Flying from half way across the globe are Simon and Rose Schmid from Germany.
Simon and his mother arrived into the country on New Year’s Eve and they are here for three weeks.
The Dear Tourist team learned that this is Simon’s third visit to our shores. But for Rose, she is here for the first time.
“I work in Switzerland which is quite close to Southern Germany,” Simon said.
“2016 was my first time here in Samoa just for vacation, so I was like randomizing on the map because 2014 I was in Tahiti and I was looking for another nice island, so I found Samoa and came here just for 10 days.”
“Then I met let’s say my Samoan family and I returned last year to Samoa with my dad and this year it’s mum’s turn.”
“So we have a farm in Germany and we can’t travel together with my husband. So last year I had to feed the cattle and this time my husband has to feed the cattle,” Rose added.
“That’s the reason we can’t travel together because someone has to stay at home and look after the farm, it’s a small farm but someone has to feed the cattle,” Simon said.
They also attended the wedding of their Samoan family member last week Friday.
“I met my Samoan family when I was here first time; last year with my dad we visited them and also this year with mum. So it was our first Samoan wedding. We’re excited about it because we’ve only attended European weddings and we’ve no idea about Samoan wedding.”
Being a regular visitor to our shores, Simon has become accustomed to the Samoan way of living.
“I think I understand the local culture, especially the local custom much more better than the first time where I was like a typical tourist, staying more in the rental car or a resort or on official tour, for my second time, we chose to go wherever we want, so now I think I know every waterfall on both islands.”
“Last time, we spent most of our time in Savai’i, and this time we went only for three days, driving around the island, blowholes, waterfalls, lava fields and also in Upolu, I’ve been to the trench, all the sandy beaches, I’ve driven around the island once, so I think when it comes to the sightseeing spots, I’ve seen most of it.”
He’s description of our island, is the reason his mother accompanied him on this trip.
“When I returned home the last time, I was telling them about Samoa and they were quite excited about it. It’s a very long distance to travel, 24 hours in the air without changing planes, and so we have to really plan for it, at least three weeks because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our holiday, because when you arrive there’s the time difference, now in Europe, it’s winter time, so it’s 13 hours’ time difference compared to here and this is why we chose to stay here for three weeks.”
As a first timer, Rose was surprised by Samoa’s weather.
“Oh it’s very hot for Europeans,” she said.
“We thought it would be raining all day, but as you can see, the sun is out, but it’s also good because everything just cools down, so I like it very much because I am not a very winter person,” Simon added.
Rose was also mesmerized by the colour of the sea.
“I was very surprised by the colour of the sea, I know it’s only from TV and postcards, but in reality it’s beautiful and amazing. I haven’t been out swimming, not yet, but we will definitely do that,” she said.
“Most people think that when we take pictures, it is photoshop, but when you go around the island and the sun is at the right spot, it’s just like that. Many people won’t believe it,” Simon added.
“As a first timer, I like Samoa very much, I like the various plants and it’s amazing. I want to return, but maybe not next year,” Rose added with her experience so far.
However she misses her German dish.
“I miss German food, we have a lot of salad, vegetable and beef and here we have a lot of fast food,” Rose said.
“The problem here with the hotels and the restaurants is that they all try to be like palagi food, but when you have traditional Samoan lunch, then you get salad, and taro and fruits. I like it very much, whereas here in the hotels, we have beef burger, fish and chips, chicken burger and that’s the problem,” Simon added.
Developing the local industry has its pros and cons and it depends on the Samoans.
“There are always two sides of the coin, for the people of Samoa and the economy, they have to develop, and there are people like me, tourists,” Simon said.
“I like it like this, not too many tourists, white beaches, not too many people from overseas running around. Compared to Tahiti, Samoa is very rooted to its traditional values whereas Tahiti, people don’t speak their native Polynesian language, they speak French, you see tourists everywhere, this is why I like Samoa, people don’t try to be like European or palagi and this is the difference.”
Despite the distance, Simon’s love for our country will see him return to our shores in the near future.