This has been an interesting Saturday. It started with a 6:00 a.m. wake up call. By 7:15 a.m., Abby, Amber, her 2 friends (who are visiting from the States), and I were crammed on a school bus with the JV and Varsity boys soccer team. The bus ended up being a bit small for all of us, so some of the players stood in the aisle, some of them sat on each other’s laps. Oops, sorry. We picked up some referees along the way and they stood in the doorway. School bus rules don’t apply here. I teach quite a few of the Varsity boys, all of whom are charming and handsome little men. Both teams lost, but the season just started so they’ve got plenty of other chances to try and win.
After the game and a stop at the post office, Abby and I met our friend Lauren at the hospital bus stop. From there, we started our hunt for the “waterfalls behind the hospital.” We had no idea where to even begin our search but thankfully, Lauren saw someone she knew and he kindly pointed us in the right direction. We followed a road and entered a gravel pit/construction/hard hat zone. Umm. We were definitely out of place. Some Samoans pointed us up a gravel road (amongst all the machinery, a pool of water that was neon green (?), and gravel-y stuff) and we saw our first waterfall. It was nothing fancy, mainly because it was manmade. Word on the street was that there were 6 waterfalls so we started hiking up. We followed a little creek that was bubbling and rippling with crisp, cool, and refreshing water. Turning a corner, we saw our next waterfall. It was beautiful, and the water was falling from a very high spot on a mountain. After soaking in the view for a few minutes, we decided to start climbing so we could try and find some of the other falls.
From the get go, the climb was more of a rock climb/grab onto anything you can grasp type of situation. Wearing shoes was only making it worse. I was sliding and I had no traction or grip. Off they went. From then on, I followed the footsteps of Sam and Frodo and used my bare feet and toes to clamber up. Abby thinks that it would have been a perfect time to have Vibrams, the five finger shoes. I totally agree.
Before long, we were stuck. The soil was really loose and there were rocks and branches everywhere. Lauren was ahead of Abby and I so she decided to keep climbing to see if it was worth it to keep going up. I stood balanced on a tiny rock, holding onto a tree. Before long, she started sending down rocks (not on purpose, of course) and I kept saying “avalanche!” Lauren was having a hard time finding anything to grip and after the rocks just kept falling around Abby and I, I had had enough. The last thing I wanted was to get impaled by a flying boulder. Abby and I sat down and started our slide/descent. It was very steep, very slippery, and well, messy. At one point, a big, heavy rock came flying from above and slammed into my backpack throwing my whole body forward. Thank goodness I had been holding onto that tree and that my backpack was there to protect my neck. Oka. Just a little farther…
As Abby was about to reach solid ground, she slipped and went sliding down the mountain. She was okay. She slammed her elbow pretty hard and got really muddy, but she made it! Now it was my turn. I tried going really slow and making sure I had a full grasp before I stepped. Pff. I slipped at the same spot and down I tumbled. The only thing I could think as I slid/rolled/twisted was “my butt!!” Haha, I think I might have even yelled that as I slid. I was okay too but I got (in the words of my students) “hecka/hella” muddy. My butt, legs, feet, arms, and hands were solid mud and dirt. I had made it but I did get some battle wounds. I got some tiny cuts on both hands, my butt has some cuts, and it looks like a creature tried to claw part of my left leg. I laughed. Only in American Samoa does all this crazy stuff keep happening to me! Falling between rocks and almost breaking my ankle on Ta’u, almost getting thrown onto rocks and swept out to sea in Vatia, and now sliding down a mountain behind the hospital. Fun.
Poor Lauren was still trying to climb down and avalanches kept falling. Massive rocks fell off the cliff and landed in the creek and waterfall pool below. She literally kissed the ground when she got down. I just laughed. I think we’re done with the waterfalls behind the hospital though.
My butt was so muddy. I went into the hospital drug store and bought a lavalava (in English terms, a sarong, I guess?) that I pretty much live in here, and covered up my uncleanliness. The rest of the day was spent eating a one pound burrito from CJ’s (Carl’s Jr. – fast food. Sometimes you just need it.), riding the bus, getting groceries, and stopping to get bananas from a stand on my way home. Life on an island is the coolest thing ever!
I hope your weekend has been just as much of an adventure! Hopefully you didn’t slide down a mountain like I did.