Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. The slow internet here really tries my patience. I should pretend it’s 1997 and my 28k dialup is blazing fast.
What have we been up to? We got really sick. There was so much “fluid” coming out of us that we were getting lightheaded from dehydration. The four-mile drive to the hospital at 4 in the morning felt like the longest trip I’ve ever taken. Lyndon Baines Johnson Tropical Medical Center looks a little run-down from the outside (and the chickens in the parking lot didn’t inspire a lot of confidence) but inside the facilities were clean and modern and the staff were as competent as any on the mainland. They gave us some IV fluids and antibiotics, and told us that we had a bacterial infection due to contaminated water. We had been boiling our tap water and then running it through a Brita filter, but it’s strictly bottled water from now on. Most of the little corner stores here have vending machines where you can fill up jugs with what is supposed to be clean, safe water, but I can’t help but wonder if some of them are just hooked up to a garden hose. Anyway, after 24 hours of Mary and I taking turns waiting impatiently outside the bathroom door, we’re feeling fine.
Last week we welcomed Mary’s co-clerk Genoveva, her husband Alexander, and their 9-year-old daughter Genrietta. They’re very nice and we’ve enjoyed getting to know them and sharing the experience of being new here. Like me, Alexander doesn’t know what he’s going to do on the island other than explore and get to know the culture. He’s from Russia and has a bit of a hard time with English, but he seems very adventurous.
Alexander and I hiked on the north side of the island on Tuesday and I got some nice pictures.
Pola Island seen from the east across Vatia Bay, on the Sauma Ridge hiking trail:
From the same trail, facing east towards Craggy Point and Vainu’u Point:
We later hiked along the rocky beach of Vatia Bay to get up close and personal with Pola Island. There are some very cool sea arches, but at high tide I couldn’t go out far enough to get a good picture of them.
Looking east from Pola across Vatia Bay towards Sauma Ridge:
Pola Island seen from the road above Vatia:
Last weekend we went to Tisa’s Barefoot Bar near Alega. It’s next to one of the nicer beaches on the island. The “building” itself is sort of a pile of driftwood arranged in a vague restaurant shape, but it’s really cool. We swam and lounged on the beach for a few hours and then had dinner. It was one of those moments when we could hardly believe that we live here now; bare feet, sitting on a deck with the waves crashing directly below us, eating extremely fresh swordfish ($12 a plate, would have been at least $30 and not nearly as fresh back home), watching sharks swimming in the reef with a pristine white sand beach on our left and a rocky, rainforest-covered point on our right. I was having such a good time that I only got this one picture:
Later that dog sat under our table and gnawed on a coconut shell while we ate. I’ll get some more pictures next time- it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
Since my internet connection is surprisingly fast today, I’ll throw in a few of pictures of our house.
The outside looks a little rough, but other than the mice, cockroaches, poisonous centipedes, dengue fever-carrying mosquitoes, lizards, termites, mildew, spiders, peeling paint, broken windows, frayed wires, and occasional power outages, the inside is really nice. At least the lizards and spiders eat some of the mosquitoes.