American Samoa: Standing By

Our final day on American Samoa was a bit crazy, we packed our huge bags and hopped on the morning bus to explore Pago Pago for the day. Our first stop was the National Park Visitors Center, where we ran into the Ranger that coordinates the Homestay program. She asked us how it was and we spoke highly of our family and thanked her for coordinating the program. She also let us keep our bags in the Visitors Center so that we could explore Pago Pago without lugging them around.

We stopped by the NOAA Ocean Center, and hit up her recommendation, DDW (Don’t Drink the Water) for lunch. Afterwards everyone snorkeled while I watched the stuff and wrote postcards.

After a quick pit stop at the post office we picked up our bags and headed to the American Embassy, aka McDonalds. They advertised free wi-fi. You had to give your phone to the manager so that they could enter the code. They did so for Cole, Elizabeth and myself and then refused to do it for Trevor. The wi-fi really work and we discovered that there weren’t free refills. After lounging, we decided to head to the airport early, although we did catch a photo of my amazingly disgusting hair.


Flights to American Samoa from Honolulu arrive at 9:30pm on Friday and Monday nights and turn around to depart at 11:30pm on the same night. They are the only flights to/from Hawai’i on a weekly basis.

Our position on the standby list did not look good. We were sixty some odd on the list and it sounded like there were forty some odd available seats. We crossed our fingers and waited. They released seats, we waited. All of the standby tickets had been broken up into sections. They made it to our section, so we hurried to look at the list. Would we make it? We were the bottom of the list for our section, not looking good. We didn’t make it. We sat in the terminal assessing our situation while waiting for our bags to come back. Our options were as follows:

1.     Sleep in the terminal.
2.     Walk a couple of miles down the road, sleep on a local golf course.
3.     Rent a hotel room

We asked about hotels and the cheapest we could find was $90 a night, which was a bit outside of our price range. As we sat in the terminal weighing our option they turned off the lights. The benches began to look more appealing and it seemed that we could at least sleep here for 6-7 hours until the morning when we could track down something. As we sat there a lady got off work and asked us our story. We talked for a little bit until her cab came. She then announced that we were coming home with her, that we could stay in her guest room and come to church with her on Sunday. What? Okay. Let’s do it.

We got back to her house, where she put down her stuff, changed and walked back out the door for bingo night. She told us to ask her daughter if we needed anything. Her daughter was less than excited that her mom had just dropped off two strangers and then left. She was very nice, she was a local middle school teacher and asked us our story and proceeded to let us know that her mom does this all the time! We headed to bed and were thankful for beds and a roof over our head.