Driving the South Coast Road of Savai'i island was a true pleasure, dotted with numerous quiet villages, vistas of the sometimes rugged coastline, and a feeling of getting always further away from the busier east side of the island. When I turned left for the last stretch to Falealupo, rain started to fall in large quantities, battering the roof of my car, but I could still see some rays of sun in the distance, and did not loose all hopes for a nice sunset that evening. In fact, when I arrived at the beach fale I would be staying and walked on the empty white beach, it was already dry, and with heavy showers to the east, a bright rainbow stood over the landscape. I turned, and watched as the sun sank behind the horizon, turning all the clouds in the sky pink, and then grey.
After another lovely night with the soothing sound of the sea arriving at the beach, and a quick swim in the waters off the beach, it was time to go to church - I first went to the new church I had seen the previous day, which seemed like a logical choice. However, I only found a woman cleaning it, and it was obvious that no service would be held that day. I walked across the road, to the seaside where I found the ruins of a church that was destroyed by a hurricane that also destroyed parts of Falealupo, after which the village was reconstructed further inland. But it was 9 o'clock, and I had to hurry to the small church a few hundred metres away. People completely dressed in white were walking the dusty road under the bright green palm trees, some under colourful umbrellas, and when I entered the church, everyone was dressed in white. Kids were singing in a choir, a musician was playing an electronic piano, and outside, adults were still waiting to come in. When service finally began, there was some more singing by everyone, but mostly, the rest of the almost two hours was filled with lots of sermon from the priest in Samoan. Kids were running around, unable to keep still for such a long time; they looked beautiful in their white, often nicely decorated, dresses. Mothers sometimes took their noisy kids outside. With little ventilation around and streams of sweat running down my back, I was trying to cool myself, using a brochure as a fan. At the end of the service, two elder men passed around with the communion ingredients, which I refused. I had taken a seat on the back bench, so as soon as I knew that it was over, I was waiting outside, hoping to catch a nice glimpse of the parade of snow-white faithful walking back to their homes through the palm-tree studded area.
It had become really hot, so when I got back to my beach fale, I did not even think twice and went for a refreshing swim; feeling the warm rays of sunlight dry my skin felt great. After a hearty Sunday lunch, I took a French couple to Cape Mulinuu, the far west of Savai'i. We found a circular pool surrounded by black lava rocks, and scrambling over the rock formation just south of it, enjoyed a good view over the rocks in the sea on which the waves were breaking, the completely deserted sandy beach towards the north, and the palm tree forest lining the coastline. Here again, like in Falealupo itself, I felt the solitude of this area and the relative isolation, which was even enhanced by the silence of a typical South Pacific Sunday. The skies were darkening again when we drove back to the village, where I dropped my friends, and continued towards the north coast of Savai'i island. The drive to the main road is undulating through a varying vegetation with some big banyan trees. I did not want to arrive late in Manase, my next destination, so I skipped the canopy walkway which is one of the other attractions on the Falealupo Peninsula. In any case, most attractions, even natural sights, were officially closed on Sunday.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Falealupo (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Falealupo.
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