Blogs from Upolu, Samoa, Oceania

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Oceania » Samoa » Upolu » Apia April 13th 2019

Hello from Apia, the capitol of Samoa – also known as Western Samoa. We arrived this morning about 9:30. That gave us time to sleep in a little and still have a nice breakfast before the ship arrived. David was able to go out on deck to take a few pictures as we arrived in port. There is a local tradition of having some native dancers on the pier to welcome ships as they arrive, and we had a good view from the Promenade Deck. According to the information channel on the TV, we are at longitude of 171W and latitude of 13S. We will still visit some ports even further south, but all will be back toward the east. This is the farthest west that we will go on our cruise. So in one sense ... read more
Star Princess
Catholic Cathedral in Apia
Some of the Stations of the Cross

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu August 19th 2018

Today is our last full day here so we decide that we will spend it doing very little. It’s just as well that we’ve decided to do very little as it’s Sunday and other than churches everything is closed. Issy wanders down onto the beach where she tells me she listened to a New Zealand couple try to explain snow and skiing to some very confused looking members of the hotel staff. We spend the morning swimming and lying on the beach. It seems that I have somehow been inveigled into another couple’s massage. I think I must have been asleep when I allegedly agreed to this. It only took me a few days to recover from the last session, so maybe it can’t have been all that bad, although I begin to wonder whether this ... read more
Return to Paradise Beach
View towards Savai’i from Return to Paradise

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu August 18th 2018

Issy says she spent half the night awake listening to a pack of marauding dogs trying to chase off a squealing pig outside our room. She’s wanted me to get my hearing tested for a while now, and even more so now that I managed to sleep through the whole show. We spend the morning lazing on the beach and then set off along the coast in search of some lunch. We’d been recommended a small restaurant on the beach sandwiched between two fancy resorts about twenty kilometres from ours. The "restaurant" is a beachside shack with some small fales for rent around it, and it calls itself the Maninoa Beach Club. The food is excellent, as is the beachside setting. It is run by an Australian girl and her Welsh partner. She’s trying to get ... read more
The resort where it always rains
Overwater bungalows at the resort where it always rains
A slightly less attractive version of happy hour

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu August 17th 2018

We set off along the main south coast road for today’s main destination, the To Sua Trench, which is about 50 kilometres east of the resort. The lack of sign posts trips us up as usual and we find ourselves at a dead end in the middle of a village in the pouring rain. Undaunted, we do a quick U-turn, wave vigorously to some bemused villagers whilst we look keenly at their houses in the vain hope that they’ll think that we came here on purpose, and head on our way again. We’ve read that the trench is really two trenches, both of which are large holes in the lava, and they are connected to each other and to the sea by lava tubes. The larger of the two trenches, which is the one directly connected ... read more
To Sua Trench
To Sua Trench gardens
View along the coast from To Sua Trench

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu August 16th 2018

We spend most of morning lazing on the beach, and I use this as an opportunity to read up on the history of Samoa. There seem to a be range of theories on where the Samoans originally came from, but the predominant one is that they travelled here from South East Asia about 3,000 years ago. We’ve noticed the Samoan and Indonesian/Malay words for the number five are both "lima", which is surely more that just a coincidence. The European powers started to take some interest in the islands in the 1800s, mostly due to demand from the chocoholics in their homelands for cocoa, and in 1889 Britain, Germany and the United States all sent warships to Apia and a major conflict seemed likely and imminent. Fortunately a big storm destroyed most of the ships, and ... read more
Glamorous Polynesian Princess, Part 1
Glamorous Polynesian Princess, Part 2
Turtle watching beach

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu August 15th 2018

Today we have signed up for a gentle stroll along the coastal trail that the ancestors of the current villagers built to provide access to and from the next village along from the resort. Along the way our guide, whose name is Fatu, stops regularly to identify some of the vegetation which was once used by the villagers for a diverse range of purposes including making fire and to use as toilet paper. He points out a pandanus plant and tells us that every Samoan house used to have many of these in its garden to use to make mats to sit on and to eat from. He bemoans the loss of the ancient traditions and tells us that these days if we pass a house that doesn’t have any pandanus plants in its garden then ... read more
Fatu
Fatu
Issy and Fatu on the rock arch

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu » Apia August 14th 2018

We head off towards Apia and stop at the Robert Louis Stevenson museum which is in the village of Vailima on a hill overlooking the capital. The museum is a spectacular colonial mansion with wide verandahs, set in huge manicured gardens, and was RLS’s home when he lived here from 1889 until his death at the age of only 44 in 1894. We join a tour of the Museum. Our guide tells us that RLS came here from Scotland with his American wife and family to try to get some better weather for his tuberculosis. He originally went to Hawaii where he was good friends with the King, but the King suggested that perhaps he’d better leave Hawaii and go somewhere else after he discovered that RLS was having an affair with his sister. I suspect ... read more
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
Bedroom, Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
Robert Louis Stevenson portrait (by Everett Scott)

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu August 13th 2018

It seems that the Father’s Day public holiday means that nothing will be open in Samoa again today, so we resign ourselves to yet more time lazing on the beach. We wonder if there will be any activities on at the resort today, but the staff seem to have taken a lead from their colleagues in the rest of the country, and there’s nothing happening here either. Issy says that we should take advantage of the lack of alternatives and have the couple’s massage that she was wanting to book us in for a few days ago. I managed to get out of it then by planning a conflicting activity, but I sense that this is going to be a bit more difficult today as I’ve yet to come up with a conflicting activity that I ... read more

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu August 12th 2018

Issy and I both seem to have caught colds. Issy blames me for hers. I have a slightly different view of events, but she sounds a lot worse than I do so I don’t feel brave enough to argue. It’s both Sunday and Father’s Day here. The Sabbath is strictly observed here in deeply religious Samoa; the whole country is closed for the day, so we plan a day of doing very little. We tried to guilt our offspring into believing that it was Father’s Day the world over and that they should therefore shower me with love and gifts, but it seems that they haven’t fallen for that little ruse. There’s also a public holiday for Father’s Day here tomorrow. I think this is something that should be instituted in Australia as well; only for ... read more
Sunset, Return to Paradise Beach
Return to Paradise Beach
Sunset, Return to Paradise Beach

Oceania » Samoa » Upolu » Apia August 11th 2018

Unlike some other cars here in Samoa our trusty little number hasn’t spontaneously combusted overnight, so we decide to head into the capital, Apia, to have a look around. We’ve been told that the speed limits in Samoa are 40 kilometres per hour in villages and 60 kilometres per hour everywhere else, but there aren’t any signs along the road to confirm this, and there seem to be houses at varying intervals along most of the road so we’re not quite sure how we’re supposed to know when we’re in a village and when we’re not. We wouldn’t want to get deported for speeding, so we play it safe and stick to 40, but now we seem to be in grave danger of infuriating most of the other drivers, and we begin to wonder whether getting ... read more
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Apia
Clock Tower, Apia
Bus stop, Apia




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