Columbia Cox and Olivia Jacobs are used to being bowled over by the elements -- especially coming from Wellington, New Zealand, which is renown for hurricane-like winds travelling at 110kms per hour on the average day.
However, nothing prepared them for the wave of heat that enveloped them when they landed in Samoa, last night.
The gal pals tell Dear Tourist about their trip, so far and how much they are looking forward to exploring the island.
Like most New Zealanders, they came here seeking the sun, which according to the girls was last seen in Wellington sometime in January of this year.
“We really wanted the sun, that was our main motivation and we had both heard about Samoa but never visited, and we really wanted to come and check it out,” said Olivia.
“When we left Wellington, it was horrible and rainy… it was windy and overcast -- it was terrible weather and it’s been like that for weeks, but when we arrived, the warmth just hits you. It was like a tidal wave coming over at 9.30pm at night which was insane. It was so nice.”
The girls are only here for six days but they have decided to take a spontaneous approach to their holiday itinerary. According to Olivia, they didn’t want to deviate too far from sun and relaxation, especially knowing that there is very little of that going on in their busy lifestyles in cold windy Wellington.
“We’re making it up as we go along, we’ve got some things on our bucket list, like the To Sua Trench -- that’s at the top of our list of what we want to do. Also, snorkelling and diving and things like that, but mostly relaxing.”
Dear Tourist asked the pair what led them to choose Samoa as a destination and they offered up various scenarios.
“I’ve been to Rarotonga before ,a really long time ago, so it was kinda (sic) out of Raro and Samoa, so I thought I’d give Samoa a go,” Columbia said.
Olivia, on the other hand, was more convenience and price driven.
“I’ve done lots of travelling. I’ve done Europe, U.K. and America, but I’ve never done anything in the Islands or close to New Zealand so it’s really nice to get over here.
“That’s why we picked this up, we wanted some sun and we were thinking of going to Aussie but we’ve already done that and this was the next one on the list and it’s pretty cheap to get here and we got a package deal -- it’s just super easy.”
One thing that Columbia and Olivia weren’t so excited about was their accommodation at a local hotel that they had pre-arranged.
The girls were good-natured about it and laughed that it had an upside to it in that it motivated them to spend more time outdoors.
“It’s not what we expected,” Columbia said. “The photos are a little bit different but we aren’t going to spend that much time there anyways, but it does what we need it to do.
“I mean, it’s fine because they do have tennis courts and a pool, so if we just wanna (sic) have a lounge then it’s all good for that.”
Olivia added: “Our actual room is just a little dated, it’s quite old fashioned and it’s not really modern, all the appliances look like they are out of an 80s movies or something. If anything, its actually more motivation to stay out of our hotel and to get out there and explore more.
“But we had a beautiful breakfast there this morning and all the people there are lovely, especially the receptionist -- she’s been really helpful. So the people are fine, it’s just not what we were expecting.”
Columbia couldn’t contain her excitement at the prospect of exploring the island more and told us that there were many surprises for her, even in the short amount of time they have been in Samoa.
“I just can’t wait to explore! So far, Samoa has exceeded what I expected. Already. In my head I had Rarotonga but its so much more different , it’s a lot ,… I don’t know how to explain it!”
Olivia helped her friend out saying: “I feel like its more civilised than I was expecting; I was expecting more like, dirt roads and stuff like that. It’s like Rarotonga with the one road that goes all around the island but it’s more modern with the new looking roads that we saw. I mean, they still don’t wear seat belts or follow some road rules but it’s cool, it’s a culture shock but that’s all the fun of being here.
“Everyone is so keen to help. We went to the information centre and they were really friendly and very helpful, everyone seems quite genuine. I’ve been to other places where they are pushing things on you because they’re hoping to rip you off and hoping that you will buy their business, but here, people want to help you -- well that’s the vibe that I think we got.
“Even if we decline, they’re like, no worries and they just get on with their day, which I think is quite refreshing from other places where they’re rude to you if you turn them down.”
Not to let down our reputation as the friendly isles, Dear Tourist accepted the girls request for a group selfie and we wished Columbia and Olivia well for the rest of their holiday, knowing that it might not be long enough to see a lot of Samoa, but it would be enough time for the pair from Wellywood to defrost.