Here we are in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean docking at the island of Samoa – not American Samoa which is another island located to the west – this is just Samoa, an independent country (once controlled by the Dutch, then the Germans and finally the British). The Capitol is Apia with over 100,000 people living on this island one of an archipelago of many islands that make up the Samoas.
After four days at sea, touching land is always welcome, even if the temperature is 90. These islands were settled by the Polynesian people and the culture developed from these roots. Many traditions survive to this day. We are greeted by a Youth Choir singing traditional Samoan songs and Hymns praising God.
The farmers raise taro, however the plant developed a disease (sounds like our oranges in Florida) which has reduced the production. So like many places, tourism is feeding their economy. Of course, these islands were almost completely wiped away by hurricanes in the past and a tsunami in early 2000’s also devastated portions of the islands.
Our tour takes us to visit the burial grounds of the prior island Chiefs, the fairly new Justice Department building, battle site markers, the largest Catholic Church in the South Pacific and to Robert Louis Stevenson’s home. The famous author lived his final four years of his life in Samoa and is buried on the top of the mountain just above his home – Mt. Vaea. The home and land was acquired by a U.S. citizen who in 1992, renovated and reopened as a Museum in 1994.
There is a huge fish market (closed on Sundays) and an open-air market (minimally open on Sundays) where we make a stop, too.
There are also beaches and hikes into the mountains to explore if you have time. New ‘luxury’ hotels have opened in the downtown area to accommodate the tourism business.
We saw the sculpture below and then read the sign. Interesting part of their history!
That is probably more than you wanted to know about Apia, Samoa. Our friend in Honolulu said he had been here years ago and there wasn’t much to see. We agree. It would have been nice to meet more of the native Samoa people but with it being a Sunday, everyone is at church or at home. Some cruise folks told us there was a McDonald’s that was open and air conditioned with some people eating their egg McMuffins.
A nice place for a one day stop.