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Travel - Samoa (The Western One)

At the market.
Courtesy of Galen R Frysinger
Most fales are open.
Courtesy of Galen R Frysinger
Most people sleep in a fale.
Courtesy of Galen R Frysinger

Famous Samoans

Robert Louis Stevenson: You might know him as the author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped. This famous Scottish writer spent the last five years of his life in Apia. Known as 'Tusitala', the storyteller, his home and tomb can be seen on the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Reserve.
Rocky Maivia: Nicknamed The Rock, he is the grandson of wrestling legend High Chief Peter Maivia. He can be seen wresting on the popular Monday Night Smack Down program. The Rock is highly regarded as the most popular Samoan wrestler in current professional wrestling.
Greg Louganis: Considered the world's best diver, during his career he won four Olympic gold medals, six world championships and 47 United States titles. Although he was born in San Diego, his father is Samoan.

Brief History of Samoa

There are two Samoas - Western and American - located in the middle of the Southern Pacific, halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Western Samoa is made up of two main islands. These islands were first inhabited about 3,000 years ago and are considered the heart of the Polynesian culture. In 1768, French navigator Louis de Bougainville saw Samoa and named the islands The Navigator Islands because of all the Samoans sailing small canoes far from the sight of land. During the 18th century large plantations produced copra and cotton to export. The capital, Apia, became a major commercial center in the South Pacific. It was part of Germany from 1899 to 1914 and then part of New Zealand from 1914 before it became independent in 1962 and gained self-government. The country dropped the 'Western' from its name in 1997, but people still call it that cuz that way they won't confuse it with the other Samoa.

Samoa - Did U Know?

  • As expected in a tropical climate, it is usually warm to hot all year round (86 degree F - 30 degree C). The rainy season is from December to March.
  • Sea is a Samoan delicacy that is made from the innards of a sea slug. It is normally sold in Coke bottles at the food market. This is only for the bold.
  • Lu'au is probably the dish that Samoa is most famous for and once eaten will never be forgotten. It is made from the leaves of the taro plant, coconut cream, and occasionally onions. The coconut cream, onions and some taro are wrapped up in whole taro leaves. After being cooked, the leaves are opened so the stuff inside can be eaten.
  • Water is more expensive than almost everything else, including beer, so take a water purifier if visiting. Drinking the tap water isn't a good idea - Trust me, you'd rather eat a Sea, it'll do less damage to your tummy.

Samoan Critters

Flying Fox: Not really a fox, but a bat with an impressive wing span of five feet or more. Some have white fur on the back of the neck. If you're fortunate enough to see one, it might be soaring high above the forest.

Tooth-billed Pigeon: These are almost mythical and nearly extinct forest pigeons with a bill similar to a parrot.

Marine Life: It is not uncommon to see bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales near the shore.

Pe'a: Commonly called bats, they are considered a delicacy in Guam and are sold for a very high price.

Cool Things To See and Do in Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum: Take a guided tour through this mansion, which features many of Robert's original belongings, including part of his library, mementos from his travels in the Pacific, and pieces of his family's furniture.
Piula Cave Pool: An oval shaped natural pool filled with cool spring water flowing from the church on the grounds of the Methodist Theological College.
Bargain Shopping: One place definitely worth checking out is the Apia flea market. It's a hive of activity and a great place to get some traditional food. You can also buy everything from cheap clothing, dyed bark sheets to coconut shell jewelry.

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