A Travellerspoint blog

Upolo/Savaii Islands, Samoa

rain 22 °C

Ta,

I headed out last Wednesday to the southern beaches of Upolo. What a ride a souped up bus with bumping tunes flying throught the beautiful mountains. Had to laugh at one point as Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' came on. Made it to Lalomauno a beautiful white sand beach with the island Nuufele in the close distance. Sunny day, arrived around 2pm and laid out on the beach and did some snorkeling. Met a girl from England who is dating a Samaon boy and now lives in the village. Hung out on her porch for the night having a few drinks and enjoying listening to a group of Samoan boys play the guitar, sing, and dance. It was a great night full of laughs and great entertainment. That night a crazy storm came in adn blew heavy against my ocean front fale. The next morning I set out walking to be greated by rain and more rain... like super heavy monsoon rain. Drenched yet enjoyed the four hours I trekked through villages as the little Soamoan children yelled 'bye-bye palange'. It was great. Stop for lunch and a swim at Saleapago which has a lovely waterfall on the mountain behind it. Never made it to any of the proper waterfalls for it was to wet. Ended up back in Apia against my wishes but went with it and thought something great will come of this. The next morning I awoke early and headed to the bus stop. As I came around the wharf at 6:45am the streets were packed with Samoans as it was the last day of the Teulia Festival and the day of the parade and the Miss Samoa Pageant. The floats were amazing!!! All decorated in local materials; shells, leaves, clothe, paitning absoluelty beautiful. The streets were incrediably crowded. I stopped at the bakery and got a donate and notice the people buying these little round balls, so I bought a few to try.... they ended up being more amazing than donut holes (my girls would love them!) I made my way through the hustle and to the bus. And eventually to the ferry. Upon arrival at the ferry I was a little annoyed that it did not leave till 12 and I arrived at 10am. There is such isparity in the time tables depending on who you ask. I could of easily watched the races and made it on timwe to the ferry but was told different, oh well I made it. The ferry was jam packed with people on the floor in the aisle, people laying in front of doors and stairs... people anywhere there was a little space to fit them. I did meet some ladies and a girl from Australia that were native Samoan but here visiting, nice conversation with them. (Forgot to mention the herding effect...as soon as they were boarding the ferry was rushed with no order, no queue aka line, just elbow your way in , lol)

Once on Savaii, it was the same a mad rush to get off and I immediately was attacked by taxi drivers but have learned to ignore them and made my way to the bus. It was loaded to the max! I mean people on people, people standing, bags stacked, music bumping as we flew down the road in the rain with no wipers...(breath Nonnie, lol). Whew! What a ride. About an hour later I arrived in the village of Manase, on a beautiful sunny day! :) made my way to the beach fales and was greeted with a fresh cocunut froim the tree, divine. Spent the arvo relaxing and snorkeling on the beach, had a great dinner and then back tot the beach to enjoy the full moon glinsening on the waves. had planned to leave the next day but with the transportaion system or lack of I did not want to get stranded in a remote area with only a few days till my flight, Sunday & public holidays coming up, and no certainty if the ferry ran on Monday. So I decided to treat myself to a proper day of lying on the beach and enjoying the sun, something I surprisingly have not done since here. I have been constantly on the move and have not slept past 8am, crazy, eh?

It was a lovely day!!! Just what I deserve to reflect on my travels and prepare for the massive reality check that is in my extremely near future. Like in less than 72 hours!!

So, the best part, today my trip back to the ferry this morning. i awoke at 6am to see the sunrise but the sky was stormy and no sight of the sun. I had breakie and headed to the bus stop. To be picked up by a full bus, Or so I thought. But as we continued along the road the bus stopped and continued to pick people up. There is some type of hierarchy on the bus. Older women/men get there own seat. Young men stack sometimes three/four high in the back and children just passed off to the best seat. Bags lines the center aisle and all around the driver and just when I thought we can not possible fit anyone else we pickup 10 more bags and all!!! So squshed you cannot even take a deep breath! It was quite an experience. The lap of the man I was sitting on has traveled a bit and was excited to see palanges (me and one other) learning and experiencing the island way, everyone has a place a shuffle made usually in silence but always done quickly and without gruff, just expected/customary. and let me tell you there it was quite an easy movement as a stop made and the people at the very back climbed over bags and people, there bags found and on the bus went. Lol :) Was going to spend a few hours in Savaii and catch the arvo ferry but it was pouring rain so I got on the morning one and made my way back to the inn. It is Sunday so everything is closed today and it is pouring rain so noit much to do but chill. A few travellers are here a group of 9 sporatically left when they found out the ferry is not running the next few days. I am thinking I may treat myself to pizza tonight (will think of you Lyndz) and chat with the few that are in the front room.

I head out tomorrow back to LA, back to family, back to friends, back to hot showers, back to reality... ah what a beautiful strange long trip this has been! So, amazing I am in a way not ready for it to end yet look forward to being home. I am so glad I did this journey through all the ups and downs it has been an amzing experience! Talk with you, heck see you soon...

Peace and love
Krystal

Posted by krystalynn 19:00 Archived in Samoa Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Upolo / Manono Islands, Samoa

semi-overcast 23 °C

Tafola Lava! :)

The countdown is back on. Down to four days before I catch my flight back home! :) Excited to be back and and see all of your wonderful faces. I arrived last Tuesday night after a crazy day of travel. I left the 26th of August at 9am and arrived in Samoa the 25th at 10pm talked about a mind wharp! Tons of traveling and twelve hours gained.

Samoa sits just to the east of the international date line. The island is beautiful! Palm trees and pristine blue waters! I spent my first few days wondering around Apia and taking in the change of culture and lifestyle. It is much less developed and people are extremely curious and friendly and all want to talk with "palange " (white person). The cab drivers are a little pushy with trying to tour you around the city because they are all indepently owned and there are heaps of them. I have not taken any cabs as I enjoy the walk because I get to stop and enjoy spots and move about freely. I spent a day wondering around the markets. They are quite interesting... The fish market consists of individuals sitting around with the fish they caught in the early morning swatting the flies away as they await for someone to buy. The fruit and vegetable market is essentially the same but many more individuals and pretty much everyone has they same items for sale.. cocunuts, bananas (fea), breadfruit, papayas (puw puw), taro, banana chips, pumpkin, and cabbage. The fruit is sooo delicious as it is all vine ripened. I really have enjoyed the cocunut milk and cocunut cream, delish. I also have ventured out and eaten all kinds of stuff. The market also has a food court area. Had a donut type thing with lamb in it, fried sausage, pies, banana chips, Samoan chicken (heaps of bones and much tougher), pork, soups, sardines, breadfruit, whole fish (like whole!), and I am sure other odd things I cannot think of..lol. It has been quite an awakening experience and I must say my stomach and gag reflex has proved quite strong. So there has been more to the past week than food (even thought the In& Out burger I am getting straight away from LAX is making me salavate).

I spent last weeknd Monono island, a proper Samoan family experience. I met a lady, Tua, who works for the Attorney General and she is from a little village on this island (1 of 4 villages/ 1hr walk around). I met her on Friday unsure of what I was getting myself into but thought it sounded like a keen experience. So we walked to meet her family. 2 little girls (4/6) and a son (10), husband, and I must say a pretty cute nephew. We all piled into their SUV and began the trk to Monono Ute (where we meet the boat) Stopped at several stores on the way out picking up different items along the way and an hour later we arrive at a small dock with a boat thing parked there and several other Samoans hanging around. We loaded up the boat, everyone talking in Samoan...I had no idea what to do, where to stand, lost puppy. So, I hopped on the boat with my bag and sat next to the little girls and waited as I watched the older boys play soccer in the yard of a nearby house. Then a bus dropped off several others everyone piled on and off we went into the sunset towards a small island 20 minutes off Upolo. Upon arrival the sun had just fell behind the clouds and pulled into a small dock and I was told to get off. The teenage boy we had picked up at one of the stores unloaded and began carrying the bags up to a little store front that sat directly above the dock. Tua instructed me to a fale with a large table just behind the store. Hear several other were awaiting as dinner was about to be served. I was served more food than I can consume in three meals. At the time I had no idea what it was or what edicat to use. No one was sitting down and hear I was with tons of food on a tray before me and instructed to eat! I lingered a bit as other plates were set out on the table. It was the 2 year olds birthday so they lit a candle sung happy b'day and all the young children were served cake and ice cream as there dinner. The adults and I ate as the teenage kids sat in the outdoor kitchen area which was seperate and served us. After we were finished they came and cleared the plates and ate what was left amongst themselves. Next i was shown to the fale where we all would sleep (a large open roon with an ocean view, two twin beds, a stereo, table, and dresser) Pillows were brought in and I was given a bed to sleep on and Tua and her family got settled on the floor on woven mats. The village consists of tons of children, at the family place I was there were (8mo,2,4,6,9,10,12,14,16,18) fun to watch as they all entertain themselves outdoors playing tag and the paretns sit and chat. All under the night sky.
(So much to say, I am getting a lil detailed, lol) Anyways, the next day I was taken on a tour around the island by the kids. The road consists of a narrow foot path that winds through banana field, along beautiful beaches, and through the four villages taking a lil over an hour to complete circle the island. We also did a hike up the hill in the cernter of the island where a thousand years ago a German man buried himself alive and the Samoan people built a proper grave in the spot. Amazing hike through jungle and quite fun trying to keep up with the 6 young boys as they ran barefoot along the trail with complete ease. Sunday was super interesting. Attended church, I was later told it was on Jesus healing Lazurus with the message of Jesus is the way to the Light. The rest of the afternoon copmpletely quiet and then a second church session in the early evening. Religiong is really strictly enforced and practiced. In the evening throughout Samoa there is an hour ( a bell is sounded) you are not to be on the street but in prayer and the families come together at the end sing a song then another horn blown to signify it is over and you can go on with dinner.

Amazing cultural experiences....

Must get going I am on the only computer that works... Until next time :)

Fa
Krystal

The biggest area I have had trouble with is... the rubbish! AAhhh!!! They just through trash on the ground, out windows, out to the ocean. It is everywhere. This suprised me considering what a beautiful place it is you would think they would want to preserve it!

Posted by krystalynn 00:38 Archived in Samoa Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Mangrove Creek, Australia

sunny 22 °C
View Oceania Adventures on krystalynn's travel map.

Hari Om :)

May this find you having a great day! I have had a great past few weeks living on at the Mangrove Yoga Center, an Ashram, in the Mangrove Creek area. A beautiful mountain location just up the Central Coast from Sydney. I arrived here almost two weeks ago, the time has been a true growth experience and I have enjoyed ever moment of it :) I must say it was quite a change of pace and routine from the very first night. But change is good and is something we deal with throughout life, sometimes better than others but none-the-less it must take place for us to grow as individuals.
Where to start... Well I arrived on a weekend so there were approximately 100 people here at that time. The center also is part of a Yoga Academy based out of India and courses where coming to a close. So there were about 30 students wrapped up on studies trying to complete the end of their course and prepare for their final evaluations. There also were several individuals here on personal retreats taking a little time out of the hustle and bustle of their lifes, and the rest were here attending a program on Meditation. Once the weekend was over the majority left leaving the students and residents which gave me a little more of a perspective on the flow of a routine week here at the Ashram as well as gave me an opportunity to mingle a little with the students and residents. The next weekend I was here for the change of energy and pace as the next group of people came in for the program and my mind was able to see it all from a new perspective. The Ashram itself is a community living environment everyone puts in and helps out with the daily tasks involved in the functioning and upkeep of the place (housekeeping, maintenance, kitchen, gardening, projects). Everything is structured as a learning environment and a big part of it is Karma Yoga. The essence of living in the current moment and not worrying about how long a task may take or what you will do next but instead focus on the task at hand and giving it your full energy and attention. It is amazing how fast work gets done when you are not consumed with what you get out of it or when it will end. This form of yoga is a huge basis here and they teach it in daily tasks with the intention that you get a foundation that you will carry into more trying and difficult times and tasks outside of the Ashram.
This place is majestic and absolutely beautiful. It is nestled in the bush with mountains completely surrounding it on three sides and a creek that runs along the front of it across the road. The building I am living in is quite a hike up the mountian (the day I arrived I had quite a struggle lugging my back up the steps, up a small hill and then up more steps where residents live. But once there it is absolutely breathtaking and you cannot even see the rest of the buildings nestled in the trees below.)
The days are completely structured from 6am - 8 pm daily making them go by quite fast. I have been assigned to different duties daily and have free time here and there to go explore. The structure has been good for me, the getting up at 5:30am, needless to say hard, but once up and moving I have really enjoyed seeing the sunrises. The environment is so group orientated and from the top down everyone has a meal cleanup shift and cleaning duties making us all equal and a team.
There are several forms of yoga practiced here. It is not all around the toning competitive yoga like we have back home where it is more of a fad to be a part of. But a lifestyle to live by. On Friday and Saturdays we have Kiritan, which is yoga of the heart. Songs are sung to the harmonium, drum, and guitar with a vibrational beat that is amazingly soothing and energizing. It is lovely! There is also yoga based around keeping the joints healthy that is practiced in the morning. Pranayama which focuses on the lungs and breathing helping stimulate the central nervous system. Ajapa japa which helps calm the mind and allows the sub-conscious to be stimulated. Just to name a few. I have learned so much which I am extremely excited about because I have a keen interest in yoga. And love to see how the satyanada method intergrates physical, psycholigical, emotional together to form a complete practice of stability that all humans need.
Persoanal adventure has consisted of bushwalking up to the caves. One day with a girl, Joan visiting from Sydney, that are nestled on the cliff top above the Ashram. There is a view spanning the entire valley that is brilliant! I also went kayaking one day with, Eran, a student from Israel, we got quite the workout that day but definitely enjoyed the peace and serenity of the creek. Made the mistake of going downstream and as the tide came up leaving us paddling up stream, luckily we had paddle, lol :) trying to beat the dark. There are several shorter walks I have taken between meals and on the 30 minute tea break everyone takes in the morning and afternoon. The other day I went down to the old settlers cemetary. About 20 tombstones all hand etched and mostly from two families spanning from the early-mid 1800's. They are nestled next to the creek and floodlands and have been under water a few times leaving a few sunken into the earth. I know a little creepy, but I really enjoy old cemetaries. Today I awoke a little anxious for it is my last day and tomorrow I head back to Sydney. I have been organizing a plan to stay focused on what I want to accomplish upon my return. I went up to the caves this afternoon and spent a good hour journaling and admiring the beauty. I felt amazing after and am so satisfied I drug myself up there.
What else, what else... so much I could say. OOh, there was a lyre bird singing to itself outside my room this morning to its reflection in the door next to mine. It was beautiful, I got a little of it on recording. They can mimick any sound they here and are beautiful birds with fanning tails.
I am off to Sydney tomorrow and am going to see the Australian Heritage Museum tuesday with Nari then fly to Samoa on WEdnesday early in the morning. My travels are winding down and soon I will be in your presence again :)

Hari Om Tat Sat,
Krystal

PS
I would love to see who has been following my journey, post a little comment for me :)

Posted by krystalynn 22:49 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

NZ to AUS

sunny 21 °C
View Oceania Adventures on krystalynn's travel map.

Quick flight with complete feelings of apprehension and anxiety. I felt so at home in New Zealand and was not ready to move forward at all! Even thought of changing my ticket and staying at least another week, but decided I must go! I must make the change, that is what this journey is about delving into new unknown places, exploring culture as well as growing within myself. So on the plane I went with absolutely unknowingness of where I was going to go upon arrival. No plans, no reservations, little money, and a heavy bag. Anxiety full throttle :%!! Upon arrival at the airport I made my way to the information area and began looking at all the brochures on backpackers in the Sydney area as well as cross checking them on the map. Giant sprawled out city, which way to go... I have no idea! I unfortunately was unable to make a contact with my Nonnie's friends son before arrival so it was all an open field. I decided to head to Coogee Beach where the info guy said it was a relaxed surf spot to the south side of Sydney. So out the door I went to the bus terminal found the correct bus to get on and waited to see what was to come next. While waiting I met two girls from Texas and they were headed to the same area so I chit-chatted with them a bit. Upon arrival in Coogee I discovered the majority of backpackers close from 1-5pm and it was currently 2pm... great have to wait and hope and pray I find accomadation for the night ( the one the girls were at was booked out). I walked up a steep hill looking for accomadation but each place had the same closed hours. Deep breath... luckily the first one I went into at 5pm had rooms available and just happened to be on the street opposite the beach with a view of the bay from my room. (Where the picture of the beautiful bird was taken from my earlier post on Coogee). Just though I would add this in, it has been sitting as a draft for weeks :) and gives a perspective on one of the more trying times in my travels...

Krystal

Posted by krystalynn 01:30 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Blue Mountains, Australia

sunny 20 °C
View Oceania Adventures on krystalynn's travel map.

G'day maties!

Hope this finds you having a wonderful day! I left the farm yesterday after a beautiful day of bushwalking. Made my way back into the bush towards the opposite end of where I had seen by horse back. Let me tell you whole different experience on foot. I felt like my eyes were on overtime as I did not want to encounter a snake, spider, or trip over one of the many pertruding roots that lay hidden below the leaves. As I weaved my way along I bumped into a kangaroo... and we were equally as surprised to see each other, lol. Stood staring at one another for some time then he hopped down the gully and found a new place to look for food. They are such amazing animals. With their short little arms and mighty thump! as they make there way through the bush. At one point I was admiring the view when I looked down to see giant ants swarming around my feet..aah.. got away just in time. Tried to get a picture but the move so quick and it was not worth seeing how hard they bite :)! Feeding that evening was majestic as the sun set and beautiful reds, pinks, and blues swept across the horizon. I have really gotten into the routine of the farm life and highly enjoy it yet I must move on for I greatly dislike being unable to move freely, stranded from going to far. The next morning after feeding I scurried to go at 9am when Mike said he would give me a ride but supposedly he no longer was till "later" no time persay because Chowsoo, the korean boy also staying there, wasn't ready, aggravating! I had plans to see the 3 Sisters and do some walking but to my luck Glenda had a book to pick up in town and gave me a ride. Of course just missing the train by 5 minutes! Walked around the quaint litle country town of Blackheath for an hour and had a yummy turkey sandwhich (it was so good).

Once on the train it only took 20 minutes to Katoomba where I got settled and headed to Echo Point. planned on taking a $20 trolley that tours around but was told my the manager it was in walking distanace, so I set off. And walked and walked. Upon arriving, the Blue swept the mountains and there stood the 3 Sisters, absolutely majestic (just like us :). Made my way down to them, huge stones pillared out from the mountain, standing strong for thousands and thousands of years. Next to them sits the Giant Staircase constructed in 1901. I was unsure of what I was getting myself into expecting it to be mountains that looked like stairs, but this remarkable. Straight down, I mean straight down trip, fall and die/ or get really hurt :{, stairs had been cut into the side of the rock mountain intot he forrest below. Once down I took a few to stretch and get ready to decide where to head next. Decided to head towards the Laura Forrest along a trail nestled in the bush. It was lovely. The bush is totally different from that of New Zealand. There are still ferns but this bush is much more... scraggley, with vines and shrubbery and sticks pointing out everywhere. Crossed several little rivers with lovely waterfalls coming down from up above where you could not even see throught the thick canopy. Walked for well over an hour and began the decent upwards (descent, hardly, as up as the down was before) Midway there was another trail leading left to the Laura Cascades, since I had made it this far I decide to go a little further and see what they were all about. Amazing, Giant rock nestled high above and descending down intot he forest with water rushing and trickling down into the river below. It was so energetic. Sat and stretch and enjoyed the serenity of this beautiful nature. Down so low you knda of lose track of time but I had roughly a little more than an hour to make it back up top before the sun aset and I am sure it would get dark and super cold. I trudged kindly talking to my legs up the mountain and along the trail with an occaisional decline that I hoped was not to grand for that only means more uphill. Made it back to the starting point just as the sun set behind the far mountains. As I sat on a large rock shaped as a boomerang I became totally lost in the majestic site of the Blue Mountains sitting below the red, pink, and gold horizon. It was phenomenal :) So phenomenal a picture could not even capture a small portion of the beauty. The walk back to town seemed forever because at this point my legs were over stretched rubberbands working merely because of force. I stopped at the store because I was starving but by the time I got back to the backpacker I was at ( A really neat old hotel from the 1800's that literally was still completely victorian decorated, with the felt red walls and doylees on every table, and an amazing wrap around porch.) I had not a once of desire to cook dinner and after half a much earned ale I almost talked myself out of it. But I did find chicken on sale, which I think was the first chicken I had bought the entire trip. I forced myself to make dinner it was delicios. Earlier in the day I had thought about walking around Katoomba and checking out the mountain town but at this point I sat staring at the floor ( I think for a good hour) before I willed myself to the shower and then to the comfort of a bed. It was lovely to lay down :) The next morning I caught the train into Sydney and then another to Gosford. It was a quick 1.5 hr trip and I got alot of reading done in the book I am alomost finished with. More beautiful scenery as we went through mountains along the West Coast and waterways made there way through with islands with houses on them, heaps and housboats and other boats, and huge oyster farms. It was neat to see, there are square areas surrounded by logs and almost look like dock but much to small to fit a boat. Upon arrival I was going to wonder a little (not far with all the weight on my back) when I notciced a bus heading to Mangrove Mt. and hour earlier than the one I had planned on taking, So I jumped on!

.... Boy o boy what a ride that was. Down here the public bus at a certain point in the day has its last stop then continues on as a school bus. Yup, that was the one I wa on :*. First of all the driver had no idea where my stop was from the beginning, it was his first time on this route. So the bus proceeded to pick up some Jr. High age children and one of the girls stood at the front and told him where the stops were, lol. It was funny to sit and observe the glory she had in this subtle power of knowing and having the driving continually questioning the next stop. Once they were off, I though 'ok, now my stop must be right up herre we are about 40 minutes up the mountain. We then made another stop and picked up an ENTIRE busfull of elementary age children. I must admit they were cute in there brown and yellow uniforms and little outback hats, but the lead girl on this load was extremely bossy yelling and telling everyone what to do, lol. I wanted to tell her to shut up at one point. The bus driver was becoming a bit tense as well and was trying to hurry and get them off, but was at this childs mercy as he was in completely foreign territory. I have to say I was quite the spectacle as well, with my big bag and foreign accent not knowing where I was going. It turns out I should have waited for the next bus because the end of the line for this one was on a desolate mountain road about 30 minute walk to the drop off I was to be at. I got off and was happy to sit on the side of the road and regain hearing and let my headache mellow off for an hour while I awaited the next bus, and besides the barking dog at the one house near I was able to get a little tranquility as I ate my sandwhich and journaled abit. Not long later the next bus came and dropped me at the next stop where a gentleman was awaiting to pick me and another lady on the bus up and drive us up the mountain to the Satyanda Yoga Center.

Posted by krystalynn 00:20 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 23) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 »