“Happiness is clear on everybody’s faces”
Age can’t hold tourists back.
Sandra Mooney, aged 70, was thrilled to be able to experience all that Samoa has to offer.
“I climbed down the steps at To Sua trench and was really pleased that I did,” she said excitedly.
Throwing herself into island life, Sandra caught a local bus down to the wharf.
Having been to the island twice previously, she finally found the time to fit in a trip to Samoa’s smaller island of Manono.
“I hadn’t been to the island before and going was a great experience.
“We met a local there who offered us the ferry ride at a discount price,” Sandra noted the welcoming nature of the islanders.
“I try to also say ‘Talofa’, but everyone says ‘Hello’ back. I really appreciate their efforts,” breaching the language barrier makes a tourists stay on the island much easier, and the people are happy to facilitate this.
“The main difference here is the lack of worries. Happiness is clear on everybody’s faces.”
The Scottish author of classic novels such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson, fell in love with Samoa.
His house on the island has become a landmark; it has been fully restored and serves as a museum to his life’s work. Samoa is proud that the author chose to reside here on the island, “the museum is a must see. It’s just fascinating how revered he was,” Sandra observes.
The people’s appreciation of the arts is highlighted by their efforts in preserving and showcasing his original works and memorabilia.
Sandra has been enjoying learning about the culture of the island. Having noted the high number of Churches in Samoa, she was impressed with the strong Christian ethics visible in everyday life.
From Australia, she told the Observer that it is the “people that keep bringing me back”. In the four years since her last visit, she noted that the Taumeasina Island Resort, “has been a great addition.” She attributes this to the high number of locals that frequent the establishment, which allows tourists to meet the real people of Samoa.