered guy and a kiss on the cheek while everyone else laughed at me... :p