01 March, 2024

Quick Visit to Samoa...

Arriving in Samoa's capital, Apia, the cityscape is dominated by a government building and the cathedral. [4586]

Traditional welcome to 'Beautiful Samoa' at the port. [4590]

The NatGeo Orion docked at Apia port beside a large pile of shipping containers. [4695]

Samoa is an independent nation in the South Pacific Ocean, 900km northeast of Tonga, barely on the western side of the International Dateline. (American Samoa is on the eastern side, so is always a day behind!) It was first settled by Lapita people around 1000BC who got there as part of their eastward migration from Taiwan via Melanesia. European and American whaling and missionary activities started in the early 1800's. From his home in the capital Apia, the author Robert Louis Stevenson ("Treasure Island" et al) warned the Polynesian populations about foreign interests in 1894 and advised on how to protect its monarchy. In 1962, Samoa gained independence from New Zealand which had controlled the western (non-American) islands under a League of Nations mandate after WW1.

Cathedral in Apia being passed by a local bus. [4693]

We were transported around Apia in these four minibuses. [4608]

After a rousing cultural display at the dock in Apia, all we did in Samoa was a city tour and most notably a visit to Robert Louis Stevenson's house in the nearby hills. We had a Samoan lunch in the front garden of a private homestay whose owner is the daughter-in-law of one Aggie Gray who was, according to the story, maybe the inspiration for the character Bloody Mary in James Michener's "South Pacific" epic. How's that for a brush with fame? In the harbour we saw parked a reconstructed traditional ocean-going "voyaging canoe" one of now several operational in the Polynesian world as the people attempt to revive their past. The guide did not seem to think this was worth pointing out as we hurried to a stop at a market where local whisky was available, desperately wanted by one of our colleagues.

Entrance to the Robert Louis Stevenson museum, his old house, in Apia. [4624]

One of the rooms in the RLS Museum, featuring his portrait in the centre. [462]

Guide holding a ginger plant flower, the national flower of Samoa. [4649]

A foursome featuring a blind guitarist (right) entertained us at lunch. [4660]

Fresh produce at the Apia downtown market. [4663]

Colorful display of clothing and craft at the Apia downtown market. [4669]

In a flying visit to Samoa, all we did was visit the capital Apia and the nearby hinterland.

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