Monday, October 17, 2022

Samoa

Samoa Flag



"Cradle of Polynesia"


Why visit Samoa?
Ideal for the traveler seeking to enjoy active volcanoes, beaches, blowholes, culture, deep-sea fishing, hiking, jet skiing, natural pools, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, villages, waterfalls, water sports, and wildlife.


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Baskets, kava bowls, shell jewelry, weave mats, wood carvings, and wrap arounds clothing.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Kalo (vegetable). Koko Alaisa (dessert). Masi Samoa (cookies). Oka i'a (fish dish), Paifala (stuffed pastry). Panikeke (pancake). Pani Popo (rolls). Palusami (stuffed leaves). Pisua (dessert). Sapasui (vermicelli noodles). Samoan Poi (dessert).
  • Local Drink to Try: Ginger Mojito (cocktail). Kava (classic). Niu (coconut). Taula (beer). Vailima (beer). 

Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • The fa'a Samoa culture dates back over 3,000 years.
  • O Tamaiti won the prestigious Best Short Film (1996).
  • An 8.0-magnitude earthquake caused an Tsunami (2009).
  • Samoa 'ava Ceremony is a solemn ceremonial beverage ritual bestowal of matai chiefly titles consumed in a ranking order.
  • A dance performed by males is said to be derived from slapping insects on the body (fa'ataupati).
  • Traditional dance (sasa) consists of rows of dancers performing synchronized movements with wooden drums.
  • Highest peak (6096 ft) is Mount Silisili (Savai'i Island).
  • Pose culturally significant tattoos; for male its geometrical patterns covering from the knees up towards the ribs (Pe'a) and below knees to the upper thighs for females (malu).
  • Once called Western Samoa is now simply called Samoa.
  • Consists of two large islands: Savai'i and Upolu and smaller islands: Apolima and Manono.
  • Savai'i is their largest island.
  • Elections are held every five years.
  • Government provides mandatory 8 years of primary and secondary education tuition-free until the age of 16.
  • Has 5 uninhabited islands.
  • Samoan cocoa beans are of very high quality and used in fine New Zealand chocolates. 
  • Majority of the population resides on main island of Upolu (Apia).
  • Burial site (Mount Vaea) of Robert Louis Stevenson (1880 - 1894), Scottish Author best known for Kidnapped and A Child's Garden of Verses, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Treasure Island.
  • National sport is Rugby.
  • Customarily, families with a shortage of females are known to raise boys as girls.

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (March) Apia Arts & Crafts Fair, (April) International Game Fishing Tournament, (May) Fire Knife Festival, (June) Fautasi Outrigger Canoe Competition, (July) Tafesilafa’i Festival, (September) Apia Jazz Festival, and Teuila Festival.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Mothers' Day, Independence Day, Labour Day, White Sunday, Lotu a Tamaiti, Arbor Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.


Photo Credit: Simon/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Both men and women should dress conservatively by covering their legs.
  • Onward/return tickets required for entry.
  • Blowhole areas tend to be very slippery. 
  • Official languages are English and Samoan.
  • Polynesian culture compares to Fiji, French Polynesia, and Hawaii.
  • From October - November locals are known to search for "Caviar of the Pacific" (coral worms).
  • Given their location "Ring of Fire” makes them vulnerable to earthquakes which can trigger a tsunami.
  • Cruise ships dock at the Main Wharf on Beach Road (Apia).
  • Beyond tourist areas credit cards are not widely accepted.
  • Most popular beaches are Lalomanu Beach (Upolu), Manase Beach (Savai'i), and Return to Paradise Beach (Upolu).
  • Health care is considered below our western standards.
  • Do not leave your belongings unattended.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • A small fee is required at Return to Paradise (Upolu).
  • Prevalent diseases: Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika.
  • Hiking is popular at O le Pupu-Pue National Park (Upolu).
  • Tourism is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections do not commonly occur.
  • For a local shopping experience visit Old Apia Market (Apia).
  • Aggie Grey's (Apia) and Tanoa Tusitala Hotel (Apia) host weekly traditional Samoan Dance Shows.
  • Stray dogs are known to wander the streets.
  • Traffic travels on the left side of the road.
  • By local customs, do not eat while walking.
  • Buses tend to be crowded, slow, uncomfortable, and undependable.
  • Same-sex acts are a crime and punishable up to seven years in prison. 
  • Sunday is commonly a day of worship amongst locals.
  • By local customs, do not point your feet or legs at anyone. 
  • Nude or topless sunbathing is illegal.
  • Avoid transporting through villages at 6:20PM while locals practice their daily devotionals (sa'a).
  • Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended on secondary roads.
  • Rainy Season is from November - April.
  • Ferry Service operates between Apia, American Samoa, and Pago Pago.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport and one blank page for entry stamp.

Prone to earthquakes, heavy rains, landslides, monsoon, strong winds, tropical cyclones, and tsunami.

  • Best Time to Visit: June - October
  • Coolest Month: June - October
  • Hottest Months: December - April
  • Peak Season: December - January

Photo Credit: Holger Detje/Pixabay 



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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.   

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