Thursday, November 17 (Day 79)
“Notwithstanding they are cannibals they are naturally of a good disposition”
Captain James Cook, the Pacific, 1775
Brilliant. It says it all really.
After breakfast by the beach I have to turn down the invitation from two cute, friendly Norwegian girls to join them on a small private boat and swim with turtles. My knee is just too much of a mess. If I swim in the ocean it will probably become horribly infected and I know what it is like to return to England from a tropical land and end up in hospital for a few days. I’m feeling a little out of sorts today after Monday’s accident and think it’s best to just put some tunes on and spend the day horizontal, reflecting upon the transient nature of happiness.
I’ve always considered myself to be a mountain person but I’m starting to reconsider this. I don’t think I ever feel as happy as when I am in the sun in some gorgeous chilled place with the tunes on and the evenings pregnant with endless possibilities. The Pacific has reawakened memories of Ayia Napa ’95-’97; of being content to base my life around sunrises and sunsets.
I am conscious of the fact that I haven’t uploaded any blogs for nine days and haven’t been in contact with home. They have dial up internet here but the thought of checking my emails fills me with a sense of foreboding. I don’t know why but I’ve got a fear on me that something is wrong back in England.
I think this is officially the world’s worst internet. In 45 minutes I manage to load four emails and one solitary page on More Than a Game for 6 pounds. Truthfully though I have really enjoyed my disconnect from TV, newspapers, state propaganda, mobile communication, and internet during my time in Samoa. For once, it is really refreshing to have absolutely no idea about what is going on in the outside world. Maybe we’d all feel happier without the TV news, magazine ads and the lies the newspapers fill our heads with.
This is the last day of my 2011 trip when I can go to bed knowing I don’t need to move on the following day. It is therefore my last true day of absolute freedom on this particular, unforgettable tour. Tonight’s sun downer beer is especially emotional. The scene, with local kids playing touch rugby on the beach, as the sun dips below the horizon, puts me in mind of Duran Duran’s fantastic Save a Prayer video.
I’m blessed with plenty of good company tonight. Ingri, one of the Norwegian girls, was working in the world’s most northern settlement on Svalbard (79 degrees north) before she decided to come to the bottom of the world to visit the Pacific islands. She reckons she might be able to find me a job up there if I don’t assimilate to life upon my return next week. There’s also a cool English couple travelling with their four kids (never let it be said that young kids can’t go travelling. Many of them learn more in three months than they do during a couple of years of state schooling in my humble opinion), a very sweet Kiwi girl, Jessica, and two American lads who work on American Samoa. It is fair to say though that their descriptions of the country don’t motivate me to head there any time soon. American Samoa became an American territory as far back as 1900 but the Americanization of its culture didn’t kick into full affect until the time of the Kennedy regime during the 1960s. The country’s claim to fame, apparently, is that it has the world’s most successful branch of McDonalds, per capita, as well as some of the world’s most obese people. Once two parts of the same culture, today, Samoa and American Samoa are now like two totally different worlds.
I love where my bed for the night is. I am basically sleeping on a mattress, cocooned inside a mosquito net, on the floor of what looks like a small bandstand, next to the sea, below 200 billion galaxies. The fale is totally open, so if anybody or anything wanted to disturb me, they could just stroll or crawl straight on in. All that separates me from the sea, the beach and the infinite universe above is a couple of millimetres of mosquito netting.