I had bought the jeggings quite by accident. This is what happens when you shop online: you think you’re buying jeans, and then when they arrive, they’re clearly marked as jeggings on the tag. Oh, how embarrassing, I thought, I can’t wear jeggings! But then I tried them on and they made my arse look incredible, and with a belt to disguise the elasticated waistband, no one knew my secret. They looked just like jeans.
But, karma will find you. Wear jeggings on the plane ride to your holiday in tropical paradise and the airline will lose your luggage. On a Sunday in Samoa everything is shut and you’ll count yourself lucky when you finally track down a sarong and a t-shirt at a convenience store, sweating in the humid heat.
All our plans had revolved around water, but with our bikinis in our luggage, lost between Auckland and Apia, my sister and I had to settle for less. Let’s get a massage, she suggested. As is customary they played new age relaxation music over the speakers, but my masseuse was wearing headphones and listening to his own music. Every time he leant in close I could hear it: Pony by Ginuine, ON REPEAT, for the whole hour. This is was as unsettling as you can imagine.
We walked around directionless, passing churches that tempted us with their choirs but not going in on account of our scrappy travel clothes. Taxi drivers slowed to offer us rides, and when we said “No thanks” they’d yell out “I love you” or, on one occasion, “blonde hair blue eyes”.
Our luggage arrived at midnight that second night, and I unpacked like a child unwrapping her birthday presents.
The To Sua Ocean Trench was my motivation for visiting Samoa, and there it was in front of me, deep and glorious and quite unbelievable. You can lie on your back in the water there and the rim of the earth sits where you expect the sky would be; the sky is far higher now than you ever realised.
On our way home we went and disobeyed TLC.
The speed limit across much of Samoa is 40 km/hr (25mph) and the driving culture so courteous, so lacking in the competitiveness that we’re used to in Sydney. The cars slow to let you in, beep to let you know they’re passing. Driving is a great guilty pleasure of mine - my favourite type of drive is a long and directionless one, polluting all the way. As you pass people on foot, they all wave, and smile an honest smile - if I drove around Upolu enough times, I might have waved at everyone on the island.
My hair was also on holiday, the humidity bringing it to new heights.
Jump off enough waterfalls and eventually your older sister will proclaim that you are braver than her. I stored this compliment away with the other ones that mean more to me than I care to admit.
We caught a ferry across to the other main island, Savaii. My sister napped on my shoulder. We took a taxi out to the lava fields, where a village and a church had been trapped in a lava flow early last century, the hot liquid earth only stopping when it reached the sea.
We rose early on our last day - 3am - to go to the airport for our plane home; at the airport, 4am, we learned our flight had been cancelled, we weren’t going anywhere until the next day. We were ropable. But the airline put us up in a hotel where we went back to bed and under the air-conditioning we slept the best sleep we’d had the whole time we were there. We went to a resort for lunch and snuck into their pool, sat in their deck chairs and drank cocktails in the shade, reading books, soon giggling and confessing to one another that this had somehow become our favourite day of the whole trip.