Day 4 – Thur 29th Dec
This day was so much fun. It was more relaxed than all the other days and we stayed close to home. As usual, we had a delicious breakfast in the hotel restaurant overlooking the gorgeous ocean. Our complimentary breakfast included juice, cereal, toast, and fruit. Yum! The kids behaved well every time that we ate in the restaurant, and the hotel workers were amazed by our large family. They set up a big table just for us each day. We got quite of lot of stares on our trip for the size of our family, more to say about that in a minute…
Anyway, after breakfast we headed off to Saleaula Lava fields. It was so hot, we had to lather ourselves in sun lotion and bring a lot of water with us. Here is the history with the lava field. In 1905, there was an eruption from Mount Matavanu which lasted for 6 years. Over this time, the molten lava buried 5 villages under this wide lava flow. At the site, we saw half buried churches, a virgin’s grave, and there were also lava mounds with imprints of trees. Our little old lady tour guide was the cutest thing ever, she fell in love with the “babeeeeeezzzzz” as she called them which included Mary, Emma, AND Daniel! She kept asking all three of them for kisses! She also claimed Hannah as her own, putting flowers behind her ears, and holding her hand all the way around. It was cute.
After this, we went back to our hotel to change into our swimming things and then it was off to swim with the turtles. This was a huge highlight of the trip. There was a huge pool/pond/lake thing and they take care of the turtles until they are fully grown and then release them into the ocean. I don’t know how they tag them, but once they released a turtle and five years later that turtle arrived in Fiji! What a long way to swim!
The kids were over the moon with this experience. The owner cut up pieces of papaya and threw them into the water, and the turtles would all swim closer to get a snack! They were very tame and obviously used to people around. At first, the owner told us that we could touch them, but not play with them. After a while, I think he realized that our children were responsible, and he showed us how we could hold onto their shells and be pulled around for a ride. What fun! We stayed for a long time and got way too many photos to put on here, but it was a great and unique experience for us.
After lunch and naps, we wanted to just relax and enjoy time at the hotel. The kids had been desperate to try out the free kayaks, so off we went to the hotel beach to take turns. The water was gorgeous, and it was very safe because there were no waves and it was so shallow. Emma loved going on the “boat” with Mom, and kept asking for “more boat please”.
I mentioned above that we got quite a lot of stares at our family on this trip. There were only two or three other families at the resort with kids, and they only had one or two each. We are quite the sight, and although most didn’t say anything, their critical looks said it all.
Mom was on the beach talking to some Brits who she had recommended the turtle swimming with earlier that day, and they were thanking her for the recommendation. At the end of the conversation (all of which had been about Samoa and travelling), the husband couldn’t resist and blurted out…”Six kids…that’s enough now right?” What do you say to that anyway, he pulled it out of nowhere, it was obviously really bothering him. I always think of great answers after the fact, but never in the moment. I said something about how much joy our kids brought to us, and how blessed we are to have each other, but he looked at me like I was crazy. His wife was quick to jump in with how well behaved the children were, and how organised we were. They were in the fale closest to us and they said they had never heard the children. She was very complimentary.
It might have been this that prepped me for the next encounter…I was sitting in the shade watching Emma play in the sand, minding my own business. A French lady walked past me, looked at the kids, gave me a dirty look and said something derogatory to me in French about me having five children.
“Mais non!” I replied to her. “J’ai six enfants”. (But no…I have six children)
She stared at me in fear. Why would she expect someone in Samoa to understand her French, especially when she was being rude?
“C’est incroyable n’est pas?” I asked her. (It’s unbelievable isn’t it?)
She froze. She really didn’t know what to say or do.
“J’adore mes enfants.” I said. “Trois filles et trois garcons.” (I love my children. Three girls and three boys.)
“Bon courage” She mumbled, and walked off. (Good luck)
Ha! That one felt better than the first! And where the heck did I pull all that French from? It’s been 16 years!!!
I felt so victorious that I bullied Michael into letting us all have an ice cream after dinner. If you know Michael well, you know that he is anti mess, so anything to do with finger painting, play dough, black sand beaches, and ice cream for small children, are normally a big no-no.
I was determined, it was tradition after all. Every year when I was a little girl, we would go on holiday with my family and we would always have ice cream. I felt that we had to at least have ice cream at least once on this trip. Check out the photos of the happy kids eating their ice cream cones. Matthew was oblivious to the mess that was running down his arm, and Emma’s face says it all. Yes, I was left alone to clean up those sticky disgusting children, but it was worth it! Happy day.