One week in Samoa 2nd – 9th May ‘12
Well I will try and sum up our week and my thoughts on Samoa – I’ve saved all the nitty gritty for my notes.
We landed at Faleofo airport on Upolu island, the Samoan island that we were staying on for our week here. We were greeted by a small band playing ukuleles and guitars and singing and I just thought WOW this is going to be fab!
The Samoan people make the Samoan experience – they are so friendly, people just stop and say hello, ask you where you are from, what you think of Samoa and then start talking about rugby! They really are an open, warm lovely people and people really do wear flowers behind their ears!!
The countryside and coast outside of Apai (the main town) and in the south in particular is very lush, green, dramatic and beautiful. The coast road which runs round the island is a series of small villages which merge into each other and are dominated by churches in every shape, size and Christian denomination. There are beautiful borders of flowers and shrubs along the roadsides and round the
gardens and pigs, chickens and the odd dogs run around. The houses vary from very smart pads to tiny wooden shacks and all have fales in front – a kind of opensided building with timber poles supporting a usually thatched roof, each village also has a large fale in the centre and the anscetors are buried in peoples’ front gardens.
Everything except Mc Donald’s and foreign owned supermarkets shuts on Sundays and the day of rest is strictly observed. Everyone wears their Sunday best and the ladies dress in long white dresses or two piece outfits with elaborate white hats, the men wear black lava lava (sarong) and white shirt and tie.
Samoa doesn’t seem overly geared up for tourists, the trips offered are few and far between and very expensive. We were advised not to use the local buses to try and visit the other side of the island as it would take half a day to get there, as they stop at every little village and that they are packed and people would definitely sit on us! – if there are no seats left on the bus in Samoa you just sit on someone’s lap and
you can get up to 4 people on one seat!
We have seen very few other tourists, most westerners are either ex pats living here or medical staff. Our first guesthouse was really a boarding house for staff working at the local hospital. Our second place – the Pasifika Inn in the town was a much better location and also housed the UN Peace Corps, again we were the only tourists.
There are several eating places dotted around ranging from posh and pricey to takeaway burgers but they are not easy to find and it seems that eating out is not part of the local culture generally. Everyone either drives or uses taxis in the town.
A week has been a bit too long here, we hired a car and saw all the sights in one day and on another hiked up the hill in the baking heat to Robert Louis Stevenson’s house and museum.
The accommodation available here is also either posh, very expensive self contained resorts in isolated positions, beach fales which are very cheap and are basically a wooden shelter with rattan or plastic sides that can be pulled down and are right
on the beach and again isolated, or expensive hotels in town or the more reasonably priced but pretty basic ones.
The weather hasn’t been the best, it has rained at some point every day and one day tanked down for the entire time, an ATM ate our debit card on Sunday but on Monday we went to the bank and they just handed it back to us!!
Our last day we moved up to the top of the island, closer to the airport and the ferry to Savaii, the ferry took 1 /12 hours and the sea was very rough but once there we hired a taxi for 3 hours and got out to see some sights. The Taga blowholes we visited on the really rough, jagged coast was one of the highlights of my entire trip. It was totally AWESOME to see this incredible display of nature’s power, the waves crashing down on the rocks and surging up so high, the water shooting up into the air through the blow holes, it was MAGNIFICENT and I could have stayed there for hours!
The first guesthouse was a bad location – 2 miles out of town and
the room was awful, the second one was much better but we were plagued with small anty flea things and there isn’t a lot to see or do but despite this I can’t say it was a mistake to come here as the people are just so great and clearly love their country and want you to have the best experience and love it too.
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