It is so easy to give up sometimes…depending on what you give up on. When we ascend the seventh hill after two hours of solid uphill cycling, I pull over and put the bike on the ground and lie flat on the grass next to the road. I have had enough. We don’t even know how far the waterfall is and every local we ask give different distances. Most say it’s about twenty minutes by car, but one lady tells us its four hundred kilometres away and sounds very serious about it. The island of Upolu is barely fifty kilometres across. We think about turning back, at least it will be downhill all the way. It was the Serbian guys’ determination to see the waterfall that got me amped again.


Lets catch a taxi there and leave the bikes behind.

jungle living

Jungle living

The owner at the small petrol station halfway up the hill only tried to help. I don’t understand Samoan, but I could read from his hand gestures and tone in voice that he was angry with the taxi drivers for over charging foreigners. He involuntary acts as our mediator and negotiator. We lock the bicycles to a pole at the station and get into the cabby. The driver is smiling and the reggae compilation playing reminds me of the CD’s I have lying around in my own car. We cruise up the steep windy road not knowing what to expect while the Bulgarian guy riding shotgun grooves to the tunes.


The mist was covering the waterfall at first, but when it cleared up it was one of the most amazing waterfalls I’ve ever seen. The Papapapaitai Waterfall is in the centre of the Island between Mt Fiamoe and Mt Le Pue.


Tam cycling into the light


Papapapaitai falls


The taxi driver spontaneously becomes our tour guide and takes us to the secluded beach of Safata. We drink from the coconut he hacks open after sliding up and down a palm. We drink some cold Vailimas and start driving back toward where our bikes are locked up. We make a quick stop and buy more coconuts from a young boy on the side of the road. When a tiny little baba girl with one shoe came running out of the house and waved at us I am reminded of scenes in the Transkei back home. The mellow cabby drops us off and the Canadian girl insists on buying his scratched and used reggae CD from him.

safata beach

Safata beach

The wind on my face while freewheeling down the hill feels like a cool reward for not giving up on the mission earlier in the day. Taxi fares in the pacific are ridiculously expensive (four of us paid US $30 each for a 20km trip = $120 !!!) , so I am glad I could share the cost with a cool group of travellers.

 either way

Either way, you are in for a treat


Soaked, but made it

picking coconuts

Cabby/tour guide/coconut picker


Selling pupu (coconuts)

one shoe

One shoe no worries



Palms everywhere


tam palms_tonemapped


Palolo reserve

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