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Samoa (Western Samoa) - Elter photo

Samoa -(Western Samoa) - Elter photo

Samoa is undoubtedly not a holiday destination like Fiji is.

The westernized towns of Apia and Pagopago are not authentic Samoa.  If you limit your stay to these cities, your visit will be a waste of time and money.  Discover the villages, immerse in the traditional local milieus. By watching touristy dance shows only, you won't learn much about Samoa." 


Practicals

Transport

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Samoa - Western Samoa - bus - Elter photo

Samoa - Western Samoa - peacemaker bus - Elter photo

Samoa - Apia - local bus - d.l. photo

Samoa - Virgin Samoa airlines

Food

The local food has an unprocessed, natural flavor that can be unexpected for visitors used to the industrially produced meat, fat, sugar, and flour.

Unfortunately, healthy local food is replaced by imported products from New Zealand.  The negative effect is visible on the overweight shape of local people.

Samoa - Western Samoa - Pig's destiny - Elter photo

Samoa - Eel...Squid...Paddle crabs... Banana prawns...Mussels - t.t. photo

Shopping

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Samoa - Western Samoa - Apia - department store - Elter photo

Samoa - Tala, the local currency (WST) - 1USD=2,5 WST (in December 2020)

Fun

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Samoa - Western Samoa - the band - Elter photo

Samoa - musician - l.v. photo

Samoa - Apia - show for tourists - d. l. photo

Public safety

not a bandit, but a performer of a tourist show 

Samoa - Western Samoa - police uniform Pacific style - Elter photo

Others

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Samoa - picture perfect - m.o. photo

Samoa - SIM Card - s.m. photo

Background

Destination in brief

Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) is an independent country in Oceania, in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, northwest of American Samoa.

Size: 2,842 km² (1,097 mi²) - the contry consists of thow large islands: Upolu and Savai'i

Capital city: Apia (on Upolu island)

Population (in 2020): about 198,000

Languages: the native Samoan and English are the two official languages

Religions:55% Protestants, 19% Roman Catholics, 17% Mormons

Form of government: parliamentary democracy

Samoa, as Western Samoa, gained independence from New Zealand in 1962.

Currency: Samoan Tala (WST)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 740 USD (in American Samoa: 1500 USD)

The standard of living in Samoa is lower the in American Samoa. Samoans don't feel so poor as long as they own some piece of land. Many of them do have some size of plantation.

Most common surname: Meredith


Samoa - Western Samoa - Apia - parliament building - Elter photo

Samoa - national flag - m.o. photo

Geography

Samoa's soil is very fertile; papaya, banana, cocoa, and breadfruit trees grow very easily.

Samoa - Western Samoa - rocky coast - Elter photo

Samoa - Western Samoa - blowholes - Elter photo

History

The first Samoans arrived here about 3500 years ago.  Nobody knows from where exactly they left and whether they found these islands incidentally or intentionally.

One thing it may seem sure: they came from the west, from the direction of today's Philippines. In today's Philippines, the so-called Lapita culture of pottery was common, and archeologists have found remnants of precisely such ceramics at the first settlements on Samoa. They must have been brought here because such art of ceramics could not be practiced in Samoa due to a lack of the corresponding raw materials. The totally volcanic islands have no clay to make ceramics.

In recent years, migration research has brought astonishing new findings to light thanks to genetic engineering studies (DNA analyses). All these studies showed that the inhabitants of the entire Pacific region, including the Samoans, descended from the indigenous people of Formosa island (today's Taiwan). Modern linguistical researches support this conclusion.

Western Samoa - Apia - the monument of John Williams, an early missionary who was killed and eaten in 1839 while evangelizing in Vanuatu - Elter photo

Nowadays

The villages are much more impoverished than the cities. Still, the social and family solidarity helps villagers live decently, as long as cyclons and natural disasters are not destroying much of what they have. 

Economy:

Extensive Chinese investments mean enormous economic influence on Samoa.  

The main export is taro, cocoa, and coconut products. Tourism is also vital for the economy.

Oceania - Samoa - Western Samoa - locals - Elter photo

People

All Samoans live in their extended, multigenerational family.  No one is left alone. No one lives alone in a house or a flat.

The strong community ties give stability, a specific identity for each individual. Each person has a well-defined position in the hierarchy of the community. There is little space left for individualism, egoism.      

Western-type consumption has powerfully penetrated, but the Samoans managed to protect their traditional cultural values and civilization. They selectively absorbed foreign influences.

More than three-quarters of the population still live in the countryside, in the villages of both main islands. All villages have electricity, water supply, and at least one small convenience store.

More than half of the population is under 20 years of age. Only 6% are of retirement age, over 65 years old. The population growth is staggering - more than 2.5%/ year. Contraception and birth control are not widely used, despite intensive official propaganda. Five to six children are still the average for a woman, and the infant mortality rate is relatively low.

Kids over 5-6 years of age have to participate in the tasks of the household. Over 14, children get more serious tasks within the division of domestic labor.   

In the village communities, each adult has a rigorously defined position, status.   



Oceania -Samoa - Western Samoa - teen girls - Elter photo

Samoa - Western Samoa - Samoan smile - Elter photo

Samoa - girl - l.v. photo

Samoa - kids - m.o. photo

Samoa - dancers - m.o. photo

Tourist etiquette

1. Slow down, don't rush.  Do as the locals do, that is, walk at a leisurely pace.  Don't be upset about unhurried services.

2. Speak softly, like the Samoa people. A loud voice might be seen as unrespectful. 

3. The people of Samoa like to joke, laugh almost all the time. They have their own peculiar, scathing sense of humor. Enjoy that, and don’t try to compete with them with your home-style humor because they may not appreciate it.

4. Samoans are profoundly religious and strictly expect foreign visitors to respect the quiet during the church services.  Do not make anything noisy because local civil authorities may react aggressively. Do not disturb the prayers; behave in a low key.

5. Do not display an arrogant attitude; do not picture yourself as a superior person to the locals. Don’t expect the locals to be humble to you only because you are a foreign tourist. Samoans are proud people. 

Gastronomy

The traditional range of food in Samoa was always very limited in variety (not in quantity).  Four fruits have clear dominance: breadfruit, plantains, taro, and tamu.
There is no grain or rice in Samoa, but the four fruits mentioned above are highly nutritious, much more than potatoes. So locals feed themselves well; breadfruit is exceptionally high in vitamins and minerals.

So, no potatoes, no grain, no flour, no bread and cakes, no milk, no cheese. Instead, breadfruit, plantains, Tamu, taro, and coconut cream, some are labor-intensive foodstuffs.  Strenuous work is needed; that's why cooking in Samoa was traditionally the men's job.

Samoa - Roasted pig head - r.p. photo

Attractions

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Samoa - Western Samoa - Sopoaga Falls (if i am not not mistaken) - Elter photo

Samoa - Western Samoa - Alofaaga blowholes - Elter photo

Samoa (Western Samoa) - Upolu - Apia Town Clock Tower - K. Elter's photo

Apia

Samoa - Apia - Immaculate Conception Cathedral - Viktor Ohotin's photo

To Sua Ocean Trench

Samoa - Upolu - To Sua Ocean Trench (Giant Swimming Hole), 30 meters deep - turquoise water - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Beaches

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