Friday, July 31, 2015

Take a Ride with Us Around Savai'i

For any who are hoping to come visit, here is a preview of Savai'i, the big island of the three Samoas. For those who are not planning a trip, like Marc and Brittney and Curt and Melanee (new babies) here is a quick preview of what is on this island.

The villages are located around a perimeter road, the interior of the island is mountains and old volcanoes.  Most of the big banana and coconut plantations are located on the interior of the island.  If you just drove straight at the speed limit, it would take about 6 hours to drive around the entire island.  Of course, you wouldn't really see much more than villages, fales, ocean views, and people.  Savai'i (pronounced like Hawaii with a 'v' instead of the 'w').

There are 6 stakes and 30 plus ward and branch buildings on this island.  Surprisingly, there is internet access to all but one or two buildings.  We found that each clerk's office has a resident gecko.  That's a little background, now for the pictures you have been waiting for.

This is a typical way for the men and women to carry their coconuts.  They pull some of the fibers of the husks from the coconuts and tie them together.

Over here, our houseplants grow all over the outside.  We see yards like this all over both islands.  This one was particularly attractive with the fale nestled among the flowers, leaves, trees and grass. We hadn't seen the white flowers anywhere else.

For the grandkids and those who have never seen where bananas come from, here's a banana tree.  There are many kinds of bananas, these are long ones that they boil and they taste like cardboard.  We love to eat the short ones.  The large purple blossom you can see at the bottom of the banana bunch is edible, also.  We understand that you slice it and it contains little tiny, tiny banana buds and you fry it.  At the left is a taro garden.  The root is the edible part that they harvest and cook.  It has no flavor and is used like we use potatoes.  However, I have not found enough gravy or butter to make it taste like anything other than paste.  The young taro leaves are used to make pulasami.  They take a taro leaf, pour coconut milk into it and then wrap it up into a ball, then taking another taro leaf, they wrap that around the first leaf and then bake it with other food buried under a pile of leaves on hot rocks.

This is a coconut drying factory.  The fale is built with a stone basement where they burn coconut shells to warm the three foot layer of coconuts on the top.  They break the coconuts in half and drain the coconut milk, then they leave the halves in this open area (see second picture) with the fire underneath to dry.  When the coconut meat is dry, they cut it out and put it into the white bags.  They send the white bags to a factory that squeezes out the coconut oil.

Coconuts broken in half and awaiting two days of drying. Don't worry about sanitation, the flies all wash before landing in the coconuts and the dirt has been sterilized.

You leave the coconut factory and start around the island and see many, many areas like this one.  The volcanic lava rock makes a ledge and the water comes in and crashes against it.  A beautiful site.

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