Posted by: Gary Guertin | November 12, 2008

Apia, Upolu, Western Samoa

Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008

Next Earliest Posting Date: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Hi All,

As we sail away from Apia in Samoa, we feel we have visited the best of the three South Sea Islands on this cruise. Everyone reminds us that this is not “American Samoa”, which is to the east, but the independent country of Samoa or as it is commonly referred to “Western Samoa”. It is a true paradise, made up of nine islands, only four of which are inhabited. The town (I can’t say city because it is very small) of Apia is located on the island of Upolu, the second largest island in the group. The islands are mostly dormant volcanoes, but some are true atolls (coral reef structures). Apia is the only area you can call a city or town, the four inhabited islands containing about 350 villages, with life centered on the village. The people are almost all Polynesian with only a few Europeans. I can’t begin to describe the beauty of Samoa, but as one passenger said, “he spent 4 hours driving around the island and couldn’t find anything but beautiful green foliage.” On Samoa the sea ends and the rain forest begins. The island of Upolu is also famous for being the last home of Robert Louis Stevenson (writer of Treasure Island). Stevenson came to Samoa when he was sick with tuberculosis, purchased a large plantation home, and lived the last four years of his life in what he called his Eden.

Let’s go through the photos above in the photo album called “Apia, Upolu, Western Samoa”. I took over seventy photos so I had to work to get it down to the 14 I’m showing you. As you can tell I really loved this island. My first photo is our usual welcoming sign. Arriving at the port we were met at 7:30 in the morning by a group of native dancers that put on a show I will never forget (unfortunately Susy was otherwise occupied and missed the show). In the second photo you see the group in front of a small market that was set up on the pier and in the third photo you see the women dancers up close. As the ship docked I took many panoramic views of the island only two of which I’ll show you. Susy and I had no sooner set foot on the pier when she headed straight for that little market you saw in the second photo. In the sixth photo you see her hard at work. We walked from the ship around a little bay to the center of Apia and in the seventh photo you see Susy with the ms Amsterdam (our ship) across the bay. Arriving in the center of town we had to stop in the large flea market and in the eighth photo you see Susy charging down the aisle of stalls looking for something (????). While in the market we saw this cute Polynesian baby so the ninth photo is her with her mother. When Susy was “shopped out” we rented a taxi (they said there were more taxi’s than people) and headed for Robert Louis Stevenson’s home. The tenth photo is the main house taken from across the front lawn. It was surrounded by rain forest. The eleventh photo is of Stevenson’s library and the next photo is a portrait of him that hung near the exit. Stevenson and his wife, Fanny, are buried on a hill near the house. When we returned to the ship we were treated to another native dancer show in the ship’s theater. The thirteenth photo is one of the native dancers. I took a lot of videos of both the morning dancers and this group of children dancers, so with eight sea days left I hope to produce a few movies (videos) to show you below. I’ll let you know if I do with a special Blog. The final photo (14th) is taken as we sail away from lovely Samoa. Susy and I stood at the railing and watched with a bit of sadness as we pulled away from this tropical paradise. We really had mixed emotions because as beautiful as it was we knew the next stop was America (Honolulu) and it wouldn’t be long before we’ll be home. We miss you all, especially Gigi and the children.

We are now 6 hours behind you in Florida and catching up fast. What was shocking was having two Tuesday’s the 11th, and now I’m behind you in the day so if I say I’m going to post on the 19th next, it will probably be the 20th for you or at least late in the day, of the 19th. I may have some special Blogs during the four days at sea now and after three days in Hawaii, the four sea days to San Diego, so check in from time to time.

Onward to America (Honolulu)

Love you All,

Gary (Gagu)


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