We call it home, you call it paradise
Update from Samoa:
July 5 - 11, 2002.
We had a wonderful stay in Samoa from July 5 - July 11, 2002. The Samoan people were some of the friendliest and most polite we've encountered throughout the world. We anchored in the main town of Apia and enjoyed seeing the daily marching band and procession that welcomes in each new day for the Samoan government. We bought some nice LavaLavas (Samoan wraps) and we both like the idea of men wearing these skirts, or wraps, which are seen on the vast majority of people. We rented a car to tour the island and were amazed to witness such a wonderful culture, still flourishing, and everyone with an incredible smile to great us.
The typical architecture is an open house with a second 'social' building for gatherings and drinking kava. The community and family aspect here in Samoa is unlike anything we have seen before. No one was watching TV, rather the kids were out playing in the yards and the adults were all sitting in the social buildings, which are completely open and elevated about 1 m off the ground. Another interesting note is that the Samoans typically live in small villages that completely surround the island. There are more churches in each village, typically 3-4 for only about a dozen houses, than we have ever seen (Protestant, Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, Bahai).
For an adventure we drove our little Sidekick 4 WD to the last village on the road (that's an overstatement), Uafato. This village is 10 km off the paved road and up and down numerous steep hills, across many rivers, past three beaches, and finally up an incredibly steep mountain and down the other side on a boulder type of trail during a downpour where the road was eroding in front of our eyes and more like a river than a road. We finally had to stop driving and walk across the final two rivers to reach Uafato. There we met locals and went to the traditional house of Telu where we saw his wood carvings and bought 2 traditional Samoan wood carving weapons from him. Thanks to Zita along the road for giving us directions.
We then gave a ride to the chief of Uafato, Chief Fot, about 5 villages away. He taught us some Samoan and perhaps we taught him a little English.
Our photos show: Gui caught a magnificent Mahi Mahi (Masi Masi in Samoan) enroute to Samoa; Typical Samoan architecture and cooking outside; Glorious waterfalls and mountains on the island of Upolu, Samoa; Dava running on Return to Paradise Beach; our wonderful encounter in Uafato with Telu the artist and his brother; the children of Uafato; and our new friend, Maita (chief) Fot.