Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pago Pago

We have been in Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango) for 3 days now and have started to get the lay of the land. It has been raining here for 3 weeks straight so things are mighty drenched and the semi-paved roads are riddled with potholes to say the least.

Pago Pago is the main port in American Samoa, is home to the Star Kist tuna cannery, and is the main village on the island of Tutuila. Tutuila is home to approximately 60,000 people most of whom live in or around Pago Pago. The town itself is a myriad of tin-roofed two story buildings filling the narrow strip of land between the sea and the mountains which rise jungle covered and steeply not several hundred yards from the beach. Many of these structures are white or any one of a number of vibrant Caribbean-style colors and serve as home and shop for their residents.

The rain has made exploring a bit of a chore, but we have found a few of the local hangouts and were actually able to catch the Super Bowl at a small bar/hotel in the center of town. Not that I am much of the football fan, but it was fun to hit the dock and head into town for some much needed revelry. Shortly after the game we headed out and along the coast to Tisa's, a quintessential open air Pacific island Tiki Bar sitting on the beach overlooking a small bay. Discovered by some of our scientists and crew during expeditions past, Tisa's has become a mandatory point of call for all future arrivals. Generally we are the only ones there, spending the afternoons snorkeling in the bay and the evenings relaxing with homemade Pina Coladas or Vilemas, the local lager. We are excited for tomorrow, for each Wednesday they put on an all you can eat feast on the beach with pig, lamb, fish, breadfruit, coconut, papaya, and many more delicacies all roasted in traditional fire pits on the beach.