Election Day Holiday-Manono Tai
If you ever want the traditional Samoan experience, you need to visit Manono Tai! It is an amazingly beautiful island. All of the people we encountered were so friendly, and the resort we stayed at was really nice.
Manono Tai is about a fifteen to twenty minute boat ride from Upolu. The boat ride is really nice and relaxing because the water taxi stand is full of only little boats, that we were somehow able to cram 25 people on board. There were five of us up front having a nice wet ride as the boat went through the shallow water.
After we arrived we decided to go snorkeling. We were taken back out on the boat to the coral reef. The snorkeling wasn’t the best, but it is always fun to be on a boat with your friends. We had our own little diving competition off the boat.
Later in the day we decided to walk around the island. It was exciting for me because completing the loop around the island meant that it was my 3rd island to go around the circumference. I was hoping to ride my bike around the island, but I found out it was sa (against the village rules). The reason why it is sa is because they don’t want it to be a distraction to village life. I was going to run around the island, but I thought a run around the island would just be as distracting as bike riding, so I did not want to get others upset.
On the walk around we saw the few sites there. First we passed the Ancient Star Mount. It is up the mountain, and I really wanted to hike up there, however I could not find the path there on my own. The Star Mount is said to have been used in the ancient sort of pigeon-snaring. I am not sure exactly what that is, but sounds interesting. Also up there, a man was buried standing up, so he would be able to look over the entire island and keep it safe.
Also on the walk, we saw a monument for a missionary and the grave of 99 stones. The story goes with the 99 stone grave, that a high chief who had 99 wives was killed by villages when he was trying to escape to Upolu with his 100th wife.
Besides seeing the sites, it was nice to see the calmness of Manono. The road is a small path that is very rocky at times, while other times sandy. It is a path that can sometimes only fit people walking single file, and other times has room for more. What makes the island so beautiful is the fact that there are some laws that are perfect in Samoa (but might seem strange elsewhere). The first one is dogs are not allowed. It is amazing to be on an island and not be scared to be bitten by a dog, making you carry rocks everywhere you go. Also, pigs have to be in a sty. If they are found outside, they are cooked and eaten by the village. This makes the villages a lot cleaner. For some reason, chickens also aren’t running lose everywhere as well. All of these makes it easy for you to walk freely without having to worry about stepping on anything gross.
The whole island took less than an hour and a half to walk around, and was well worth it.
For each meal, we were informed by the normal way of gathering people, through the conch shell. Our meals were a fabulous mix of traditional Samoan foods, which we all enjoyed.
I was only in Manono Tai for less than 24 hours, but had a great time there. It is a small, but beautiful island.
(Pictures are of the Missionary Monument, Grave of 99 stones, boys selling chips on their wheelbarrow, and other sites around Manono)