Bargaining with the vendor and getting a good deal for some cultural adornments at Fugalei Markets is where Dear Tourist met John and Lizzy Payne for Auckland, New Zealand.
The couple have been here for a week and were spending their last full day taking in the last sights and sounds of Apia before they returned to the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Beach Resort where they are staying.
They were quite happy to be interviewed by the Samoa Observer because they have been reading the newspaper every day since they got here and have really gotten a sense of what’s going on in Samoa.
Lizzy reflected on her visit this past week and talked about the highlights of their trip and also what led them to Samoa.
“Well we have had a good week and this morning was a highlight, we saw the turtles just outside the church there and it was so beautiful,” she said.
“It was one of the things I wanted to see while we were here, we took a bus tour earlier in the week but we missed out on swimming at the waterfalls because it was raining too much.
“We are staying at the Sheraton beach resort down by the airport. This is our first time here, there is a lady at my work from Samoa and I wanted to come see her homeland so it’s lovely.”
When Dear Tourist asked Lizzy, what she will tell her friend about Samoa when she gets back to work and she replied” “Well I think I’m going to take her one of the daily papers, I think that might be a nice thing to take back for her!”
The couple were really interested in talking about the Samoa Observer daily newspaper and it seems they have been following one particular interesting character from the newspaper in recent times.
John says through a big smile, “we found the paper really good, we read it every morning” and Lizzy laughed out loud when she revealed.“ We read the correspondence about “Wendy Wonder”, we just think she - I think it’s hilarious actually I love it! She certainly sparked up a real conversation hasn’t she? Yes she certainly does get a response, very controversial.”
John is definitely a man who keeps up with current news events and he went on to discuss some of the stories he had read in the Samoa Observer.
“There were a number of the villagers that have been writing about the state of the roads here and having just driven here, I can see why! We could see them from the tour bus too. The roads do need some work here but then again so do our roads in New Zealand really.”
Driving around and taking in the village life brought a feeling of nostalgia out in John and he said what he will remember the most is watching the villagers in their care free activities.
“When we were coming back from the bus tour all the kids that were playing rugby in the villages really resonated with me because when I grew up that’s what we did after school.
“We played rugby or soccer and we rucked till after dark and that’s what those kids were doing and I thought ahh that’s the life I miss.”
Lizzy joins in, “yes its that spirit, that they all join together and do things together. All ages all sizes everybody was out there, mum and dad were watching and that was great.”
John and Lizzy told us how they both wanted to explore the Pacific and one by one they were ticking them off and adding Samoa to that list.
“Lizzy is English and I met her when I was on my OE and we got married and came back to New Zealand,” John said.
“I was born and bred in NZ and I always wanted to go to the other places (in the Pacific) and so we are sort of ticking them off one by one. But Samoa we will come back to.”