Roxie writes: April 21st the first time
Roxie writes April 21 for the first time
There is Western Samoa and there is American Samoa. Today we visited Western Samoa. This is a third world country with nothing but beauty, heat, and beautiful brown people. Samoans are easy-going because it’s too hot to get upset over little things. Many families live in houses with no walls – just a raised concrete platform with pillars around it supporting a roof. As we rode by in the bus I could see grandmas with one or two babies lying on thin mattresses, taking naps while the rest of the family went to church. Samoans are very spiritual people, and most of the island closes down for Sunday. The ladies wear white dresses and fancy hats to church. The men wear white shirts with neckties, and lavalavas – dark, wrap-around calf-length skirts. The children dress like their parents. And smiles – oh the glorious smiles.
The families live in extended groups, 12 to 15 members together. Grandparents, aunts, cousins, unmarried uncles, parents and children. Husbands usually move in with the wife’s family. And they keep the relatives close even after they die. Almost every family has tombs in the front or side yard. Some simple cement pads, some are elaborate stepped pyramids set with round stones and tastefully painted.
And the colors of the houses! Imagine any vivid combination of colors for platform, pillars and curtains, and they have it. It’s just a feast for the eyes!
Most of the homes are roofed with aluminum or corrugated steel, but the older homes are roofed with coconut frond thatch. So picturesque, but a breeding ground for bugs and rodents.
The garbage is left in bags on raised platforms alongside the road. There is regular pick-up funded by the government.
We took a bus tour around the island with a stop at a small village where they shared a Sunday dinner with us. Suckling pig roasted over hot stones, coconut cream mixed with mashed taro, fresh baby coconut meat. It was delicious. We also enjoyed the company of a cat and a kitten, a friendly dog, and any number of busy chickens. The Samoan men do the cooking because it takes strength to haul those suckling pigs around and to wring the coconut cream out of the grated coconut. After wringing the juice out of grated coconut, they sprinkled the dry coconut on the ground, and the cats and chickens munched it down. Then they began to disassemble the pig. Oh bliss! Oh yum! Oh juicy, crispy delight. The cats sat underfoot and cried. The dog sat patiently and waited. The chickens continued to feast on coconut. Those were nice fat chickens.
Then we carried on to a National park with a beach that was the epitome of the South Pacific. Turquoise water, shady palm trees, balmy breezes. It was bliss! The water was so warm – I have been in cooler hot tubs.
The little sheds in the background are houses that you can rent for $10 a night including mosquito nets. There is a restroom on the grounds, and several showers. You can buy fruit, barbecues and roast taro from the family that maintains the grounds. If you want a cheap tropical vacation and you don’t mind going native, Western Samoa is paradise