The flea market in Apia, Samoa’s only town, burnt down this week. It’s probably not surprising since this gloomy wooden structure selling lots of carved goods, T-shirts, coconut shell jewellery and lavalavas (wraparound skirts worn by both sexes), had at one end a café selling chicken, pork buns and doughnut-type cakes – everything deep-fried – from a variety of stalls, all of which looked like a fire hazard.
For islands that are green and lush year round producing a fantastic variety of fruits, the local diet is surprisingly bad. You need to walk through or around the market to reach the bus “station” on the edge of the sea with a large stepped concrete sea wall to sit on. It’s a place for lovely sea breezes and swift sunburn. From about 3pm the bus station and the market are full of schoolchildren in their uniforms of white shirts and lavalavas for the boys and pinafore-style dresses for the girls.