Shutdown works in favour of German traveller
The two-day Samoa government shutdown has worked in favour of Germany traveller Christin Theilig.
The New Zealand resident, who currently works as an events coordinator and travel blogger, was scheduled to return to Apia from Savai’i on Thursday.
But the two-day government shutdown led to the cancellation of inter-island ferry services, leaving her stranded on the big island.
But speaking to the Samoa Observer, Christin said the two-day shutdown was a blessing in disguise as she spent an extra two nights on Savai’i before travelling back to Upolu.
"I don't regret it, that's for sure it's been lovely. The people are still very friendly and we get to talk about things and I haven't met up with someone who has been affected,” she said.
“I love it here and it's amazing. I just have a week to spend here (in Samoa) so the plan was to spend two nights here then head back to Upolu. I was planning on going back to Apia on Thursday but I got stuck here and it is what it is. You make the most of it."
With a knack for blogging her travel experiences, Christin said she wanted to explore more islands in the South Pacific, other than Tonga which she has already visited.
“I have been to Tonga before, and I thought, why not come to Samoa. I always wanted to come and see what's it like here. I heard it's very authentic and untouched unlike other countries. I planned my trip two months ago before the measles outbreak."
Asked if she would have cancelled if she knew of the measles outbreak, she said “no” and indicated that all German citizens get vaccinated every 10 years.
"When I heard about the outbreak, I did not want to back out from my trip. I've been vaccinated a couple of times in German, it's quite normal to get it like every 10 years. And I did not want to back out from the trip which I had already booked. I am glad I did not back out because the place (Samoa) is really good, nice and relaxed especially in Savaii.”
Christin said there was something about Savai’i: "It's not like Apia; it's beautiful and it's better than I expected."
With the two-day government shutdown still in place, she was also in lockdown and could not explore the big island further, which she said was disappointing.
But she said she understands and supports the Samoa government’s decision to roll out a mass vaccination programme.
"The decision came unexpectedly. We didn't think it would happen at this time and it came as a disappointment, knowing that no vehicles are allowed to go around and I can't see the things I wanted to see,” she added.
"But I mean I guess it is very important to vaccinate the people, maybe they should have done it earlier. Unfortunately, more than 60 people have died most especially children, and that's quite a lot and it's terrible."
Asked if she would return to Samoa, she said: "Yeah of course I don't travel often to the same place but I would definitely. It's expensive when you're coming from a far away country, but if you're in Australia and New Zealand, I would definitely recommend those who haven't been to Samoa to come here.”
Christin said if there are couples looking for a honeymoon destination, it has to be Savai’i.