Monday, April 30, 2007

Ramily has Left the Island

Unfortunately, one of the Territory's favorite couples (Randy & Emily aka Ramily) had to leave the island in a hurry. Emily left last week, but Randy stayed an extra week to tie up loose ends. Over the weekend, we celebrated palagi style their time on the island. Friday night was a barbecue at New Guy's place. New Guy's sister and friend was also visiting for the week. The party included crabcakes (New Guy can cook), washooes, dancing and good times. While we are use to palagi style celebrations, it appears New Guy's friend is not. Editor's Note - I am told that this is not what it looks like and someone actually poured water on him for the photo. Like Fox News, I report, you decide. Saturday included a game of Sloshball - the Randy Nicholson Memorial Game and then Poker. I placed second that night, and was very close to winning. I was up against Gonzalo. I was big blind, with a 5 & 6 off suited, he called, so I checked to see the flop. It was a 7,8,9. Sweet, I flopped a straight. Gonzalo goes all in. I of course call. He shows a 9 & 4 - so he has a pair of 9s. The turn card is a 4 - okay, he has a pair of 9s and 4s. Still winning. The river card is a 9 - he beats me with a full house. No one could believe it. After that hand, my luck changed, and he knocked me out a few hands later. alas, at least I still got $60. Okay, so back to the weekend. **Friday & Saturday photos by Fred.**
Sunday night, before Randy's flight (and Ginny's flight who also left for good this weekend), Ruth had us over for dinner. She cooked a great lasagna, but all of us were still really sad. Miss you already Ramily!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Magic of a Glue Trap

WARNING. Animals were harmed in the creation of this posting. The other morning, I went into my kitchen to find some juice. Instead, I found a mouse running around on my kitchen sink and clean dishes on my drying rack. It was not a good start to the day. I have grown accustom to critters in the house, but when they poop in my sink - action must be taken. That afternoon I stopped by ACE Hardware and got some glue traps. A relatively simple invention. A pan of glue (with peanut butter chips) which traps and kills the mouse. I am not sure how it kills the mouse, but with the image of mouse poo in my sink still in my head, I really didn't care at that point. I put down a trap and went for a run. Thirty minutes later - voila, one mouse down. No mess, no fuss, quick and clean, at least for me, I assume the mouse isn't a fan of the glue trap.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

No More Turkey Tail

In a surprise move, the Samoa government (the Independent Samoa, not Am Sam) has decided to ban the import of U.S turkey tail meat. This is part of a health preventive measure to stop people from getting life style diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart and kidney failure. The ban will be effective on the first of May and the government is considering whether to also ban other imported meat such as mutton flaps and chicken. Turkey tail meat, chicken and muttons are the main types of imported meat widely used by average and low income families . The ministry of health is concerned by the high fat content of the three different types of meat. Of course you are asking, what is Turkey Tail? Well, it just that - the tail of the turkey. Actually, it is the gland-like part that attaches the tail to the bird. Here is a picture. Hmm. Tasty. They must be using a very loose definition of "meat" to call turkey tail a meat. If you slap on enough barbecue sauce, it tastes great. Actually, it doesn't. I tried it once, my first month on the island. I didn't know what it was at the time, but it sure was chewy and more fat then meat.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


For the past couple of weekends, we have had Noah's Ark rain.However, this past Saturday, it was perfect SloshBall weather.For those who forget the rules of Sloshball, a quick tutorial. The rules are just like baseball, except for second base. When you reach second base, you have to grab a beer. You are not able to put down the beer until you finish it. This includes when you are batting or fielding. If you make it to second base with your original beer, you now have two beers. Kim Keyser got MVP for playing with three beers. However, later in the game, her fielding started to suffer. Everyone enjoys the game, including Ed. We selected Adam and Mary (Nate's friends from off-island) as team captains. Mary's team started out with an early lead - 10 to 2. However, due to the nature of Sloshball, their skill level went down each inning. Adam's team was able to pull it out in the end, coming from behind in the last inning winning 18 to 16, or was it 17 to 16?We always have trouble with the score. Afterwards, we went to New Guy's place for a barbecue. Good times.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flag Day in Western

On Tuesday, Am Sam celebrated Flag Day. Flag Day is like July 4th, without the fireworks, but it does have boat racing. This being Am Sam, we got off Tuesday (actual Flag Day) and Wednesday instead of the obvious Monday - but who is complaining, it is still a two day holiday. To celebrate, a group of us decided to go to Western Samoa, which does not celebrate Flag Day. Oops. We left Friday and got back Wednesday. The group included Nate, Gonzo, Aaron (the New Guy) and Nate's friends from the mainland, Adam and Mary.This was my third trip to Western, but I continue to have a ton of fun and learn valuable lessons. For example, lesson one - Argentines are crazy drivers. Gonzo drove us around the entire trip and at times I think we traveled back in time.At least the view was great. The first two nights we stayed at the Manusina Inn in Apia (the capital). Our Argentine friends are expanding their business in Western and have opened the Inn. It is a great place and I recommend it to anyone visiting Western. Max and Lupe are great hosts. Lesson Two - Blue Cheese pizza at Giodanno's rocks. We started Saturday with a trip to sliding rock. How can you beat sliding down lava rock into a fresh water pool. We spent some time lounging in the pool and watching no fear Samoan kids jump off cliffs. I should note that Gonzo also jumped off the cliff. I just took the the photos. We went to lunch at Coconuts and then had to take a nap. good times. Then off to Black Sand Beach. You might have to drive through the jungle, but the beach is great. Lesson Three - riding the waves at Black Sand beach is a great way to spend an afternoon. Sadly we had dinner at a restaurant called Sails. It might have been the worse meal I have had in years - and this is including the sushi with mayonnaise in Am Sam. I ordered tuna with a white wine cream sauce. I believe the cream sauce was paper mache. Just horrible. Lesson Four - never eat at Sails again, never. On Sunday we drove down to some waterfalls. Unlike last time, the falls were not flowing, but that didn't stop us from jumping into more fresh water. Got to love the fresh water. We spent that night at the beach fales at Lalomanu.Lesson Five - Uno can be turned into an interesting drinking game and that large quantities of Vailima, Samoa's Beer, can cause discomfort in the morning.I also learned that five plus three equals seven. Ask New Guy about that one. Monday was spent at the Piula Cave Pool. Another great fresh water pool. You can also swim through a lava tube to get to another cave. Unfortunately, Adam went a little too fast through the tube and knocked his head on some lava rocks. ouch. We then decided to go to the island of Namu'a. It is near Lalomanu. We were told that we needed to raise a white flag in order to signal the boat to pick us up. I think this was just a Samoan joke so they could laugh at the silly palagis raising a white flag against a really blue/white sky. Luckily, the boat did arrive, but to drop off some people who spent the day on the island, not because they saw the flag. However, they did pick us up and we got to spent the night on our own Gilligan's Island. It was great. The island has no electricity, or at least none that we could find. The six of us basically tripled the population of the island. The only structures include the main cooking house and the beach fales. Kinda awesome. The next morning, we walked around the island during low tide. We also took a hike up the mountain. Lesson Six - proper footware is important. Using my sandels was like walking on Crisco. It was actually easier to walk up the mountain in my barefeet. At least I made it to the top, or what we decided was the top. The channel between the main island and Namu'a is not that deep, even during high tide. We left the island during low tide, so we had to walk the boat close to the shore. Nate did his impression of Jesus. We then drove back up to Apia and spent another night at Manusina. We also had the best dinner ever at Apula Heights restaurant. We closed out the night/early morning at our new favorite bar - Paddles. After leaving Paddles, we were hungry, but everything was closed, or at least almost everything. We found a foodstand still open. The only food they had left was written in Samoan. The food appeared to be the same thing, but coming in different sizes and prices. Aaron was the adventurous one and ordered the Five Tala meal (about $2.50 US). It came in a sack and weighted about four pounds. We opened it when we got home.Yum! It tasted about as good as it looks, recooked vomit. oh well. We were that hungry that we tried to eat some of it, we did not get that far. And now the final four lessons. Lesson Seven - Kava is like drinking dirt. Lesson Eight - Rainbows are cool. Lesson Nine - Sashimi tastes great. Lesson Ten - I really enjoy Western Samo