Fa'a Samoa

Trip Start Sep 27, 2004
Trip End Sep 27, 2005

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Flag of Samoa  ,
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Fa'a Samoa means literally "The Samoan Way," and in Samoa refers to an all-encompassing traditional system of behavior and responsibilities that spell out each person's relationship to one another and to persons holding positions of power.

That was educational wasn't it? Right then, onto the fun stuff..

You wake up at Nadi.
I set my watch one hour earlier and one day later
Lose an hour, gain a day.
You wake up at Apia.

Arrived in Apia around 4.30 in the morning. The airport is tiny and the coconut palms are huge! Took the airport shuttle into town and sat in a taxi rank, had a cup of tea and tried to located my friends whom I had mistakenly told I was arriving on Monday instead of Saturday! Ooops.. Lesson learned. It sucks to rock up to a strange place in the dark and rain with no idea what is going on.

As it got light I decided to explore. How hard can this place be? It's the pacific after all.. So after some wandering around I located a nice western style cafe, ordered a strong coffee and a full English breakfast and waited for my friends to arrive. Sure enough they did and everything worked out fine.. Got to love small towns and Apia is certainly one of those.

From Apia I traveled to the "big island" of Savai'i where it is believed by Samoans that the human race originated. My accommodation at Tanu Beach consisted of a traditional grass hut set on the edge of the beach. It is a great novelty waking up and seeing nothing but ocean, no walls, no doors, no windows just ocean! Very cool.

Explored the island in a rental car shared with fellow tourists, threw coconuts into blow holes (see photos for explanation) nearly fell off waterfalls (don't worry mum, I will be more careful in future) and had a hit of the local brand of cricket, Kirikiti. This is basically a game much like cricket with less running and more whacking of the ball (move to Samoa Stuart). Oh yeah and the bat is HUGE!

Back to Apia for partying with fellow Youth Ambassadors Annabel, Scott and Steve (amongst others) as well as English chum Evan. Much respect and thanks to Annabel and Scott for letting my crash at their joint, you guys rock!

Nightlife in Samoa is much the same as Fiji without as much crazy drinking and agro. Even the roughest club in town "RSA" I had people coming up and shaking my hand asking where I was from and offering to buy my drinks. Also checked out some traditional fire knife dancing (see photos) which was most impressive, both for the skill involved and also that it is still being practiced today and television watching has yet to become the national pastime!

Off to Lalamanu beach on the local bus, 1 tala (50c AUS) for around half the island. The funny think about Samoan busses is that they just keep stacking people into them. Once the seats are full people just sit on the laps of fellow passengers. I had a very courteous girl ask me "May I take a seat on you?" What do you do? Sure! Strange feeling though and you are not quite sure where to put your hands, until you hit the first bump and realize it is pertinent to hug them round the waist to minimize bouncing. Lucky for me she was quite slim (unlike many Samoan women) and I survived the trip with no deep vein thrombosis!

Lalamanu is much the same as Tanu beach but slightly better food and more up market grass huts (actually wooden ones). Had a good time here also, with great snorkeling right off the beach and some top quality travelers out to find somewhere off the beaten track.

In summation Samoa was wicked, and I have not done it justice here, but am keen to get a travelpod out there. If you are planning a trip to the Pacific and don't mind slumming it a bit, Samoa is a great choice for the budget traveler wanting to see somewhere that hasn't had millions of tourists. 5 stars for the friendly people, beautiful countryside and beaches, general cleanliness or towns and villages.

The food however is not that flash even in Apia but it is certainly edible and I didn't get sick. For example one of the nations favorite dishes is "mutton flap" (don't ask), which is banned in most countries because it is not actually meat. Basically just fat and often deep fried in, you guessed it. Fat!

You wake up in Suva
You lose a day, you gain an hour.
This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time
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