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Sunday, July 31, 2011

E iai sou ake?

A preview from "The Orator" movie. According to Samoa Observer it's been picked for the Venice International Film Festival. I really want a copy of it. It sounds interesting and it's all in Samoa which should be interesting. Moreover it's written and directed by a Samoa born son Tusi Tamasese.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dubai Sales Galore and Sophia Lauren

So we went to the Deira City Centre which is literally across the road from the hotel we're at. This hotel which hubby's work use for all their employees when in Dubai for work turned out to be conveniently located. You step out the door and you enter the metro station stairs where you can walk across to the mall or you can just cross the road at the lights(but it's too hot for that now). The metro below can take you to a lot of attractions across Dubai which is very handy.

We walked across to the mall and had a look around and oooh the sales were just in your face, inviting you in to buy buy buy! Uh huh they appealed to my weak mana'o tele self. After looking for hubby's new toy to no avail, he and our returned to the hotel while I feast my eyes and brutalise the bank card at the shops. I'm normally not an impulse shopper but today really tested my willpower!

I bought this cheap eye shadow kit in May. Result is every time I wear the damn thing my eyes get itchy. So I guess cheap and my aira face do NOT go together. I went into Sephora to browse for some good make-up, I asked the assistants about certain stuff and the Chanel make-up artist came over to help me. I happily took the opportunity to be pampered with expensive make-up and by a professional too! So I asked for a specific look and she worked from Step A using face serum(whatever that is), moisturizer right up to eye shadow. She asked if I wanted the Arabic or the European version. The latter thanks very much and no foundation fanks. Anyway after she did her thing I left with my one purchase. Let's just say I never wear make up like that but thought I'd give her the benefit of the doubt. So the real test was when I got back the hotel. Hubby opens the door and first thing he said was: "So you got Arab make-up on again?" Choo hoo

Moral of the story never let a make-artist around here play with your face!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week-end Away

Thank goodness for creche's that run summer programmes. I put my son in one not too far from where we live and it's been great. Every time I pick him up he runs out with a new craft that they made in class. Sunday were the birdies Peter and Paul sitting in a boat, Monday was a turtle and Tuesday was a frog that he had attached to his hand like a puppet. Each had a little rhyme attached to the back of the craft. Very clever crafts using paper plates and card boards. He came back with more creative things in 3 days at this creche than a whole year at the one before! Anyway he's enjoying making new friends and he's happy to be going to 'school'.

Hubby had to come to Dubai for his sim on the week-end and I decided that we'll tag along and enjoy lounging around the hotel room and swim in the cooled pool. And that's what we did yesterday. When hubby went off to work we went down for a swim at 7.30pm and stayed there for about an hour. Got back to the room had some munchies and slept fitfully till 8 this morning. Beats sitting in Muscat on our own. All our friends(ladies and kids) are away for the summer so it's just us "only the lonely" there. I don't blame them as it's supposed to be hot in summer and it's ramadan in 2 days.

However, lucky for us the summer is mild and we've been able to go outside everyday after 3pm for Tau to ride his bike and splash in his little pool. We bought an above-ground pool for his birthday that's not too small that we can all fit into. Today we're going in search of a pool pump and chlorine tablets for it so we don't have to empty it and waste water every time. Exciting as Tau is very confident in the water now and may help him swim sooner than later. Once the swim teachers are back from summer I'll take him back for swimming lessons.

And now we're off to check out the Dubai Summer Sales. Of course the hubby doesn't know that yet!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flora and Fauna of To Sua Gardens, Falealili, Samoa

An amazing swimming hole called the To Sua(with water) and another To lesua(without water). This is where my youngest sister's wedding was held. A spectacular location and the family that own this land keep the land beautiful and natural and have all sorts of exotic plants growing on it. An ideal wedding ceremony location, as the sun sets, the natural colours all around are magnified along with the colourful attire of the guests, while the wedding vows are drowned out by the crashing waves below you have but the newly weds body language and the beauty around you to go by.

Sunset from the Cross Island Road looking back at Siumu.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When a Minnow swallowed a W.....

A Mastercard ad for the Rugby World Cup at Wellington Airport earlier this month. It would have to be changed to "When a Minnow Swallowed a Wallaby:) choo hooo The showing off continues...

Nursery and other rants.

Dropped Sonny_Tau off to Nursery this morning and now I can go pay the bills, do grocery shopping by myself and do other stuff that needs to be done without my little shadow hanging off me. yippee.
Sad sad occurrence in Norway yesterday! It seems if it's not a natural disaster plighting a people it's a human caused tragedy. So awful that there is so much evil in people.
And then Amy Winehouse dies at 27! I mean where the hell are the people that are supposed to love this girl! Blimin' sad how society stands by and watches a destructive person kill herself slowly. It comes out that she's been cancelling shows and basically have been sick on stage. Can't remember her lyrics and I just saw a footage where she got booed off the stage as she's shaking and just looks dazed. WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE that should care for her.
Weird as I just watched a movie called Country Song last week starring Gwyneth Paltrow which is not much different from Amy's life. A destructive singer who just wants to quit but everyone around her 'need' her to keep singing. In the end she took her own life! How many times will this play out. Lucky for Brit Spears that her family stepped in to help her out.
And now on the news, they say Amy Winehouse had a soulful voice, umm how can there be soul when she's one messed up drug addict! This world is full of people that are full of shit lies.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Insecurity or naivety?

I ran into old male friends in Samoa one day. It was good seeing them and then we sort of planned to meet again the following week for lunch or drinks or something. I suggested we all bring our partners and two of them shook their heads and said 'no partners'. Typical I thought. A few days later I ran into one of the guys at a shop as he was hopping out of his car and his wife was inside so I waved and I said 'hi' and this guy mate just sort of nodded at me; 'nodded' at me, yep the one that was so vocal about meeting up again that week. I waved at his wife too and said hi(I knew her as well) and I continued into the store to do my shopping. I ran into 'my mate' in the shop aisles and he was the same guy I met the week before. All chatty and cool "Hey what's up? what did you get up to after we ran into you... blah blah. We chatted for a bit then I went on my way but I was left gob-smacked.
What the hell is going on here? Is he so afraid of his wife that he won't be seen by her talking to other women...even old mates? Is the wife the insanely jealous type that he won't even risk getting in a fight? Why is this f*%^ed up attitude so common in Samoa? So I thought it more peaceful not to see these 'guys' under any circumstances without their "good" ladies around. Pity as they're awesome guys but no thanks if they have to pretend in front of their bosses. ma'imau le kaimi

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The character Tauilagi of late

"Mama, be patient" says my three year old Tauilagi when I told him to return the rest of the chocolate croissants to the kitchen!

We had planned to go to Marseilles to meet up with my sister and family next week. However after our long trip to Samoa, NZ, UAE and finally back to Muscat, when I told Tauilagi that we were going to France he shouts "NOOOOO" I said, Tau we're going to see your Aunty and your cousin-sister MM and baby Sebastien. Emotional blackmail will surely do it. Tau's reply "No mummy, I don't wanna go, we're home now, this is Myyyy Muscat" ooookay
Different approach, appeal to his boy adventure-ish side: "We're going to ride on an aeroplane AND train".
Tau: "NOOOOO, I'm too tired mummy" And that was that. Yep just last week we were on a 20 hour flight from NZ so can't blame him for being tired of air-crafts!

Samoa through Tau's photographic eye:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Short Stories by Lani Wendt Young

I highly recommend these stories by Samoan author Lani Wendt-Young.

Don't Tell" A story about Susanna's ordeal as a victim of abuse and how she is not victimized in one way but many other ways as society tries to deal with her dilemma.

A True Samoan Woman This is a funny and light hearted read about Mele's Samoan-ness being born overseas and idealizing her heritage.

The Beast that Came from the Sea A snippet of a tsunami survivor's nightmare.

Well written and descriptive. So descriptive that I can't stand the Sina the Snake Killer story. I hate snakes almost as much as the heroine so I had them crawling all over my sensitive skin as I read it. Pity as it was a great story in the end but I'll be honest snakes and moi don't get on in real life so I wouldn't even go near them in my virtual existence. I say buy the e-stories on Amazon and see how you too can be like Mele. A True Samoan Woman...heh heh

Disrespect to blame for Wallabies' loss | Rugby | Fox Sports

My favourite article by Wayne Smith on Samoa's win over Australia. The best part is this "Demographically, this is the equivalent of Australia being beaten by Hobart. Indeed, it is worse than that because the population of the Tasmanian capital is nudging 215,000, whereas Samoa boasts only 192,000 people, every single one now deliriously happy." Oh yes, we're all deliriously happy where-ever we are:)

Disrespect to blame for Wallabies' loss | Rugby | Fox Sports

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Samoa 32 Australia 23

Yep, I'm one VERY HAPPY Manu Samoan supporter today. That was an amazing game today in Australia by the Manu Samoa. Alesana Tuilagi scored an awesome try in the first half and the game was 10-0 to Samoa for awhile. It was just beautiful to watch. The first time Samoa has beaten Australia and the commentators were quiet not knowing what to say really. In the second half they then commented on how frustrated the Aussies looked and that they were 'rattled' choo hooo. About time. More tries were scored by Kane Thomson, Paul Williams and someone else. The whole team showed guts and team work.

Now I must say I have hope that they can do well in the World Cup if they keep that kind of play up. The most remarkable moment during the game for me was when Alesana Tuilagi tackled an Aussie winger and drove the guy out of the field then he pats the guys head and gets up with the biggest smile on his face. Just love the kaufa'alili la lea. Fa'amalo lava i le Manu Samoa today and I think Samoans everywhere are celebrating like we just won the world cup Le MANU: SAMOA Choo Hooo
One proud Manu Supporter living in Oman:) From our camping trip in Feb this year.

Malu a se Tamaita'i ma lana Tama Teine

My older sister wanted a malu(female traditional tattoo from the knees to the thighs) for awhile now to mark new beginnings for her. We were busy with baby sister's wedding so weren't sure if it was going to go ahead. However the Wednesday after the wedding we found the tattooist and his two assistants at the family house. LM was no doubt ready to face the music of the tattooist the very next morning. After a hearty breakfast the tattooist started on my sister's left leg. They completed the one leg by lunch time.

LM's husband arrived with their four kids as they were completing her leg and their eldest, my 13 year old niece YF immediately took to the artwork and announced that she wanted one too. Her father and mother both said to her it was painful and she would have to be quite brave to get one. The 13 year old kept saying she wants it on the same day as her mom and her granma(my mom) has one and she wanted one too. My Mom heard all this and sat her down and spoke to her about it. Did she really want it and why? Her parents were now all for it and said to my niece YF that if she wanted it she can get it.

This is no ordinary thirteen year old. She's mature for her age and umm a Samoan fully grown 13 year old. After lunch the tattooist said that they will start on YF's left leg! And they began. About 10 minutes into the tattooing, younger sis and her palagi friends arrived to witness some Samoan culture on display. I went to the living room to say hi to LC's friends and to give some encouragement(from me whose body is not covered with tattoos) to my niece. I was greeted with an ironic(funny to a Samoan) scene. A 13 year old was crying while being tattooed while the palagis were snapping away with their digital cameras. I'm sure in some countries this would be seen as abuse and yet here we were in good ol' Samoa celebrating the young girl's pain as a sign of devotion and bravery! Choo hooo My niece's cries eased up a bit as she got used to the rythm of the au and made it through the day. I wondered if she'd show up the next day.

Early the next morning both mother and daughter were the first at the scene of the crime to get some more drumming from the tufuga. YF went first and was done by lunch time and this time she was quiet and obviously knew how to deal with the pain quietly! Big sis went straight after with no dramas and all was done by 3pm. The beauty of their tattoos were so remarkable it just touched my proud Samoan heart. The tufuga's talent was showcased once more as he tattooed according to the woman's age and size. The malus were outlined the same but the delicate details differed. Though the malu is seen on many women today, it still blows the mind when you see it. The beauty of what is unique to us.

I asked my niece after she got tattooed after praising her bravery on why and what got her through the tattooing. Her words "I did it for my grandma(my Mum) and when I heard her voice it just calmed me down and kept going..." I choked back tears as I listened in awe of my niece who I carried around as an infant only about a decade ago, tell her aunty pala'ai the reasons the most remarkable piece of traditional Samoan wear is on her body.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Where to drink in Samoa

I went to Amanaki with my social butterfly buddy in Samoa. My mate SK is one you can be sure is ready for a few whenever. So off we went to Amanaki and my re-introduction to Apia nightlife began.(As per popular request by ONE reader here's a take on the watering holes in Apia) Amanaki has any drink you want and the service is very good. After a couple of drinks there we went on to Y-Not. As it was a Tuesday it was a quiet evening. Again efficient service and nice atmosphere. The music and bar pretty much closed at around 10.30pm. The law require bars to turn the music off at 10pm and close business at midnight. We ran into other old mates at Y-Not who said to come along to a new club called Tausala in Vaitele so SK and I thought why not as the night was young.

Well Tausala is a dump to put it bluntly. The building was like an abandoned warehouse with a bar near the entrance and toilets that an outhouse would have been a better option. The only positive outcome of that outing was that we caught up with some classmates having a stag night but the stag was knocked out in the car outside by this point. It was nice to see these guys again after a very long time. Needless to say I wouldn't be caught sober at this watering hole for sure. It was a rougher version of Apia-RSA if there is such a thing! Having said that they serve beer, spirits and were open way past nidnight.

Later on, that week we met up for drinks at Amanaki again. This is the most popular after-work hangout at the moment. We went to V-Bar afterwards and wow that was something else. They have two bars: an open and a closed off one with Air Conditioning. Needless to say the A/C bar was far more busy than the other one. What struck me though was that everyone was so young and I felt quite 'mature' in this setting. It was ok but one had to be shit-faced to fit in with the crowd as it was buy one get one free night. They have Fiesta on Fridays where you pay 30 tala from 5-6.30pm and drink as much as you like of included beverages(spirits). One Friday I joined some friends one evening after fiesta to find once again I was the odd one out as everyone was in their happy place by 8pm. It's a marvel and what a great idea for the bar to make money.

We went to Tropicana at midnight as V-Bar closed at 12 and someone said Tropicana being away from any residential homes carries on a while longer. Tropicana is what it is, a fun local bar but there was a fundraising social there that night by a netball team and a lot of them were from SCOPA so caught up with a lot of people I knew. The toilets were utterly disgusting but I guess drunks don't really care where they urinate at this point. We nevertheless had so much fun as they called sivas for different members of the fundraising committee and everyone was in a happy party mood.
One busy day my thirsty sister and I went into Eden's Edge in Togafu'afu'a to have a couple of drinks and sit out the hot afternoon. After a few vailimas and a game of pool with the friendly waiters we continued on to the wedding rehearsal for little sister's wedding. This is a nice relaxing, quiet place to enjoy your drink nevermind the village volleyball going on over the fence!

I must say Samoa nightlife is still the same but I find there is a higher danger factor involved now. Apparently an airline crew were robbed and beaten up after a night out in front of V-Bar. My friend's phone was snatched from him as he was texting in his parked car with the window open. Another bar goer's handbag was snatched from her as she was walking back to her car. On my last night out with my sister we went to V-Bar. It was so rowdy in the first bar that I felt unsafe. There was a queue to get into the A/C section and we didn't want to go there. We ordered drinks then went to the front porch to sit. We could see the other porch off the A/C room filled with people well into their partying. We realised we could smell dope and saw that another group next to us were openly passing around a joint! Only in Samoa?!

Truthfully I was now a little bit worried about our safety when we had to leave. There were a lot of youngsters that hang out on the street in groups and 3 years ago I wouldn't pat an eyelid but now I wasn't sure. I was grateful to the V-Bar door security that accompanied us to our car that night.

Long flights aargh

Made it to Dubai safely after a long journey that started in Wellington at 11am. My sister picked us up at Auckland airport and off we went to my Aunty's place to say hello and hang out for a couple of hours before our connecting flight at 6pm. We had fun catching up with my Aunty and sister and then headed back to the airport to check in. At Auckland airport an old colleague and mate checked us in which was nice. Ran into two other people I knew from Samoa. Auckland is an extension of Samoa it seems sometimes.
We got Emirates lounge passes which was good and not so good. My terror of a three year old decided it was fun to jump from couch to couch and then run to the other side of the lounge and yelled at the top of his lungs 'Mummy, Mummy, come and find me'. To which I pretended I couldn't hear as I enjoyed my cup of tea, fruits, crackers and cheese. When I was done and ready I went over to fetch him and found the lounge attendant was bribing him with another activity pack to bring him back to our seat.
He played for about a minute with the pull sticker out and put on cardboard and ran off again to skip on the couches. I started threatening him nicely and then harshly but the boy wouldn't listen. It was going to be a long trip from there-on.
AKL_SYD was fun for Tau as he ran all over the A380 and made friends with the crew. He was quite tired by the time we got to Sydney so he didn't listen to me much.
SYD-DXB he ate and then knocked out but now his short-tempered and tended to yell at me for more milk/water or whatever he wanted at this point. I fed him and told him to lie down so he can watch cartoons and eventually he fell asleep. I tried to sleep during this time. We were lucky as we sat down the lady that had the window seat saw the 3 year old and immediately asked to move...umm Tau was at his best for those 5 minutes heh heh. So when she moved we had the whole row!!
When Master Three woke up much later he asked if he could go for a 'walk' meaning run all around the aircraft. He was fine until the flight attendants were about to serve breakfast so they brought him to our seat and then Master Three decided to throw a tantrum. About 5 minutes later he settled and ate his breakfast and napped before landing. Oi aue what a hellish trip for me. Travelling with a stubborn three year old is NOT fun.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Samoa Classmates Reunion

My sister-in-law happens to work with an old classmate of mine. So I got her number and arranged to catch up over lunch. Yesterday I went into town in my three layers of clothing plus my heavy coat to see my friend Angelina. It was so exciting to see her again after so long. We went to Uni Prep Year in Samoa back in 1997. This was a prep year for university or further studies. Ange and I were in the same English class. A very memorable one because that year Mrs Lesina Aleki and Mrs Sina Va'ai and their fellow English lecturers decided that we had an English night, where each English class had to come up with a play, drama or poems to be performed and read on the night.

There were about 10 in our group and we decided to use a Samoan scary myth, superstition(true to some) and made up a story around it. Our play went really well and we were very proud of ourselves. We also did another one that imitated the birthday announcements and notices on Samoan TV but instead of photos we took turns freezing on stage in certain poses. So for a 3rd birthday the subject froze with a teddy and a childish expression! The university had just moved into its new flash campus which was built by the Japanese. It was well equipped and it had the latest filming equipment at that time. The English night was done on a nice stage with all the proper lighting plus it was filmed by the university for their archives. So to our shock/horror for months after that night our plays were played on TV Samoa due to lack of other material then. What's memorable about that night was the fun we had preparing for the English night. It strengthened bonds with classmates as we were all in it together and didn't want to bomb out on the night.

So our lunch with Ange consisted or reminiscing about that night and the fun we had back in 1997. Then we both laughed and agreed at how it was such a long time ago now and yet we don't feel much older. Which of course is a good thing. We asked each other about our old classmates from then and wondered where some of them were and then decided that we should really have a class reunion soon so we can catch up with our classmates and see how everyone is doing. I hope more of us will be keen to get on with it but one thing for sure is I'm getting the ball rolling for next year as of last night. Angie amazingly has a copy of the English night video and I'm going to use it during our reunion next year. It would be hilarious, better go on a strict diet to not look like I doubled in size! If you're a UPY 97 student please add yourself to our facebook page UPY 1997. If not please keep in touch on exciting times ahead.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Where to eat in Samoa

Observation: There are so many small hotels that have popped up everywhere in Samoa especially in Apia. Hotels, motel-like accommodation with restaurant and bars. I didn't get to check them all out but wow Apia has really changed. It's become quite fast! Faster than 3 years ago I'd say. I did try out the Amanaki Bar and restaurant a few times. They had affordable and tasty food and the service was quite good. One wasn't left with an empty glass or bottle for too long. Result: legless when drinking White Russians! Kids Do not try this at home! They had nice fresh sashimi everytime we went there which was good.
Seafood Gourmet at Matautu opposite the new marina is still my favourite eatery in Apia, affordable and I always walk away full and happy. I love their fish and chips, grilled fish, fresh yummy oka and their chicken salads. I like the latter as you feel like you're being healthy when you order it but then it comes with the thousand island rich dressing with that sinfully yummy Best Foods mayo in there and it just set you a few paces back heh heh. It gets me every time. They usually have fresh fish as the owners along with the hotel mentioned above run fishing boats so you know it was caught that morning or the day before?!
Roco's is at Motootua not far from the hospital or Red Cross centre. Fairly pricey and the food is okay. They serve fresh coconuts which I think is great and they have a nice view of Vaea Mountain and the ambience is quite nice.
Paddles at Matautu is also still going strong. Not cheap but the food was good. I was disappointed with hardly any Samoan dishes in the menu but otherwise the staff were nice and the food was yummy.
Newcomer lunch/breakfast place opposite Malua Fou College is Encounters. We ate there twice and both times the food was good. Good prices and friendly staff. Could do with more drink choices but otherwise worth checking out for sure.
Keli's sandwich shop at Lotemau is still going strong. They serve fresh fruit, chicken, steak sandwiches, muffins, smoothies and the like. A reliable place to get a healthy sandwich or wrap.
I noticed new coffee shops all over the town. Bambino's is still going but not as good as before. Coffee bean near the foga faleogo or EFKS building is not bad neither. Good coffee but it's in a small shop so it feels a little bit crowded and noisy when the blender or whatever is going behind the counter.
Swashbucklers or yacht club at Mulinu'u is also still going strong. The food is good there, reasonably priced and the sashimi is fresh and vailima cold. You eat under the stars if it's a clear night.
Tanoa Tusitala hotel bar and restaurant is another nice place to eat. 9 tala for a beer though is a tad much but it's a nice atmosphere with good snacks.
There are some good eateries in Samoa and so many to choose from which is nice.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Wellington itinerary

We're in freezing Wellington after tropical Samoa. We've basically stayed close to the toasty fireplace to keep warm. Today the sun is actually out but still quite cold. Friday we caught up with hubby's fam and friends at the Tasting room in Courtney place. Nice bar and yummy tapas to boot. By 1am I'd had enough bought a yucky kebab and came home. The kebab was bland and not worth my troubles. Headache the next morning with my usual promise of never consuming alcohol again...oi auee lo'u moa e. Saturday night we went for dinner to my bro-in-law's house. What a lovely dinner prepared by them. Met nice friends of theirs and was quite a pleasant quiet evening of discussing all sorts of issues in NZ and the world. The next morning which was yesterday we went to brunch at hubby's Uncle's place. Nice seeing them all again. Tauilagi is of course enjoying meeting more family everyday. The grandparents are enjoying everyday with him that I sometimes forget I came with my son! heh heh I think my son just sees us as housemates at the moment as he's spending every waking moment with his nana and papa! Today's a quiet day of relaxation and changing tickets on our way home.
We were supposed to go for our friend's LM's wedding cocktail last Friday. But thanks to Qantas they didn't fly most of last week due to the ash cloud though Air NZ and others were operating. So we had to cancel our trip and inform our friends that we couldn't make it. We were so looking forward to that too!
I'm so unprepared for winter that I've now rerouted our tickets so my son and I will go through Brisbane to catch up with our cousins there and meet up with my friend that I haven't seen in 5 years!!! She got married in May and we just couldn't make it so will now go visit them. I can't wait and look forward to catching up with them all in Brisbane. yipppeeeeee