An escape from farm work and New Zealand’s cold weather was the ultimate goal for couple Kevin and Megan Friel.
And they finally got to do that when they flew into Samoa, but minus their three daughters. Their girls were with them in their last visit to Samoa seven years ago, but not this time as they opted to travel alone and be more relaxed this time around.
Coming to Samoa was a deliberate decision for the couple as their previous trips to Fiji did not go well.
“We enjoyed so much the last time and we have been to Fiji a couple of times, but I don’t really want to go there again. Fiji was quiet messy and people didn’t care about the rubbish, where Samoa is very tidy. I think just having the simple Samoan culture is much easier to deal with than others,” said Megan.
Has Samoa changed since their last visit? Kevin said Apia now has more shops and Megan was impressed with the new buildings. But Samoa has not lost its charm with the addition of the new buildings, shops and facilities, added Megan.
“Samoa is still Samoa. Driving from the airport to the resort it looks pretty much the same.”
In terms of the country’s tourism potential, Kevin said: “I thought that maybe there would be a mountain biking track up the mountains. It is something popular, which here with the conditions of the scenery could be a good option.”
When the couple was here seven years ago, the high number of stray dogs on the street was noticeable. But Kevin and Megan had no issues with that being farmers back in New Zealand.
“I think the dogs could have been managed much better. It is not such a problem for us as farmers because we are used to dogs, but they are in the hall and obviously belong to somebody,” Megan said.
Seeing poverty while on a holiday can become an eye-opener for tourists. But not Megan and Kevin, who said they saw more of it in Fiji rather than Samoa.
“I think there is a bigger contrast between the hotel, resort and the normal life conditions in Fiji than here. I guess the incomes and salaries in Samoa are different from New Zealand for instance, but you don’t see the poverty as in Fiji, where it is right in front your face. We have been to villages and I mean I know that these conditions are really basic, but it is not this visible on the first sight.”
According to the couple, their stay was lovely despite the weather conditions.
The couple head back to New Zealand next Tuesday and said they had a lovely time here.
“It is nice to have a break, before it gets back to the work and everything starts. We really had a lovely time and will definitely recommend Samoa to others,” Megan said.