Dutch tourist tries to capture everyday Samoa

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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PHOTOGRAPHER LOVES SAMOA: Hans Moerkens from Netherlands.

PHOTOGRAPHER LOVES SAMOA: Hans Moerkens from Netherlands.

A serious photographer knows that their craft requires patience and timing in order to capture great pictures. 

Dear Tourist finds Hans Moerkens from Netherlands on Beach Road doing just that under the hot sun.  

We catch up with him as he hangs back on the bridge on Beach Road watching for something in the distance to appear. 

We wanted to know what that “something” was. 

“I was waiting for one of those colourful buses to drive past the front of the Cathedral so I could take a photo,” he said. 

“But when you need it to do that, of course none of them appear,” he laughs. 

“I wanted to take a picture because the buses are so colourful and the Cathedral would look very nice in the background.”

Mystery solved.

We find out that Mr. Hans is a photographer and  has given himself a year off to travel after quitting his three jobs back in the Netherlands to satisfy a wanderlust that has taken him all over Asia, Indian, Australia, New Zealand and now here in Samoa.

“I had three jobs in the Netherlands and I quit them all to travel. I thought this is the moment of my life I can do this because there wasn’t much to lose.” 

“It feels good to wake up every morning and have the freedom to think and choose what to do. But of course you need money to do this and last year I worked very hard so I could do this, it’s been great but the money is getting less and less,” he laughs. 

Landing in New Zealand, Mr. Hans took the opportunity to take things one step further and booked a ticket to Samoa saying that Samoa ticked all the boxes for him in terms of what he was looking for.

“From the Netherlands, Samoa is too far away so when I was in New Zealand, the opportunity to come to Samoa was possible because I wanted to visit at least one Pacific Island,” he said. 

“I thought the Cook Islands looked like the beaches are beautiful but Samoa also has the beautiful beaches, however it also has the green rainforest, the beautiful nature, the culture and the friendly people – so it has the whole package in the Pacific.”

Spending a lot of time travelling around Upolu, Mr. Hans found that he was able to enjoy many of the sites around Samoa without the crowds that he was expecting.

“Of course the To Sua trench stood out for me, it’s a kind of unique place and it’s very nice. Also we went around the south coast and there were some really secluded beaches where there was no one else so that was really nice because there were some really beautiful beaches all for you.” 

“I spent a lot of time in Asia and while there were a lot of beautiful beaches there, it was also very crowded.”

Mr. Hans and his travelling partner, René Sterke, have found it easy in Samoa to mix and mingle with the locals.

“I am staying at Anivas Place and it’s a very nice place, it’s a bed and breakfast and Aniva is a really cool lady, she takes care of her guests very well. It’s a really nice place,” he said. 

“It’s quite easy here in Samoa to meet people because everyone talks to you, I’m a photographer so I like to just walk around town.” 

“Everywhere I go the people talk to me, it’s really nice. On Sunday, my friend Rene and I went to church and then after that we were invited to the lunch and we had the chance to talk to a lot of people.”

Would he recommend Samoa to his friends in Europe even though it was a very far place to travel from?

“I would definitely. I think a bunch of my friends have heard of Samoa because it’s so far away and I think to go from the Netherlands straight to here is too far away I think, but if my friends get a chance to go to Australia or New Zealand – I will definitely recommend to spend some time here as well because it’s really worth it.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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