Apia town was slow with the sweltering heat yesterday and many were taking shelter in the air-conditioned restaurants, salons and hotels.
However travel pals Thelma and Lois had ventured out from their hotel complete with sun hats and sarongs as umbrellas, wanting to take advantage of every single minute of what was left of their holiday.
They had already been here for a week and are leaving today to return home to Christchurch New Zealand.
Dear Tourist takes a breather from the sun and sits down with the New Zealanders around the marina, who told us they have been thoroughly impressed with Samoa.
Thelma has been to several Pacific Islands and for Lois this would be her first time to Samoa and first time leaving New Zealand.
We ask Lois to tell us about what she would tell her friends back home (who may also have never travelled) about Samoa and travelling overseas for the first time. Exploring Samoa has inspired Lois to venture further into the world.
“I would tell them that they are in for a real surprise, it was not what I was expecting,” she said.
“Having never travelled before, it’s opened my eyes up. We have Samoans in New Zealand, mind you probably not many in Christchurch but I’ve chatted to some Samoan families and I’ve taught some in my classroom and they were nice folk. But to actually come here and see the way Samoans live gives me a whole new perspective. It’s made it more real, I mean I treat everyone as kiwis back in New Zealand and now I think they (Samoans) really must just tolerate us at times!
“We don’t understand how they think and they probably don’t get us either. Now, if something happened to Samoa, I think I’d be quite broken about it all because now I’ve made a connection, just seeing all the children running around - yeah its been good. I’m definitely going to do it again, I want to visit other places now.”
Both Thelma and Lois enjoyed going with the flow and admitted that they didn’t really do any homework before coming to Samoa and they were pleased with how everything had turned out.
“I’m thoroughly impressed because it’s so laid back - not too much touristy stuff which I prefer,” Thelma said. “There are beautiful landscapes and we went to see the turtles in Savai’i and swam with them and we saw the lava flow. It’s stunning.”
For Lois, her motivations for coming to Samoa were based on, in her words “going somewhere that was warm and had a beach.”
She really needed a holiday from her demanding job and she just wanted to go somewhere that was tranquil.
She has enjoyed talking with the locals and she is amazed at how friendly everyone is in Samoa.
However Lois wasn’t that sold on our island cuisine, having a very strong western palette, Lois said she would rather not see another taro again but there was one thing she did want to see again.
“We’re staying at the Sheraton and it’s great, really good service and good food. The rooms are nice clean and comfortable.
“I slept in the best bed I’ve ever slept in there and I actually got down on my knees and looked at the label. I took a photo because I need that bed. I saw that it’s made in Auckland so yeah - I want that bed.”
We asked the friends what their highlights have been in Samoa so far and what they would do differently if they returned.
“We did quite a bit actually. We took the day tour and we went to the trench and waterfall and went for a swim. we didn’t go down the trench though and then we had a Samoan buffet lunch and that was great. We’ve found that’s its not pushy here, not like other places that’s touristy (sic) push, push, push or buy, buy, buy.
You do have to look very hard to find the souvenirs you want - we did go to the markets and that was an eye opener especially the fish market. We were offered fish but what are we going to do with the fish - we have no where to cook it.”
Meanwhile, newbie traveller Lois said, “I think id like to stay a bit longer in Savai’i next time we come. I think we liked that island better in some ways because it was quieter and it was very tidy, I mean everywhere is clean and tidy I’ve really been impressed at how clean it is here.
“But I think there should be more public rubbish bins because you might be eating a snack like an apple and I don’t want to throw it just anywhere I want to put it in a bin and I’m looking around and I’m thinking where’s the rubbish bin? That would be good.
I think that the place is rather clean but the rubbish bins are more for people like me, a tourist who has no idea where to put my rubbish but other than that I wouldn’t change a single thing about this place. We love it the way it is.”
Lois has been a fountain of new perspectives and so it only seemed right that we ask her for any final thoughts.
“Oh you wouldn’t catch me catching a bus that’s for sure because I don’t want anyone to sit on me or vice versa. I’m sorry that’s just me. I told Thelma if we ever get on a bus, I’m sitting on her. “