Channeling the Von Trapp family from the Sound of Music, the Roa family was a colourful bunch as they walked in a line behind their matriarch along Apia’s beach road when Dear Tourist met them.
All that that was missing was a guitar.
Rachel Roa told us that they were trying to find a taxi to take their tribe out for lunch at the Marina because it wasn’t just any ordinary day, it also happened to be her birthday.
“It’s is our first time to Samoa actually,” she said. “We just wanted to come somewhere a little bit different - we wanted somewhere that wasn’t Fiji and yet close enough that it wasn’t much of a distance to get here so our travel agent said this was a good place come and so here we are.”
The family has been here since Wednesday and they are staying at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Beach Resort.
So far they have had a very positive impression of Samoa.
“We love it, it’s so friendly,” says Rachel.
“ I mean the airport was so cute. It was quite quaint and very retro, kind of like New Zealand 20 years ago. But overall that’s the vibe that we are getting, is that everyone is just so friendly.
“The resort we’re staying at is amazing. I absolutely love it, the location is incredible – it’s just by the beach. There is this gorgeous pool with a swim up bar. You just can’t get better than that, with all the palm trees around and its well designed.”
The older girls chime in with Nathalia saying, “ I thought it was really humid and I thought the people were really nice. Now I just love it because it’s so sunny and we just need to get a way from the cold and rain.”
Alex, the eldest agreed saying that this was a special time for their family to spend together being that it’s her mum’s birthday and also because this year is her last year in college before she leaves the nest in Auckland to attend university in Wellington, New Zealand.
“I love it here,” said Alex. “You put a lot of emphasis on your culture and I think that it’s really cool. I think it’s the most cultural country I’ve ever been too. I would tell people back home about the beautiful weather and the people here are so friendly, I just love how everything is authentically Samoan.”
Alex’s mum agreed with her.
She added that they would absolutely recommend Samoa to their family and friends back home.
“I actually agree with what Alex said, you have managed to keep your culture without commercializing it.
“It’s authentic like what Alex says. You feel like you’ve come somewhere different, you haven’t just come to a generic commercial tourist spot. I actually don’t know why Samoa is not publicised more in New Zealand. It’s the same distance as Fiji and I don’t know why more people don’t come here because I would come back again, it’s just gorgeous.”