Quick, think of old cultures and old countries and dynasties – Ethiopia and Iraq, Roman, China… what about Samoa? These islands were first colonized by Polynesians 3000 years ago and have been inhabited by the same people ever since. Samoa was the launching point for further exploration and colonizing of the Pacific, earning it the name “Navigator Isles” from Europeans who made it that far just a few hundred years ago.
Samoa seems to be an excellent example of self-sufficiency with a successful culture – there’s plentiful water and fertile land, the tropical weather varies by about 2 degrees between summer and winter, and they used their spare time to bulk up, become fierce warriors, build voyaging canoes to explore and colonize the Pacific. Even their houses are about as simple as you can get: they have a roof, and often a floor. Why have walls or doors? I think part of their success as a nation has been from land rights – they do not allow foreigners to own land. Other than forestry, there doesn’t seem to be much external pressure of manufacturing, mining, or commercial farming to change land ownership but I hope the land rights stay with Samoans.
Now Samoans dominate in rugby and football and take great pride in their country. Every morning the police march through the capital with a marching band, raise the national flag, then march back to the police station. Every morning since independence!
This is a tropical country with lots of cheap taxis, street vendors, open-air food markets and delicious carb-heavy food. Samoans are large and the men wear their lava-lavas (skirts) with pride. Above everything else, Hawai’ian friendliness can’t compare to the greetings we’ve received around Samoa.
Unfortunately it’s not well-suited for cruising as there’s only 1 and a half harbours, so we’re going to move on to Tonga after a week here in Apia.