Published: October 17th 2010October 14th 2010
2,200 miles of sea from Hawaii and we made it. American Samoa (as opposed to Western Somoa). We got off the ship in Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango) a town of around 4,000 people. Another Princess ship was in port. Between the two of us, about 5,000 people got off to visit a town of 4,000 all at the same time.
So we waited for our tour bus about 1.5 hours. I don't think the town has ever seen a traffic jamb quite like this. Somoans are some big people. The men at the pier would have made the giants front line proud (some of the women too!).
Somoa did not look real prosperous. The amazing thing was how friendly the people were. Everywhere we went we heard Talofa (hello) and a wave. It was pretty nice. the island did not seem to have much in the way of business other than a Starkist Tuna cannery (another one had closed recently laying off 2,400 people in a country of 65,000), pretty tough times. Add to that the drop in cruise ship traffic and a Tsunami that hit last september. Would of made me pack up and leave, and I
But, the people were some of the friendliest I have ever met. We toured the area around Pago pago and they thought we should see the golf course. Dianne and I took the time to have some local beer, not bad. We then went on to a mock village just for tourists. Pretty comical stuff but we still learned how they make hot chocolate right from cocoa seeds.
Then back to the ship, since town and the beaches were no that great. Would be a place to come back and stay a while. People on the ship who grew up in Hawaii said it reminded them of Hawaii 30 years ago.
We pulled out that night and headed for Suva in Fiji. Another 600 miles or so and we arrived there the next morning. Suva is a fairly large city of around 70,000. They had a coup back in 2000 and the military overthrew the goverment. They have been ruling ever since. It seemed to have to do with the population being split about 50-50 between native Fijians and Indians (Hindus from India). From what I could gather they were generally happy with the current goverment
and expected elections in the near future.
We arrived on a Monday which was there Independence day. They became free from England 40 years ago. The place seemed more prosperous than Samoa. Some newer buildings. A lot of construction being done by the Chinese. The biggest hospital was funded by the Japanese and free for everyone.
We found a local taxi at the pier and after tough negotiations got ripped off for $55 for 2 hours. We went to a local waterfall with a great swimming hole. The fat white guy even tried the rope swing (me). It was pretty nice. We then got dropped off at the local museum where he ripped me off again on some local money so we could pay the entrance fee. Oh well. It so tough to figure all this out when you are only in town for 7 hours and have no local information. At least it was cheaper than the same thing through the ship, which was double.
If you could spend more time preparing it would really help. We were supposed to meet a friend of our Daughters, Yoni, who is a peace corps volunteer in Fiji. We
Julie our tour guide
It was her first time and she was nervous
did not realize Fiji was made up of 322 islands and he was 2 hours away. So it did not work out. A local guide would of been awsome. If your out there Yoni, sorry we even had Oreos for you.
We got back on the ship to the blasting of the Suva Police band playing top 40. They were loud. We passed by a Chinese satelite tracking ship that was probably used for spying. Didn't seem so bad, they all waved to us as we left.
We left heading for a Fijian island called Dravuni. The island was about 2 miles x .5 miles and had about 120 people living on it. Pretty primitive, but talk about Paradise. This was the best day yet. The weather was awesome! The beach was even more awesome! I could learn to like it here, except from the looks of it, food would be mostly, Pig, Bannanas and Breadfruit (its a fruit with no taste that they fry or boil, pretty bland stuff).
We really enjoyed ourselves snorkling and laying on the beach. Now if I could just get my damn PinaColada. So we have 700 miles of ocean ahead
of us again to Vanautu. I am sorry to leave Dravuni. It was the type of place Dianne were really looking forward to. This is a place to come back to. Plus, we still have 320 Islands to see just to say we have seen all of Fiji.
We hope everyone is doing as well as we are. We miss all of you and think about everyone. Drop us a line and let us know how things are.
Bula (hello in Fijian)
Bruce and Dianne
There are more photos below