Two long time family friends from Christchurch, New Zealand, are in Samoa to experience a different culture.
The group of eight also came to Samoa to relax and escape the cold weather back at home.
“Where we live, we are used to a lot more technology, here it is more basic,” John Gray said.
Rick Irvine and his family have been to Fiji, Bali, Thailand, New Caledonia and this is their first time in Samoa.
“We saw these other islands and thought we are going to give it a try,” he said.
The differences in the various destinations are significant for Rick.
“I find the people here a lot quieter, but I think there is good and bad for that as well. In Fiji for example, the people are loud and joyous people, whereas here, everyone keeps to themselves.”
“I think Fiji is got a wave in tourism and here I don’t think you can call that a wave yet, which is really good.”
“You go to Rarotonga or Fiji, everything is commercialized and there are a lot of tourists. It is rustier here, which is quite nice. Here you have to go a little deeper to find where to go,” Rick said.
“There are a lot of secret spots, which you have to explore in a couple of days. That is actually quite nice, it is up to you to find them,” John added.
John and his wife Julie Gray have been to Fiji and Rarotonga.
“I think Samoa is still not as commercialized as the other islands,” Julie said.
“I can’t really see a big difference between the islands,” John added.
They have been going to the cave pools, different waterfalls and have passed by villages.
“We haven’t stopped at the villages; it is a little hard to get into.”
They also noted the difference in conversations.
“It is kind of easy to reach the people, but I think in other islands they would make the first contact, here it is up to us to make the first contact.”
“Everyone is really friendly and polite. We haven’t had any bad experiences,” Rick said.
The only issue John highlighted was people approaching him to sell him stuff.
“It is just uncomfortable to have that pressure on you and when you come for a holiday you don’t really want that.”
“Especially the pressure on the kids as well, that is not a good thing, when they just come for a holiday to enjoy,” John explained.
“The whole family caught a fish, which was great.”
“The snorkeling was amazing,” Julie added.
“Probably the fishing, I would say,” Keegan Gray said.
Rick said in general, it has been a good, laid back holiday.
“I loved the fishing. It is a good place to involve kids. We can all go snorkeling and fishing together. It is a good family destination.”
They are leaving on Saturday and thinking already of their return to Samoa.
“Now that we know how it is, we could plan a week,” Rick said
“What we do next time is instead of staying in one resort; we would go around seeing much more of the island. It is definitely a plan to come back. It was good to go with another family too.”