I love to dance. Specifically at parties, dances and in nightclubs. A long time ago, I would go out dancing a lot. But having lots of children and work and getting older’er and tired’er really cuts down on one’s oportunities (and one’s energy) for dancing. But Samoa is a fantabulous place for going out dancing and any visitor here needs to add that to their list of fun-stuff to do.
Assuming of course, that you like to dance. Or drink lots of Vailima beer which is the OTHER reason lots of people go out. (and if youre the kind of person who does like to drink lots of fiery stuff when you go out on the town, then please try not to spill your drink on the non-drinker-woman dancing next to you on a crowded dancefloor…)
So anyway, my gorgeous and hilarious friend Letti, (otherwise known as Pani of the comedy duo, Pani and Pani) is visiting Samoa for a show shes doing. She messages to #ComeOut!!
I look at the Hot Man who’s very tired from a long day of steel fabrication stuff. Im not hopeful he will be interested in going out for a wild time in wild places. But he surprises me by saying yes. Yaay!
So we smile very nicely at Big Son and ask him to babysit. (see this is why you should have a kid when youre reeeeally young, so that then when theyre eighteen, they can babysit your other kids and you will still be “young” enough to dance in a nightclub.) Big Son hasnt been Unionized or emancipated yet and so he is happy to provide childcare services in exchange for a plate of food from Sunrise Restaurant. #CheersForCheapBabysitting!
And just like that, we are off. We find ourselves on a dusty strip along the waterfront called Beach Road. Its lined with cars and bars and people hopping from one to the other. There’s reggae, rap, hip hop, and techno all blaring in a mish-mash of sound in the hot, wet night. People laughing, people singing, people trying to walk straight from one bar to the next. There’s a man with his back to us, peeing in the hedge while gorgeously attired girls in mini-skirts and stiletto heels glide along the gravelly sidewalk. I marvel at their fortitude and their grace – because all I can handle in this heat, are jandals. There’s a few small children out as well, trying to sell matches and car air freshner to partygoers. Its 10pm and I think about sexual predators and other kinds of dangers in the night. The Hot Man tells a child he should go home and the boy snaps, “Aikae” and keeps going.
The air is sweet with the fragrance of mosooi as young men line the entrance to a bar, trying to sell lei’s of golden flowers. We find a club thats air -conditioned and secure a spot right underneath a vent blasting cold air to the masses. Its a 15 tala cover charge which I think is pricey (but what the heck do I know about the going rate for nightclubs?!)
Lots of dancing commences. The music is PERFECT. All the songs that me and Bella dance to at home when we’re surfing YouTube and need a break from chores. Samoa clubs have wonderful music and here, EVERYBODY dances with hyper-charged enjoyment.
However, theres a slight problem. Maybe its because Im a writer and always on the lookout for stories, or maybe its because Im a hermit who doesnt get out much. Whatever the reason, i cant just follow Eminem’s directive to #LoseYourself in the music. Noooo, i have to look around a lot and avidly study my surroundings. What do I see?
* Lots of beautiful people in beautiful (expensive) clothes, drinking a lot of (expensive) drinks. Samoa has its poor and struggling like any other country. But it also has some very wealthy people as well, just like any other country.
* The women in here outnumber the men by about five to one. And theyre having a wild time all the same, dancing in groups and sipping from sparkly glasses. Great to see bodaciously bold women dancing up a storm as well as the chic skinny ones. No body shaming here!
* A strong security presence. It was always annoying to be in a club that broke out in fights or that had lots of drunken unruly males groping women randomly en masse on the dancefloor. I dont see that here, probably because theres security dudes stationed in strategic places and swiftly shutting down anything vaguely troublesome. Thats a definite plus in my book.
And thats when my nightclub study gets interrupted by a familiar face. A beautiful young woman who used to be a student of mine when I was teaching high school English. She’s also a friend of Big Son. She greets us and wants to know where Big Son is. “Is he out tonight?”
“No, he’s at home babysitting.”
She replies, “Thats so nice of him. Tell him I said Hi! My mum is babysitting my child.”
The group of stunning young women that she’s dancing with also add their salutations for Big Son. Which is when i make another notable observation about this club.
Most of the people in here are Big Son’s age or a little older in their twenties. They are the CHILDREN of the “wealthy people” i was talking about earlier. Me and the Hot Man are the oldest people on the dance floor.
A brief interjection here: What do we learn from this? – We must have an awesome son because he can happily stay home to look after four irritating little people so his (old) parents can go dance till midnight. I was going to say, dance all night – but the clubs in Samoa all close at 12… We could also infer from all this that Big Son has pretty cool Forever Young And Restless parents that are totally capable of dancing half the night and having lots of fun. And i promise, next week it will be HIS turn to go out dancing and we will stay home and look after our children.
So we danced, we laughed, we quickly chatted with Letti then we bought Sunrise Restaurant food for Big Son and went home. I was feeling pretty good about life in Samoa on that drive home. Dancing in an air conditioned and relatively safe nightclub, surrounded by friendly people can do that to a person…
Aaaaaaiiiiiieeeer kill it!! Kill it quick!!
It’s only a small centipede but its enough to remind me that Samoa aint all fun and frolicking, fab food, family and friends.
No, its got a dark, dirty and potentially dangerous side too.