Monday, December 12, 2011

Grand Samoan Adventure Grand Finale Part 4: The Edge of the Earth

So after I got back on the ground, got over the edge to kiss it repeatedly with gratitude to be alive, and climbed into the cab, I decided to stop by Moso's footprint.

I can sum up everything about the footprint pretty darned quickly:

1. It's a formation in the lava rock vaguely in the shape of a right footprint.
2. The legend is that the giant Moso put his right foot down here, straddled several hundred miles of ocean, and then put his other foot down in Fiji, where there is a rock formation shaped like a left footprint.
3. This legend is the only redeeming thing about it.
4. The woman who happens to have the footprint in her front yard charges five Tala just to look at it. This is the worst deal in the South Pacific.
5. She needs to stop letting her kids run around the yard naked. Seriously.

So off we continued to the end of the world. I hopped back in the cab and we came up to the awesomely creepy remains of a church that had been blown apart by a hurricane many years earlier.

The driver asked if I wanted to stop and take a look at it, and I said something like "Sure, there's still plenty of time before we get to the sunset at the end of the world." And he said "Sunset? Okay!" and kept driving right past it toward the area where you can see the Last Sunset. His English wasn't that great, and I was too tired to explain, and plus it was raining and...yeah.

We arrived at Falealupo Beach Fales. After I determined that there was in fact someone actually here to set me up with a fale, I and I thanked, paid, and tipped the taxi driver and arranged for him to pick me up tomorrow morning. And he was off. Then I remembered that I wasn't quite at the very end of the world. I was more like a mile from it, not even quite at the end of the road. I tried not to let that bother me.

For anyone wondering what a fale is, it's one of these:

A traditional Samoan hut with no walls (though rolled up woven mats were hanging from every side). This particular one had a nice little mattress pad laying on a hardwood floor and even a tiny little bit of electricity (one bare lightbulb and I think one plug). It's all cooled by the sea breeze, since it's on the beach. The fale I was on was only about 30 feet from the water and had a nice view.

Hey, quit HOGGING the beach! Geddit? HAHAHAHA!

The main reason that I had picked this particular beach fale place was that it was at the End of the World. For those of you who can't remember details from the beginning of a blog story that I started almost a year ago, it's called that because this is the last settled place before the International Date Line. Thus it's claim to being the last place where the sun sets every day.

As I stared out over the water, it was bizarre to think that this was the edge of the world. That's it. No more, except water. The end. Fin. Well, unless you count that last mile or so that I could have gotten the taxi driver to take me to. But I had been too out of it from exhaustion at the time

Entirely due to my being a fan of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book series, I packed a towel with me on this particular trip, almost as a joke. And now I had something to lie on top of in the sand. I put on my new lava-lava (that I had bought from someone selling them at the passenger waiting area for the ferry) and did just that, since it had stopped raining. Life was good. And dinner was to be included.

And then the sun came out. Life got even better.

I walked around, including a little ways into the water, and took some pictures. I've always been a really obsessive picture taker. As in taking dozens of pictures in a situation where anyone else would take just one or two. And I had a revelation, here at the End of the World. Why was I always taking so many pictures? Because I wanted to hold onto some of my favorite moments. To try and preserve them as fully as possible so I could go back to them whenever I wanted. But what I was really trying to do was to hold onto the past, to try and fight against the inevitable passage of time. And no one can ever do that. And maybe it's the same obsessive desire to get the absolute most out of life while I can that was bugging me about not seeing the very edge of the island.

Oddly, I've gone down to an almost-normal amount of picture-taking since then.

The Last Sunset came, and it was beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that a couple showed up just to see it and left as soon as it was done. I took a billion pictures of that sunset. Dinner was served, and I took a picture of it, too.

Mostly to fuel discussion of what it was. Other than good. And why they served me coffee just before bed.

The Last Sunset went, and it was still beautiful. And darkness came, and that was okay. While brushing my teeth, I noticed that the pump for the water had stopped whrrrrr-ing and that the water pressure was really low. A quick chat with the owners revealed that the power was out for the whole village, that this was totally normal around here, and that it should be back on in about two hours. Eh, maybe I'll just go to bed.

The moon was beautiful, and bathed the whole beach in moonlight. The beachfale owners were having Sā, which was nice. Someone had gone around and distributed candles and matches to each fale, since the lights in them weren't working. I lit mine for as long as I needed it, pulled down my mosquito net, put out the candle, and fell asleep pretty quickly.

Can't see any fire hazard here, nopenopenope.

What a day I'd had. I'd seen black sand beaches, posed in front of the giant Taga Blowholes, traveled through the pouring rain, slipped across the rainforest canopy walkway, wasted money on Moso's Footprint, and seen the Last Sunset from this amazing Beachfale.

I slept well.
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