Buddha, Marx and Me: Thailand to Cuba
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* New Site
* New Blog
* Saved by Samoa
* Polynesian Paralysis
* Speed Racer
* Adventures of a Tourist
* Conservation, preservation and slackerisation Part 2
* Conservation, preservation and slackerisation Part 1
* Alternative Lifestyling
* The Biggest Sandcastle in the World
* Digeridooing it
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* Malaysian Roundup
* Kuala Lumpur vs. Bangkok
December 29, 2004
Saved by Samoa
After leaving Tonga (thank goodness) the complete difference in attitude of Samoa was evident immediately. At the airport there was a full Samoan band playing pretty good music at the baggage claim (good move Samoan Tourism authority). The capital Apia was a complete contrast to Nuku'alofa (and not just because they have McDonalds here). It is a lot cleaner and more modern (they have things such as street lights and pavements here) and definitely friendlier, we had people tooting their horns and waving at us.
Every country in the world
Samoa is comprised of two main islands and pretty shortly we went over to the 'other' island of Savai'i which is has no real town and is generally more traditional. Here the people still live in 'Fales' (pronounced Far-lay) which are thatched rooved open structures. They have no walls so that (what little) breeze there is can blow through. We decided to stay in some fales on the beach. A good idea you might think in somewhere so hot and with such good beaches. Well yes and no. It is great to be able to see the sea as you sit up from bed in the morning. It is less good when the rains that come everyday in the rainy season piss down on you. The fales were clearly not designed for the two months a year that Samoa has it's rainy season. It wasn't that bad though, we had shutters...
The other most interesting thing that happened to us in Savai'i were the people we met. In our little tour bus that we took I asked the other two guys what they did and one was an astrophysicist and the other was a professional gambler. We went out to the bar with these guys at night and Bernie the professional gambler was a very interesting guy indeed. He told us alll about his strategies as a professional gambler; play until you've won (or lost) 500 dollars, keep yourself anonymous and never ever drink while gambling. But even more interesting than all of that was his 'hobby'. He had been to 190 countries and was planning to visit every single UN member. He sounds more like a professional liar right but he was 100% genuine. It was very heartening to learn as well that he could only speak 1 language, English. Meeting some interesting characters that you wouldn't ordinarily have a chance to is certainly one of the biggest benefits of travelling
Return to Upolo
(that's the name of the firstt island by the way). We checked into a much better hotel back in Apia which had it's own decent sized swimming pool. What with the really warm climate and the swimming pool over the next couple of days we slipped into a holiday routine. I accomplished such things as; managing to swim the whole length of the pool holding my breath,eating ice cream twice a day and getting up ater 11am and all those other great holiday things.
Keen for a cultural experience and a chance to save money we took the 2 hour bus to Lalomanu, a place on the east coast. The bus in Samoa is a strange thing. First off; it only starts when it's full to the brim (to the point where strangers sit on each other's laps). Then they circle the town trying to pick up more passengers. After the bus finally sets off it stops at a petrol station and everyone gets off to buy food and coke. When it sets off again the reggae music comes on and it is very loud. The whole of the backseat accommodates a subwoofer. Every driver likes the music way too bass-y. The buses themselves are painted in bright colours and have no windows. They really are a uniqque experience. Lalamano itself had some great snorkelling and perfect aquamarine sea.
Samoa I thought was a fantastic place. There is very little tourism, the country is beautiful, it is without a doubt the greenest place I've ever seen and all the villages communally plant rows of pretty roadside flowers. It is very cheap and the people are so friendly. Even at the airport a guy asked if I liked his country. I said I did and he literally squealed with delight. A nice (but strange) thing. But I thought it was all great.
Richard, 28th December, Los Angeles
Posted by Richard on December 29, 2004 12:05 AM
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