September 3

We have been working hard although in the tropics that means accomplishing two things before collapsing in a sweaty heap. On Sunday, we were invited to a cruisers BBQ at the Marine Seafarers Hall. It was lovely and everyone loved Jordan’s Fish Satay with peanut sauce. The Hall is air-conditioned and has great internet links. Jonah loved it as they have pool tables, ping pong, games and a big TV.  

Today we were going to go to the beach but our mainsail needed some repairs and Jordan met someone who agreed to help him put in some new grommets (metal pieces that go around holes that secure the sail to sail cars). I did about 100 pounds of laundry at the Laundromat. Thankfully it is right near the dingy dock but it took forever as Labor Day in Pago Pago seems to be a great time for everyone to do their laundry. We are on water rationing as we can’t use our water maker in this polluted harbor and so I couldn’t use our machine.  

The best part of the Laundromat was chatting with US gov’t employees about Samoa. It certainly has a lot of problems. In retrospect, French Polynesia seems much better run and wealthier. Certainly the imported French culture and administration brings all sorts of good benefits such as a general cleanliness of the islands, good bread, good food habits, lots of vegetables and a criminal justice system which is still strongly in the French control. Now there were lots of social problems in French Polynesia – lots of child abuse (sexual) in the Marquesas, great dislike of French authority by the locals and tension between the native authorities (family elders/chiefs) and the French authorities. In American Samoa, there is misuse of funds from the US, garbage and trash everywhere, obesity, corruption and a general sense of no motivation of the locals to do anything. It seems like 90% of the business are owned and operated by Chinese. Western Samoans or Tongans do all the labor. The American Samoans seem to live off no-show jobs, corrupt positions and welfare. Of course – it all depends on who you talk to and people always exaggerate to make a good story.  I think the key difference in the two cultures is that the French maintain a great deal of control on how the money is spent and the US just gives it and walks away. The whole un-incorporated territory status allows them to do many things that are illegal in the US and that just doesn’t seem fair when the US taxpayer is supporting the entire place!  

After the laundry,  Jonah and I went to the video store to return videos and rent some more. It is a rare treat to be able to rent US flicks so we are taking advantage of the opportunity. In addition we hooked up an antennae to the TV and we receive perfectly the two broadcast channels in Samoa. They are channels intended for the military and have a mix of network stuff from the US. They even have a bunch of PBS kids shows that Jonah adores.

Jordan went to a lovely supermarket near the anchorage that we found and got some more provisions. We are almost set. We have defrosted our freezer – a multi day affair and we will go stock it with meat on Thursday. Tomorrow we are going to a beach on the East coast that is supposed to be lovely for a bit of relaxation time.