Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Views from up the hill

This afternoon after work I joined a few friends in a walk up Mt Vaea. We didn't take the track normally travelled, rather the one that leads up to the mobile phone and microwave relay station. It's a gravel road all the way up which makes it a little easier to navigate, though one has to be careful about slipping on the gravel on the way back down.

Apart from the health benefits of going for a good walk up a mountain, the reward in the case of Mt Vaea is a fantastic - and different - perspective on Apia. I've been on the roof of the government building a few times, which affords a pretty great view, but the view from the mountain is brilliant.

The first shot is towards the north-west. The point just leftof the middle of the shot is all reclaimed land and is home to a few key buildings and organisations in Samoa. The white domed building is Samoa's parliament house. Across the road from the parliament (but not visible here in this closer view) are the offices of the Land and Titles Court, Samoa Broadcasting Corporation and the Yacht club (which has a great restaurant out the back). A bit further up the road, right at the end of the point, is the Meteorology Division. Notice the extent to which the reef stretches out from the coast and those huge clouds are so common here.

Looking more directly north we had a great view of the eastern part of Apia. It's a great view of Matautu wharf and Aggie Grey's hotel is visible in between the two telegraph wires. The large building to the left is the John Williams building. It houses the head office of the country's electricity company, EPC. It's this side of the harbour where I go paddling each week.

Looking east, we were afforded a great view of the grounds of the national hospital. I knew it was big but never really appreciated the full size of the place until this afternoon (surely that's a good thing right?). Just left of the foot of the mountain in the background is a clear straight strip of grass (I know, it's hard to spot). It's the disused airport at Fagalii-uta. I live about two minutes' walk south from its eastern edge.

Finally, looking towards the south-east, a special treat. There was obviously a bit of rain about as were treated to rather a spectacular rainbow. I captured it peeking through the trees but the thing was enormous. It completed a full arch and its colours were strong and vibrant. Of course, the thing you have to be careful of once you notice the colours of a rainbow getting stronger, is the high chance of impending rain, but we were spared with little more than a very light sprinkle that lasted all of about two minutes.

All up I think we took a bit over an hour to make the walk up and down the mountain. It was a great way to end a day that was mostly spent sitting at a desk staring at a screen. I'll be doing it again I can assure you of that.

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