Bryan mentioned that he was going to Falevao on Saturday morning and returning
that evening. I wanted to visit my family there one more time before school
starts the following Monday, so I planned to accompany him. I also wanted to
bring something for my family there so that I didn't feel like I just show up
there to eat --- not that they would mind if that were the case. I thought it
would be nice to bring some fish, and I've been wanting to goto the fish
market in the morning. We were told by many people that it's quite a site to
behold at dawn. We had been told that we should get there early, around dawn.
So, I got a couple other people (Andrew and Skye) to join me at five to goto
the fish market. We took a taxi (five tala split 3 ways) and got there a
little after five. We were the only people there...
To me, getting up at six is normal, and five is early. In my approximation,
dawn is when you can see sunlight. So when there is enough light in the sky to
see without the aid of artificial light, it's past dawn. My dawn happens here
around 5.15am fairly consistently. However the general concepts of "early"
and "dawn" are different here --- I'm also told that we should go on Sundays
to get the full effect. Early and dawn are around 6.30 or seven here. So we
waited at the fishmarket until a boat arrived and people began unloading ice
chests full of fish. We waited until around 7.30 for enough people to get
there to have a good idea of what was available.
I'm a big fan of tuna, and I will probably become mad as a hatter living here.
While I understand tuna can get up to three hundred pounds, the fish they were
pulling out were quite large when considering my landlocked sensabilities.
The large ones were sliced up in to pieces which were about 2-3 inches thick
and the smaller ones were sold whole. I had seen my family bring the smaller
ones back from the market, and that was what I was looking to get. I started
poking around and I noticed a bright red fish. Skye asked and the woman said
it was red snapper and it cost 70 tala --- I would say this fish was pretty
small, about thirteen inches long.
I was there to get fish for both my family and Bryans as well for us. If the
price of the red snapper was any indication, then I wasn't going to be able to
satisfy much in terms of a family gifts. After waiting around for a while, a
woman showed up on a bus with some ice chests filled with smaller tuna. I was
pretty happy when she started placing price tags on them. I was able to get
two of the largest smaller tuna for 30 tala each. I assumed that I was still
paying the palagi tax but not enough to make me feel like I was being
We next went to the place where the slices were being sold. In the picture,
the little girl is supposed to be dissuading the flies with the leafy branch.
Though it seemed more like she was providing shade for the fish. I piked up
one the slabs for 20 tala. Again I assumed I was paying the palagi tax, but
$7.50 for several pounds of tuna steak was still a really good deal.
I returned home around 7.45 and woke Bryan up. I had spent 40 tala for each of
us and we had gifts for our families and enough tuna for three meals. I
wrapped the fish up well so our bags wouldn't reek of rotten fish after the
bike ride to the village. We left our place around 8.30 and showed up in
Falevao around 10.30. My family wasn't expecting me, but were happy to see me
none the less. They looked surprised when I whipped the fish out of my bag.
Bryan said his family just laughed at him. The general though by Samoans is
that 14 miles is way to far to ride a bike and it's just plane silly to carry
a fish... Bryan's family told him that the fish we got should have only been
20 tala, so the tax was 10 tala. They sad that the 70 tala red snapper was
wrong and the lady should have gone to jail. While we were in the village, it
started raining. My family said I should stay the night and wait until for a
time when it wasn't raining. They essentially live in a rainforrest, so that
translates into: you should never leave. When I got to Bryans house, it was a
little over cast, but the rain looked to be over for a while. He told me that
his familiy was worried we would get sick if we rode in the rain, so they
called someone with a truck to take us and our bikes back. It didn't rain
again until much later that night.
When we arrived at home, brian worked on dinner. I've never bought fish large
portions of fish because they've always been too expensive. Bryan had bough
precut fillets, but wasn't really sure how to approach this:
He basically cut around the boney parts until all that was left was the meat:
Then he seared each side for a minute or so. Dinner was damn good: