We’re staying at MKR appartments, right in town. Comfortable, lots of street sounds, and the water is definitely not bland. It flows clear and fast from the taps, available for washing, showering and flushing. We’ve been advised not to drink it directly, not unless boiled. The trick is to boil a jug each night and then let cool overnight for drinking the next day.
Nice little appartment with good kitchen facilities and a bed in the alcove. Air-con too which helps cool the room at night. There’s plenty going on around us without even stepping out: the market and bus station opposite, with Samoa’s brightly painted pasi buses circling constantly looking for passengers; the shop on the corner booming out music; the clank-clank of metal joists being laid at a new building under construction. Not too mention the open air Zumba class every afternoon, the wailing three-year old next door, and the barber shop singers practising for Apia music festival in September. Funny really, how all these noises emanate from every side, converging waves of varying intensity, merging and cancelling each other out. We tune in, then out and only listen to the sound of that lovely flowing water. So bland, but not really.
Beyond the street life, the screech and song of downtown Apia, we can can see the ridge of hills that divides Upolu. A few houses up there, cooler and quieter than here. Few roads though – uninterrupted green bush, topped by the odd wispy cloud, then acres of pale blue sky. Over the other side is the east coast where all the best beaches lie, together with five star resorts and lounging holidaymakers. A different kind of noise over there. The sound of people reading and the occasional whisper of a page being turned. Later the clink of ice cubes in glasses, friendly conversations over a fish dinner, and the gentle lapping of waves on pebbles. Nothing as lively as here – with buses hooting and the odd scrape-scrape of road-sweepers’ spades across the surface of the road.
Last night we discovered Fish Market – a great fish and chip restaurant where the fish is so fresh it blows salty kisses at you. Eat me, eat me, eat me. One giant bottle of Vailima beer and yellow-fin tuna fried battered and fried with machine chips. Delicious, just what Manu would have ordered. Even the sauce wasn’t bland. We’ll definitely have to go back there.