Robert Louis Stevenson, Samoan Dancers and Singers, Shipboard Computer Glitches.

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Oceania » Samoa » Tutuila
November 7th 2018
Published: November 9th 2018
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Dateline: November 7th, 2018, Western Samoa, just south of the equator and just west of the international date line.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Samoan Dancers and Singers, Shipboard Computer Glitches.

So… our fabulous time in Apia, Western Samoa is over and we’re back in our stateroom… but before we tell you about our day thought you’d want to know that our captain just came on with an “important announcement that requires your full attention”, and gave a direct order for a full crew muster at 3:15…they need to be counted with their ID in hand and… at 3:45 every passenger is to be in their stateroom with the door propped open. Everyone on the ship must be counted and accounted for. It seems that the ship’s computer accountability technology failed to recognize the dateline change so even though our cruise cards were scanned when we got off and back on the ship… the computers didn’t recognize the day and the captain cannot account for everyone. It has to be a one on one head count of all crew and passengers. This is no small endeavor. There are 4700 of us including crew! The captain concluded with “A full accounting is required by maritime law, before we can depart.”

The good part for us is, we were already in our cabin and now have time to write to you. So, with our cabin door propped open, here’s how our day in the country of Samoa went 😉.

As the ship approached the dock we heard singing and drums so headed outside on Deck 7 to see what was happening. Oh gosh… an amazing group of Samoan dancers, singers and drummers were on the dock performing for us. It was so beautiful that both of us were crying. We weren’t the only ones. Oh, so lovely. If might digress for a moment…when we were leaving Christ Church, New Zealand a number of years ago, there was a lone bagpiper on the dock playing a song about leaving and wishing us safe travels. It was soooo touching that we have never forgotten it. The same will be true for these beautiful Samoan entertainers.

A word about tattoos in this part of the world. Tattoos are very meaningful here. They are by some accounts a “religious” experience. As you can see on one of our Samoan Dancers, there are tattoos all around his waist. Unlike in the states where you might see roses, or writing, here it is designs. Beautiful designs. The women have them too, mainly around their legs. Virtually American and Western Samoa had these beautiful design tattoos.

Today is a little tour around Apia with the highlight being a visit to Robert Lewis Stevenson’s home. Of course, the first stop is the “marketplace” where we pick up a couple of pairs of earrings and another trinket for Jean’s necklace. We love being here. The Samoans are so gentle and kind to everyone. Today was a holiday, the 100th Anniversary of Influenza Epidemic brought to the islands by ships in 1918. Because of this the schools were on recess and students were working in their parent’s booths at the marketplace. Jean bought a necklace from two young men, Keith and Tuo. They practiced their English with her.

Back on the bus with Paradisio, our tour guide we are told that there are now 3 major hotels in Apia and this is new for Samoan’s. They have only had small family run hotels in the past and now more and more big hotels. We pass by a 5 star, Sheraton that looks beautiful and stop at another hotel which is also beautiful, for a rest stop.

We leave the hotel and Paradisio points out their fire department, schools, churches, grocery stores, banks, the hospital… and is very proud of each of these. Our little bus chugs up into the mountains to the small village of Valima. As on American Samoa, there are dogs that belong to everyone and… no one, they are in the middle of the street, sleeping on the side in the grass or just roaming peacefully.

As we approach Valima we can see our ship in the distance down at the docks in town. It is very tropical here and we turn onto R. L. Stevenson Avenue…a long beautiful drive with jungle all around, that leads to his large and beautiful home.

Urgent Interruption to the blog… the captain has come on and it seems we have another little problem…a squall with 45 knot winds is coming down on us. It would be dangerous to sail out of the harbor so we will wait 😉. Oh, good grief… through our propped open door we can see people starting to leave their staterooms and we haven’t been released by the captain…sigh.

Okay, back to the Robert Lewis Stevenson home which is now a museum. Robert was from Scotland and when he was diagnosed with TB, moved to Hawaii. Hearing that the climate was even better in Samoa, he moved his family to Valima in the late 1800’s. His wife was from San Francisco and already had 2 children when they married. Robert, his wife, two step children, his mother and others including native Samoans all lived at Valima. While in Samoa, he wrote 13 books. Robert died at 42, not from TB from an aneurism. A few weeks ago, not knowing we were going to visit Stevenson’s home, Jean read the 1915 version of Treasure Island, so this was especially fun. The home is large, and spacious with many RLS artifacts, including many of his books in different languages. We also got to enjoy another colorful performance by native Samoans of music and dance and enjoyed coconut water straight from the coconut.

So…we will laze around in our cabin until everyone is accounted for and the squall passes.

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