Friday, April 20, 2007

Sorry for the delay, but I was in Western Samoa from Friday til Wednesday. Then yesterday and today have been just clogged with work. Of course I still don't have internet at home so I'm stuck with relying on work for updates. I still have a bunch of things I have to do before leaving today, so my rundown of the trip won't be as complete as it could be. Check Weave's blog too- he did a great job of including tons of pictures and explanations.

So, my trip experince started last Friday with my assistant telling me she would take me to the airport and just had to file something first. This was at 1. I told her I needed to leave by 230, but had some things to finish so I couldn't leave until probably just before that time. So at 145, I noticed that my assistant is dutifully playing Ma Johng. While this is a very important game, there was no progress on getting my item filed. At 210, I told her she needed to go NOW! Don Shaw needed to also file something so she was going to drop him off at ALJ court, file the thing I needed filed and pick him up and then we'd take me to the airport. At 230, she calls me from the wrong court and says that they clerks tell her it is at the wrong court. I told her that is because she is at the wrong court and that's the same reason that I asked her to go file my item at the correct court. After some communication problems, I told her to just forget it for now becuase I'm out of time and this thing isn't actually DUE today, so it could just be filed later. She says, ok, I'll go to the other court and hangs up, as I'm yelling, no! just come back. So at about 245, Don calls me and asks where his ride is. I don't know. It doesn't arrive, so I have to flag down a cab at 3 and rush to the airport. I was very angry. But, then I made my flight and was less angry so I just let it go since it would probably be pointless to even mention it anyway.

So, we made it to WS and were picked up by Maximo, who used to live here, but now runs a hotel in Apia. Friday night we hung out there for a while and then went to some bars downtown. It was pretty fun and weird to 1. actually go to a bar and 2. that people were actually there at the bar.

The next morning we drove to sliding rock. This place is in a creek valley about 20 minutes outside of town. You walk down to these falls and little pools of water. The water is nice and cool, which is a big difference from the ocean which is not cool at all. There are a few rocks there where the creek flows down and you can just use it as a waterslide. It is really fun. Here's a video of one of the runs.

Then we went to black sand beach beach. This beach is on the other side of the island from Apia. It takes about 45 mintues to get from Apia to this beach and probably 15-20 minutes of it is just this really bad road to the beach that is probably 3 miles long. Once you get there, it is very nice (I like). Most of the coast on Am Samoa don't have beaches, and the beaches that exist are really small. The black sand beach is big and sandy even out into the water (unheard of here). It is in a large bay and is a really beautiful place. Because of the bad road, there was almost nobody else there even though we were there on a Saturday with perfect weather. The best thing about this beach though is that these waves come in and just shoot you up onto the beach when they break- then they drag you back. They do both surprisingly fast. We did that for about 3 hours. A picture:

The next day, we went to a set of falls on the southeast portion of the island. You can jump off from different parts of the falls. I currently have big bruise from jumping off part of it. It isn't that I jumped from all that high, but in my effort to execute a proper cannonball I smashed my arm while gracefully entering the water. Again, nice cool fresh water.

That night we stayed at Lalomanu at the southeastern tip of the island. It is a really nice beach. The weather was mostly just great, but we didn't end up taking pictures until the next morning. We stayed in fales right on the beach- which are just mostly open air huts. They are about $25-$30 per person per night including your meals. It is good food too. We got there and hung out in the ocean for a couple hours and then hung out in the little deck/eating/bar area and drank some Vailima after dinner... til about 3. I did not feel #1 the next day.

The next day, we amazingly survived another day of Gonzalo's practicing to get our van onto the NASCAR curcuit and ended up (after going back to Apia) back at the southeastern portion of the island not far from Lalomanu. They have a group of fales on this island offshore that you can rent. To notify the guys with the boat to come and get you, you put up this flag and they are supposed to come and get you.

They did not come and get us. We got picked up just by chance because a day trip group was leaving the island. But once we got there it was really nice. You have this whole island to yourself and the area is extremely pleasant.

Sorry for the incompleteness. Please let me know what else you want to know and I'll get back to you.

Have a good weekend!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm really glad I don't live in Cleveland. There are tons of reasons, but having an entire 3 game series SNOWED out during April is ridiculous. The good part for now I guess is that Felix gets to pitch a game earlier.

There is really only one worthwhile broadcast tv channel on this island. It has CNN in the morning and sometimes has live sports and network tv shows from the armed forces network. There are plenty of bad things about it though. All the commercials are military propaganda. Any show could at any time be preempted or interrupted by a recording of Samoan church or a drag queen contest or flag day celebrations. None of these things are hardly ever shown live. Flag day is next week, but that doesn't stop the occasional broadcast of last year's celebration at any time. During the NCAA tournament for example, one GAME just happened to end right at noon. Lucky because instead of going to the next game (Wazzu), they went to a church replay. Monday night there was some sort of kareoke from who knows when on instead of network programming. Easily the worst thing about this station is that it must be powered by a 9 volt battery. This island is only 20 miles long so no matter where the towers are, it wouldn't be too far (they're actually probably about 7 miles away from me). Watching the station on rabbit ears, you'd think this station is coming from Tokyo, or Uranus, or your anus. The sound is fine, but the picture is half tv, half ant races. Also, I'm mostly assuming that the other station(s) is worse as far as programming because no other stations come in here at all.

Yesterday I got the rest of my stuff. Now I can stop using my computer as my stereo. Last night was actually the first time I've ever heard this stereo in action because I bought it just before leaving and mailed it to myself. Not too bad. Probably the best home theater setup I've had. Of course this one doesn't involve car speakers or car amplifiers in any way and none of the speakers are (currently) blown, so it wouldn't be too hard to top most setups of mine with which you may be familiar.

Flag Day is the biggest holiday here apparently. It is next Tuesday and they give you two days off for it. You'd think that they'd give you a 4 day weekend, but apparently not. I guess we get next Tuesday and Wednesday off instead of Monday and Tuesday. I say apparently because holidays aren't set here for absolute sure until your office gets a fax from the Governor. For example, for Good Friday, the official fax came in the day before. It is pretty sure that it is going to be Tuesday and Wednesday off...

so, I'm going to Western Samoa. I was able to get Monday off last minute, so I'll be going with about 10 people over to Apia and around Upolu (the main island of WS). I'm hoping to leave on the 430p flight Friday and come back Wednesday. This should be pretty fun.

These aren't new pictures, but they are new to the blog:

Movie review:

Blood Diamond. 7 Pretty good. There's a lot of action and blowing things up (which can be good) but most of it is not pointless and is reasonable within the story (unlike say Bad Boys II). Worth renting.

The fantastic weather stretch continues today.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why did the M's go with Weaver today? Why not Felix? Weaver did just great today I see.
I don't have much of an update today because nothing happened between yesterday and today except that I went to bed at 830. Good times.

Monday, April 9, 2007

No update for Thursday because the internet was so slow at work that I couldn't even upload the post. I couldn't even send an email actually.

This weekend was a really good one. Thursday, there was a bbq and party for Nate's birthday. Weave's blog has some pictures from this event but I didn't bring my camera. I did get home about 3am, so it was a good time and I even called some of you on your way to work that day. I got up around 1030 on Friday because we got Good Friday off.

During the day on Friday, I met the Colettis and Castros at Tisa's. I was finally able to do some snorkling. I was actually mostly snorkleblocked again because there was a really strong ava that day. An ava is a trench in the coral where the current can flow through like a river sometimes. When I went to Tisa's before, it was calm. Not so on Friday. At the edge of it we were holding on to coral in order to not get sucked into the ava. I didn't want to get any closer, so only stayed near the fringes. Here are some pictures from the day:

Here are the Sean and Jessi at Tisa's:

Friday night, the plan was to just do nothing, but we ended up playing Balderdash and then 3man. The 3man was pretty brutal and I ended up going to bed at 5, but not before some nice spilling episodes and not before Nate called a taxi to see if he could get them to bring McDonalds and cigarettes. It worked:

Saturday, I woke up and did not feel #1. But, we went to Airport beach anyway. This is a really nice place. There are two ways to get there. One is to take the "garbage walk" from our housing complex. We took the blowhole route, which is probably superior in every way except you have to drive to the starting point. The Weave's blog has some pictures of this day too. Saturday was the best day. The weather was great, the water was great- no current at all, deep water to snorkle in, and a nearby beach to hang out at. Saturday night we watched Pisupo the movie and hung out at Sharon's til 3. Apparently 3 is the designated time for any event to end.

Sunday, a big group all went to Emily and Randy's place. It was also a really nice time. There was bacci ball, egg dying, washoes, mimosas, and tons of good food, especially the chili and bacon casserole. Everything was good though. I should have brought my camera, but I didn't.

Today was not very good at court. Because of the 3 day weekend, there were tons of arrests, so that took a really long time and now I'm working on getting things properly charged and ready for the guys that were arrested. I'm exhausted today.

Movie reviews:

Pisupo the movie- Not a whole lot of plot, but good music and well done. It shows a lot of the island- so you should see it.

Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift- OK, I haven't made it through this one yet. So far it is very crappy. This sums it up I think. The main character met the bad guy one time and they raced. The bad guy just smoked him with no competition. Then later on another guy is trying to convince the main character to race him again and says- because you're his kriptonyte.- Hmmm, yeah, why? He certainly had no trouble the first time and had no other interaction in their lives. So far it is a 2.

I tried to answer the posted questions on Thursday, but couldn't get that to upload either, so:
1. I don't know what my home phone number is off hand. Calling my cell is the best bet anyway and I get free incoming calls.

2. I've only listened to an inning so far and it was Rizs and Neihaus, but there's no way the new guys could be worse than Hendu especially.

3. I didn't get a lawnmower, the maintenance guys mowed my lawn. It is their job. On the mainland, these guys would have been fired long long long ago, but here you're just happy when they finally get to knocking the grass down below 5 feet high. I noted this weekend that lots of things on this island are operated like the person in charge was me when I was 18.

4. I hope Shen's treatment works well. Does he go to Auburn to get it? Djali is pretty sensitive about being referred to as other than a goat. Luckily she is (probably) too far away to get you.

5. My parents do have plenty of cats, but I don't think they are that good at lawnmowing.

6. I do not like an uncut lawn. I just prefer that I not be the one to cut it if that is avoidable.

7. I haven't even heard of any goats around here Janaya, so no I think they mostly don't live here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

2-0! That's already as many wins the M's had against the A's all of last year!

I got my phone line hooked up at home, so that is step one to getting internet at home. Now, we'll see how long it'll take for the dsl to be hooked up.

The mowed part of my lawn yesterday. It is half of a miracle. I'll try to take some pictures so that you can see how badly the non-mowed half needs it. I haven't seen any goats on this island, but if there are any, I may need to use their services. If someone could teach dogs to eat grass, this place would be one huge golf green.

Andy, Katie, and Jaymie will meet up in a couple of days in New Zealand. Weird that they are even further south than me at the moment.

Tomorrow is my Friday this week!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Yay! The M's are in 1st place!
I got the internet MLB pass and listened to the last inning at work yesterday. That's a great start.

Movie review:

Miami Vice: 2.6 This movie is really not very good. It starts out ok, then gets dumber and dumber. I had a big problem with the unrealistic 'going to Cuba' portion of Bad Boys II. This version was even more pointless and almost as unrealistic (though it would be hard to top BB2 for unrealistic). More importantly, this movie is stupid, boring, always dark, and the ending has to be one of the dumbest in recent memory. Plus, there was no hanging out on Sonny's boat with the alligator and no Phil Collins.

I went to bed at 9 last night. I think I'm fixed now. And great thanks to the Colettis for allowing me to have clean clothing.

Monday, April 2, 2007

I keep getting thwarted in my snorkling efforts. Yesterday, the weather was perfect, I didn't have anything else to do, and I was fully planning on snorkleing. Then, I heard there was a tsunami warning. It was April Fools Day, so I thought it could have been that, but no it was real. I did not expect a tsunami to actually arrive, but I figured that voluntarily going into the water was not only against the spirit of a tsunami warning, but probably not the smartest thing to do.

Opening Day today! I'll soon be able to listen to M's game via the internet at home. That'll be really nice. Of course here, soon is a very relative term. I could have internet on Friday or on some Friday in July, who knows.

Last week I emailed the postal service to inquire about my packages that I mailed to myself on February 7. I paid extra for tracking. My tracking number lists no update after checkin at the Castle Rock post office. So I got a call from the postmaster here in Pago. He told me that my packages are not here yet. No shit. I said I knew that, but I was just wondering about the tracking and had asked what the point was if they weren't going to update it. He again told me that my packages are not here. Yeah, I know. I explained that I was just kind of hoping for an update as to their progress and thought they might be in CA or HI or something. He told me that they wouldn't go through HI, but through CA but that if I was shipping them from New York it could take a long time. Neat. Then he said I would have an update on my packages when they get here becuase I'd have them. Thanks a lot; very helpful.

So yesterday, I went out to Moi's house to assist a (very) little with the installation of an air conditioning unit. His place is in a pretty nice location right by the water. There are lava tubes under the rock shore that connect to the ocean. You can jump in a hole and then swim out to the ocean. I took some pictures:

I watched The Wire last night on dvd until about 1130 and including the general fatigue that the weekend usually provides, I am super tired today. Thankfully, today is an easy day; and tomorrow looks easy too.

Movie Reviews:

Casino Royale: 6. Not bad; not spectacular. This is also the same rating and review I probably would give the Casino Royale hotel in Vegas.

Sex and Lucia: 7 This is not as good as City of God or Y tu Mama Tambien, but if you are looking for a movie that also gives you some reading practice, it is not bad.

Constantine: 5 This includes the best actor of all time Keanu Reeves. This movie is not boring, not terribly terribly stupid, and not really too cheesy, but it also isn't all that good it's just medium.

I think Florida is going to win tonight. I wish they could both lose.