Susan Franckan feels a special connection to Samoa.
Not only is she a tourist visiting the islands, she also has links here through her adopted son, who is Samoan.
She is from Auckland, New Zealand and they are staying at the Taumeasina Island Resort with her husband, Aldo and their 17-year-old son, Michael.
They had decided on their first trip to visit Samoa again so that they can create more memories.
“We just spent seven days in Savaii, which was absolutely beautiful and really lovely.’
“I have never been to this hotel before and it is stunning. We travelled around Upolu during our first visit. We like Samoa because it is much simpler.”
“There are not many tourists here and you become part of the local culture more easily.”
“It is lovely that you are not disconnected from the local culture, even in the hotel. Certainly, in Savaii you are much more connected with the culture. I think it is very important.”
The family rented a car and went around the islands, which is good for them because they get to spend more time in one place as long as they want.
“We are used to use the Samoan bus which we absolutely love. Renting a car is really easy; you can stop by villages and have the local Samoan barbeque beside the road.”
“I think it is good to practice the language. I do speak a little bit Samoan, not a lot. I have the intention to learn it better so the next time we come back we can better communicate.”
“I have to say I am so impressed that most Samoans can speak some English. Not many people in New Zealand can speak more than one language.”
Through her experience, she has being an expert in providing recommendations for people planning to visit the islands.
“I think when people come to Samoa they should really try and go to Savaii. These are such different places really. It takes you back in time like it was before. What I really like about Savaii is there are very few tourists.”
“I like both islands the way they keep the land around their fales and the hedges beside the road, with these yellow, red and green plants. Each village has its own pride.”
“Savaii is absolutely beautiful, those lagoons they are to die for, honestly. It felt like heaven there at the Manase Lagoon. I would recommend any tourist to go there. The fact that you can stay at the open Fales, the simple basics we did, you can have as well the air conditioned rooms or resort. We like to try everything out, we are very open.”
“We had dinner at Le Lagoto. that was delicious. It was very family friendly, that was really nice.”
“We want to have little bit of everything that is what we are doing. You can have a touch of every different part of life. So you have the modern hotel if you want, where is a really strong Samoan influence on the menu, which I really like. The palusami Pai, my husband loves the Samoan food.”
“The fruits like pineapple are just gorgeous.”
“I think Samoan people are very special too. It is very easy to connect with Samoans. I speak a little bit of their language, but if you want to connect with them, they will connect with you.”
“They seem to go the extra mile, not sure if it’s only with tourists, but we appreciated it. And they let you just be as well.”
Before they leave they plan to visit Robert Louis Stevenson, and visit local friends.
If time permits, she reveals they would definitely visit Samoa again, but this time, make their travel a permanent stay.