Samoan culture wins over Aussie couple

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 23 August 2017, 12:00AM

Mick Creak from Australia has been working as a subcontractor in Apia since June. Dear Tourist catches him as he is showing his girlfriend, Tallava Gray, around at the Samoa Culture Village. 

Sitting underneath the shade of the ulu tree, they fill us in about their holiday -- with Tallava visiting Mick for just over a week.

“It’s my favourite holiday so far,” Tallava. “I’ve just come over to see Mick, I just love the weather, the culture, and the people and it’s beautiful as well.  

“I really like that it is family orientated, laid back and everyone spends a lot of time with their family here. 

“We are staying in Apia but we have been on a drive all over the other side, and stayed at Lalomanu for the night, and that was really beautiful as well.”

Staying in contact with Mick has allowed Tallava to have some insight into Samoa so she didn’t really have any culture shock when she arrived.

But she said there was something she discovered that surprised her. 

 “I had heard a little bit about Samoa from Mick. He told me little things and clues -- I didn’t have to plan much because I was coming over to visit him, so I didn’t have any expectations, but one thing that did surprise me is that everyone has new cars here. Everyone definitely likes their cars here.”

Perhaps another thing that they were still getting used to was the food and Tallava, being a vegetarian, lamented that it was difficult to whip up a salad.

“It’s really hard to eat the food here, usually back in Australia I don’t eat wheat,” she said. 

“Here, you can’t really eat salad or like, veggies, except maybe taro, but taro is way too heavy for me. I do like the palusami, the first time I tried it I loved it but then I tried it cold and it wasn’t as good.”

Mick also seemed a little hesitant on the food but admitted that he did enjoy some aspects of Samoan cuisine.

 “We don’t love the Samoan food but I do like a little bit of taro -- everyone wants to give you a lot of taro but I just want a little of it. 

“I love pawpaw -- its my favourite fruit -- I eat a lot of them and bananas. I go to work everyday with about eight bananas. The fish is good and I like the raw fish. I think the raw fish is the best.” 

With Mick being the quietest, despite having been here the longest, Dear Tourist was interested to know what the highlights for him have been so far. 

 “I like the resourcefulness. How like, in the city there are banana trees and pineapple farms in the city. There’s no waste of space and gardens -- it’s all practical. Like the baskets made out of coconut leaves. In Australia -- all the bags are made of plastic and it’s stupid -- there’s no reason for it and it’s a waste of plastic.” 

As an outdoorsman who appreciates nature and its stillness, he has enjoyed our mountains and least populated island.

 “I like going up to Mount Vaea a lot, especially the longer track -- it’s nice and quiet cos (sic) there’s always so many people around that its hard to get away from them. So it’s nice to walk up there alone. 

“We went to Savai’i a month ago, with a fellow that works at the shop next to where I’m staying and he took us over. He took us to his village and his family there and we went to church there and it was really beautiful. We’re not religious and we don’t go to church but it was really nice to go there and experience that. Savai’i is really beautiful.” 

Asked on their final thoughts and just when you think we lost points on the food for Mick, he went and said this: “I don’t really want that tourism stuff, I just like living here. It’s better than Australia, it’s better than western culture. I like Samoan culture better.”

Jokingly the Samoa Observer asked Mick the obvious question, would he live here?

With his poker face still in tact, Mick turns to his girlfriend and directs his answer to her saying: “If someone would live here with me” -- to which we all laughed but at the same time noting that we may have just seen a hint of a spontaneous wedding proposal in the works. 

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 23 August 2017, 12:00AM

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