Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fantastic Hikes, Beaches, Islands

So there will be more on all these beautiful places later... but basically, I've been trying to go "hike" somewhere beautiful every weekend. Above is the view from the end of the 3 mile (one way-- the longest official hiking "trail" on the island) of Mt. Alava.
Yes, I need to figure out how to turn my pictures. This is Nuu'uli Falls.
This is Larsen's Cove, AKA, Larsen's Bay.. the nicest beach I've been to on the island.
This is the view from the beginning of the Massacre Bay hike-- you end up on the beach where a huge Massacre happened in the name of... RELIGION...
This is on the ferry ride to Aunu'u island-- and then my camera was full...

I'll try to do proper posts for each of these places since they really represent 5 different weekends here.... but at least these way you are getting to see some of the island.

Weddings and Cute Kids

Our friend (and Assistant AG) Moi, got married... the beach above is what is in back of where they actually said their vows.
The beautiful wedding party...
They wear matching outfits in American Samoa to weddings-- we all got into it!
Cliff's head, Fred, Polu (the bride), and Weave...
The guys: From top left: Fred, Nate, Weave, Aaron, Alden, Ben
On a different day, these two gorgeous men knocked on my door to show off their new martial arts talents. These are Cliff's and Julia's kids-- we love them! They are hilarious and probably the greatest people on the island.
I mean, look at that face: precious killer or what?
This is Melissa (one of the Assistant P.D.'s) and her gorgeous daughter Syriana-- I get credit for babysitting and teaching her how to high-five in one night!
More wedding-- Nate on the left, Best man-- my lovely Puletasi-- traditional woman's clothing here... and Moi, the Groom
The beautiful reception area overlooking the ocean cliffs....
Destination Wedding anyone? Cori?

Leai DH: Ode to Colorado

Colorado Haiku:
Statuesque summits
Vibrant colors embrace her
Witness the wonder

D.H. isn't in Kansas anymore. I dedicate this post to him. He likes to pretend that Kansas (above) is way cooler than Colorado. He's apparently been hit by too many twisters.
Leai D.H., Leai. (For the non-Samoan, "leai"="no," pronounced "lay-I" it's a very fun word.)

Lights of Larimer Square in Downtown Denver
The crazy, fiery sunsets atop glorious mountains.
Friends gathering at 11, 180 feet for hut trips... normally incredible backcountry skiing and snowboarding. CO's highest point: Mt. Elbert, 14, 440 feet (I've been to the top)... Kansas' highest point: Mt. Sunflower, 4,039 feet... yup-- there's more than 10,000 vertical feet of beauty in that one mountain alone.
Ah, the Rocky Mountains...

The many, many, many, many wonderful hiking trails... and people who actually like to hike.
Vail ski resort...
The Gore Range
Boulder, Colorado...
Estes Park, CO... where the lovely A.M. and I bond with the background of Rocky Mountain National Park...

Leai DH... let's leave CO out of it from now on. I have a sneaky suspicion that we may want to have a reunion in a ski condo somewhere, well, not in Kansas...

Beautiful World

I've been extremely lucky to visit some incredibly beautiful places in this world. The picture above was taken on the top of Mt. Saint Helens after we were lucky enough to win a hiking lottery to get hike the volcano the next day. After 4500 feet of elevation gain, we literally walked through these clouds to luckily get this "halo effect" view of the clouds on a nearby mountain. Standing at the top of the crater of the volcano after hiking through feet of volcanic ash was pretty incredible.
The picture above was taken on the top of the continental divide in the Tetons (on the Paintbrush Loop trail). The two alpine lakes were spectacular. We hiked 29 miles that day (literally we hiked more than a marathon). Probably one of the best days of my life.
This turquoise beauty is one of the many geothermal pools in Yellowstone National Park.
This lovely sunset picture was taken at Olympic National Park, after hiking through the Rain Forest, the Pacific Ocean appeared to me for the first time. It's crazy to think that I'm living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean now, when I had only discovered it for the first time here in 2003. We got to camp on this beach-- which is also the most Northwestern Point in the Continental United States. No one else in sight for miles.
Then... there is this ridiculously beautiful beach outside of Rio De Janeiro... Angra dos Reis. The rainforests hug the shores there and that day an incredibly charming fishing boat deposited myself and the other researchers on this deserted island. Pretty incredible.

I needed to make room on my computer for some new photos... but I didn't want to forget about all the other great places that have decorated my past, helped quench my thirst for beauty, and most importantly, dared me to discover more...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Photos, Photos, Photos...

This is my street... what you see at the end of the road is water. It is the Pala Lagoon and very polluted, so I wouldn't swim in it, but it is still nice to know that I have a view of the water. I did kayak in the water last weekend, and a sea turtle popped up next to the kayak... pretty wonderful! These are the Birds of Paradise plants right outside my carport... notice the giant snail and its beautiful shell.
Here is another great shot of the cliffs behind Matt's house... you can get a sense for the topography of the island as well from this view, and hopefully begin to understand why swimming is somewhat death-defying at this location.
This is one of the lovely palm tree lined beaches on a more remote part of the island.

This is another shot of the spectacular cliffs behind Matt's house... for the Fourth of July we watched the waves crash on the rocks and it was our substitute for fireworks.

More Catch-Up Photos

This is an aerial view of the island we live on, taken from the plane on the way back from Ofu.
This is another fantastic golf couse sunset.
A lovely sunset in Ofu.
Crazy, beautiful Ofu.
Notice the color of the water in Ofu... it really looks like that, even more beautiful perhaps.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cultural Influences

So, when you go swimming here, you have to ask someone from the village if it is okay to swim there. As a result , you often attract a crowd.
The other photo is clearly golf-- you'll notice flip-flops, and no need for collared shirts, but since we came in our work clothes... we're pretty dressed up. Notice how beautiful the course is.

This a a picture of Jeremy (curly hair) and Sam (shaved head) and Miss American Samoa.. they loved this photo.

The other red photo is the Community College Production of Aida. Dancing was great in the show... stop when you have nothing nice to say, right?

These are some striking young males at a Polynesian Dance Show. Note: definitely the most in-shape men on the island.