First of all, welcome to the new recruits! We met some lovely people during our time in Fiji and Samoa and we've finally added them to the site!
Also, we're now linked to Facebook so you can get updates directly through your newsfeed from there too!
As I write this the Americans have elected their first African American president - and Matt, I hope the vote on the railway went the way you wanted! However, this is the only news story CNN have deemed worthy of coverage for the last 9 weeks so we'd appreciate some news from back home!
Anyway we digress. So then, Samoa...
OK back to earth with a bump! First, Amanda didn't get a veggie meal on the flight (not too bad as it was served at 1am and was a limp sandwich!), then we landed and realised Amanda's cosmetics bag had been taken from my rucksack - when we got up in the morning we found that my mobile had been taken too!
So not a great start! We were met at the airport by Mark - an english guy who runs a B&B near the airport. He was a great help, getting numbers to cancel the phone, pointing us in the right direction in Apia (the main town), giving recommendations for dinner, etc. However, if you've seen Austin Powers you'll understand when I say it was like being looked after by Fat [email protected]!! We suspected that the B&B wasn't all that clean and this was confirmed by the big cockroach sitting on the wall when we got back from Apia!
That said, the following day we set off for a week at Taufua Beach Fales. While very basic (fundamentally beach huts), it was like stepping onto a paradise beach - white sands, aqua marine water. We basically lived on the beach for a week and rarely even wore shoes!
While there we met some great people - Esther has already put photos on Facebook so you may be able to get a glimpse of what we've been up to. And honestly it really is like her photos! Our photos next week - we promise!
We did some great snorkling just off the beach - an amazing variety of fish - and Carl learned how to crack open a coconut. We saw people climb coconut trees and drank fresh coconut juice. As a local said - all you need to survive is a coconut tree!
We had a few days on Savaii (the other island) at the Savaii Lagoon Resort. These were bungalows on the beach which was nice to be able to have a proper shower to get the sand off! However, Savaii was unbelievably quiet (we didn't see anybody!) so we hired a car for two days and toured the island - we swam in a waterfall pool and saw blowholes which was amazing
One other Samoan problem - wild dogs! They basically stopped Amanda from going anywhere in Savaii as you had to walk everywhere or wait for a bus. The bus, now that was fun - we had a remix CD of Christmas songs playing while we hurtled along avoiding the pigs, cows, chickens and people on the roads!!
Overall, Samoa was more beautiful than Fiji - much more the picture postcard image of the south pacific - but the people in Fiji were far friendlier. Given the choice Fiji's the one we'll go back to
On the way to Sydney we had a night in Fiji staying at the Raffles hotel where we had the entire pool to ourselves and had a lovely day compared with the prospect of 7 hours in Fiji airport
We flew into Sydney today - my aunt, Denise, met us at the airport and gave us a tour of the harbour on the way home. We saw Bondi Beach, great views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House and a lovely lunch by the beach before heading back to their place to sample Pete's homebrew!!
And so the Australian adventure begins...