Apia, Western Samoa
I love the Pacific Islands. I haven’t visited all of them yet, but out the several I have ventured to, the one closest to my heart is Samoa. Namely, Western Samoa. I’ve been there several times, and no matter how long I have stayed it never seemed quite long enough.
You see, Samoa not only has the beaches and the beauty of other Island retreats. It also has smart, hospitable people that inhabit this land, people of soul, spirit, music, humour.
There is something magical about travelling to Samoa with people who hale from that beautiful island. You learn things about your friends that was never a secret, but perhaps never came up in a Western land. The beauty of the language, the music and the place is amplified by those that speak it clearly and keenly.
I remember, vividly, the moment a friend of mine climbed a Coconut tree to assess the viability of a mid-morning snack, or perhaps just because he could. I could not believe the ease of this, and that he did this in a lava lava. I remember the laughter and easy nature my friends moved between some many languages, Samoan, English, laughter.
I remember being humorously mocked as my face shone with wonder at cultural changes and realities that I experienced for the first time, at least in Samoa.
Walking down lanes and avenues, in a flood, to the markets. With my lava lava hiked up, so that it was not completely soaked. It was raining, yes. The streets were flooded. But it was warm.
Looking each way, as people tried to stack sand bags by doors, where to stop the flood spreading into their lives and livelihoods. I remember people moving about slowly, on Island time, as I made my way through Apia, with my friends.