Helen Hiller is in Samoa for the third time.
Only this time, it is to celebrate her 50th birthday with her husband, Gary Hiller.
The couple from Christchurch, New Zealand, arrived last week Thursday with a group of 26 friends and family members.
Dear Tourist met Mrs. Hiller reading a book by the poolside at the Taumeasina Island Resort.
The first time she came to Samoa was in March 2017.
“I think the first time was in March last year and then again in November or December 2017,” she said.
“It is nice and we know how it is, so we bring our friends here. We always stayed in this resort. The location is great and the beach is right in front,” she said.
Mrs. Hiller shared that you can almost feel a sense of island life inside the resort itself.
“I haven’t gone out of the resort much this time. I was just dealing with the people that work here. They are absolutely lovely and friendly. There is obviously a little bit of a communication problem when you go out of the resort. They are all lovely and smiling.
“Interaction with locals, I had only with the taxi drivers. I felt the places we have been going to, they did not have any experience. When we asked them if they have been here and they answered it is just for the tourists. There is a big divide between tourist and locals and what they experience here in the country,” Mrs. Hiller said.
In terms of tourism, she sees little things that could be done to make the life of a tourist in Samoa a little bit easier.
“Some areas used to have a public toilet. It is a simple thing, but using the public toilet for tourists can get very uncomfortable, when the sink is gone and there is no paper for example. We started to carry around toilet paper just in case.
“Swimming in the ocean is absolutely lovely. What I like the most about the resort, are the pools, the rooms and the beaches around here,” she shared of her island experience.
“The staff is exceptional and last time we were here, I had a conversation with Tina and she still remembered us. She has kids and I am glad to hear that both are fine. It could be that this connection with the staff is because they are Samoans.”
“What I like about Samoa when the group came out of the airport and drove around the coast, they seemed to be a little bit scared, they did not know what to expect. It is very rusty coming up the coast. When you have never been to this resort before, it makes you quite nervous. Once they got here, it was just great.
“We like to go out for eating. We have been to Scalini’s Restaurant and Paddles Restaurant. I had pasta at Scalini and it was amazing as well the chicken.”
Not only will the food bring Helen back to Samoa, but also the people.
“It overwhelms me how nice the people here are. That is why I always come back here.”