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an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Prague, Czech...
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an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Hi to all Samoa experts,

I have checked a lot of the previous questions & answers, but I still date to ask my own set of questions (partly also because some of the answers could be obsolete a bit)…hope you won’t mind:-)

Soon I am leaving for a couple of days to New Zealand where a friend of mine is studying right now. We will do some hiking, walking etc. And then, we plan to spend 10 days in Samoa during the second half of June. And since I am a guy from Europe who has never let the “old continent” before, I have no clue what is it like to visit a tropic island…that’s why I am writing this text:-)

1) The first questions is sort of general – how to divide these 10 days in order cover all interesting places/activities in Samoa (or at least most of them)? Where to go to see the most and not to get dissapointed:-)? I don’t have any super special specific preferences, but indeed I would like to spend most fo the time outside as the weather should be probably nice;-)

2) Accomodation – could you please advise me what the ideal way will be for me considering my budget which is 100 NZD per day? Beach felas seems to be quite nice accomodation for a reasonable prize. If so, could you please recommend good one in both islands? I guess we will be traveling around so it won’t be comfortable to live just in one place.

3) Money – there are not much ATMs in Samoa and credit cards are not widely accepted. So my questions is, which currency in cash to have in Samoa? USD, NZD, AUD? Which of them has the best currency rate as I guess it’s necessary to exchange one of them into the local currency…?

4) Car – is it worth to hire one? If so, where to go to get one and what is the reasonable prize per day? Since our budget is sort of tight, I don’t what to get screwed:-)

5) Health – vaccination – is typhoid and hepatitis enough? I have also heard some horrible things about mosquitos infecting people dengue fever – is June their time? How to prevent them from bothering us? I guess all beds (regardless where one sleeps) are equiped with mosquito nets, but what during the day? Insect repellent? Starting to use B-vitamin right now in high doses? Another big issue is stomach problems and diarrhoea – is there any way how to minize it’s occurrence? Is an old “peel it boil it cook it or forget it” still valid is Samoa nowadays? I mean I’ll be buying a bottled water for drinking and teeth brushing, but how’s it with local food? Is it dangerous to eat local fruit, to got to some fast food, restaurant etc.?

6) Clothes – quite an issue for me since I am only allowed to have a cabin baggage, which is 7 kg:-) but considering the weather, I guess there is no need for some warm stuff. Is there any prefered material…cotton, linen? I was thinking to have 2 linen shirts, 2 cotton t-shirts, 1 shorts, 1 long trousers. Is it enough? Or do I need something more, or is there any “dress code”? I mean I don’t want to offend locals by my clothes. And how about shoes…will arrive in my treking shoes from NZ, but I guess I won’t be using them in Samoa. Are sandals OK for the whole stay? Or do I need something more solid?

7) Sun – I guess it is pretty strong and anoying, so sun cream is an essential as well as some panthenol cream afterwards. But was thinking to buy a straw hat in Samoa…but heard about very strict environmental policy in NZ. Will kiwis let me to bring it back to NZ (I am leaving for Europe the day after an arrival from Samoa to NZ)

8) Local language – when travelling around Europe, I realized it always helps to know some basic words/phrases when being in touch with locals…could you please recommend some link where I can find some useful phrases…including pronunciation:-)?

9) Local people – I guess there are many kids around (this assumption is based on the pictures I have seen via internet)…is it common/polite to bring something for them? Some sweets, coloured pencils, coulouring picture etc.? Or would they feel rather offended when someone give them such stuff?

10) Is there anything else what is important and I forgot to mention :-)?

Ufff…what a long text I have produced:-) thanks all who managed to get through it, apologize for my English (I am not a native speaker) and appreciate any reaction.

Thanks in advance!

Jonas

Kawerau, New Zealand
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1. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Hi, I wont answer all your questions but just to reassure you on a few things

6/ clothes list is fine, you wont need much, you will probably buy a sarong there, I take teva sandals for walking and everyday use but also rubber jandals/flip flops for walking around the beach/fales/in the shower...etc (you can also buy them there as everyone wears them)

5/ health, dont worry too much.the winter (now) is the dry season so not a lot of mosquitos during the day ( more in the vegetation, very few by the beach) If the mosquito nets provided at the fales have holes grab one at a supermarket (apia or salelologa) for about 30 tala (15US$).I eat anything but if you are particularly sensitive maybe avoid food that has been sitting too long-e.g at the markets and roadside stalls. I take anti histimines with me as I am sensitive to kava and some of the mites found in the local mats.I take tropical strength aerogard, (which I use a lot in the evenings)& sunscreen (which I dont use a lot) I take a cotton hat with me.

9/ I take kids and teen books and pencils, mainly the girls seem to appreciate them, boys like anything to do with sport-rugby tshirts, etc- if I take snorkelling gear i often pass it on when I leave.

3/I find about half the fales take credit cards and its not a huge place if you need to get to a ATM to get more cash- I never carry many valuables because I stay in unlocked fales. take whatever currency you already have (US/NZ) to avoid paying exchange fees twice.

4/ I use buses most of the time- very cheap. But often hire a car for a day or two on each island. expect to pay 100-120 tala (50-60US) per day and a one off licence fee of about 25 tala.

2/ my budget is 500NZ per week some of my favourite accommodations are- Savaii-at Lalomalava,The Savaiian Hotel (fan room 105 tala 2 pax), both Joelans (50tala pp)and Lauiula fales (70 tala pp)at Lano . Vaisala Hotel (at Vaisala) 120tala 2 pax, Satiuatua 65pp .(at satuiatua)Janes,Reginas and Tailua at Manase (60-65 tala each pp)

In Apia you've got Hotel Elisa, Anivas,Lynns Getaway (all have pools and are less than 60 tala pp) and Taumesina by the water is 50tala pp.

South coast Manusina and faofao are only 70tala and Vaiula is 60, Lupes and Valesis are 100. Most fale prices include 2 meals and most hotels include breakfast. Local beer is only 5 tala.

My advice ,look up some of the fales - just google their names and you should find them, choose a few on each island to relax in for a few days .hire a car from salelologa and explore savaii for a few days , hire a car in apia to explore upolu for a few days.

And relax,... samoa is an easy, friendly destination and great for the budget travellers. - its also very small so you may even meet me and my daughter at a fale on savaii....

Edited: 24 May 2013, 20:23
Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
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2. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Malo lava (Hi) Jonas

A long text yes but your English is excellent given that it's not your mother tongue and that you wouldn't speak it much in Prague. I agree, out of respect I always try and learn the basics of a language before going to another country. Here are a few phrases that might come in handy:

Hello/hi - Talofa/malo (tar-low-fah/mar-low)

How are you? - Oa mai oe? (wah-my-oy)

Goobye/bye - Tofa/fa (toe-fah/fah)

Thankyou/thanks - fa'afetai/tai lava (fah-ah-fah-tie/tie-larva)

Please - fa'amolemole - fah-ah-mor-lee-mor-lee

Yes- ioe (ee-oh-e) or abbreviated to an 'eeee"

No - leai - le-ay

Goodnight - manuia le po (marn-wee-ah-lee-poh)

Have a nice day - manuia le aso (marn-wee-ah-lee-arso)

How much is this? E fia le tau (ay-fear-lee-tau)

Where is the - E fea le (ay-fee-ah-lee)

If you can think of anything else just let me know, some translation sites are confusing and don't give you just the basics but screeds of stuff you don't need. English is the second language of Samoa so it is widely spoken but the Samoans do respect you for giving it a try and will have a laugh with you if you get it wrong.

To your other questions:

1 & 2. As you want to do both islands it would be good to allocate 4 days to Savaii and the rest on Upolu. What time does your plane arrive? If it's at a reasonable hour I suggest you go to Savaii first, you need to get a ferry over and the wharf is not far from the airport. On Savaii I suggest you try 2 different places with good beaches. Firstly - Manase Beach has a group of beach fale accommodation, have a look at Tanu's Beach Fales, Jane's Beach Fales, Regina's and Vacations, if you spend 2 days here then move onto Lano Beach where you'll find Joelan's Beach Fales and Lauiula Beach Fales. All these are within your budget and breakfast and dinner are included in the prices. The beaches are great for swimming and snorkeling and because they are in a village you get to meet the locals. You can check out more accommodation options for both islands at jasons.com/samoa. On Upolu consider staying in Apia for a couple of days. If you want to experience life fa'a Samoa (the Samoan way) I suggest you stay in village accommodation. Where we stay for up to 6 months every year is Taumesina Hideaway in the village of Moata'a which is about 10 minutes away from Apia. There are enclosed fales by a beautiful lagoon which leads into Apia harbour. They are 50 tala ($NZ25) a night which includes breakfast. There are also self-contained units (with kitchen and bathroom) which are set back from the lagoon and these are 95 tala a night ($NZ50) including breakfast. The owners, Sara and Masi will make sure you are comfortable and have everything you need and they are also a good source of information on what to see and where to go in Apia. The taxi ride from here into Apia is only 5 tala ($NZ3) so very cheap. As this is not a tourist area and in a village your neighbours are the villagers and always willing to have a talk with you, it's a great way to learn about Samoan culture and traditions. The rest of the time you could spend at Lalomanu Beach at either Taufua Beach Fales or Litia Sini, check their prices on line as they have probably gone up since I was there last. The weather is usually very good in June as it is in the dry season so you should be able to spend a lot of time outdoors. The reason I suggest you go to Savaii first is because the airport is on Upolu and there is a lot of travelling time to get from Savaii back to the airport so if you're on Upolu last it's easier to get back to the airport for your departure. There's a lot to see and do on both islands, many waterfalls, lots of places to swim and snorkel and historical sites if you want to see them. Savaii is a volcanic island so it's scenery is quite dramatic with a rugged coastline whereas Upolu is what you imagine a tropical island to be, like on postcards.

3. There are ATMs in Apia and it's surrounds and at the airport, there are also 2 in Salelologa where the ferry stops in Savaii. Credit cards are accepted at the accommodations I have mentioned except for Taumesina Hideaway. If you are going to bring cash it's best to get AUD as it's trading higher than both USD and NZD - we were in Samoa a few weeks ago and got an exchange rate of 2.35 tala to our $AU1.00

If you do change some money at the airport and in Apia then use the Western Union office as you will get a higher rate, when you turn right out of the Customs area of the airport you will see Western Union, ANZ and Westpac kiosks, there are also ATMs in a corner next to the Westpac teller.

4. I would definitely hire a car on Savaii as the bus services are not that frequent. It will cost between 100-120 tala a day ($NZ50) but it is worth it as you can travel around stopping when and where you want and for as long as you like. The money you save on accommodation can be used well on a rental car. On Upolu you can get buses very cheaply to most accommodations. The best place to get a rental is at Salelologa where you get off the ferry. They can be hired from Jetover Hotel, just ask someone to show you where it is. I would book the car before you arrive though as it's high season and they may be booked out.

5. Typhoid and Hepatitis are enough, there is no vaccination for Dengue Fever and this usually only occurs when you are in the wet season and staying near a swampy area with mangrove trees which you are not likely to be doing. Occurrences of Dengue Fever amongst tourists are very rare. You are right, all the accommodations that I've recommended do provide mosquito nets but you are wise to take insect repellant for the day. I have to take large doses of Vitamin B1 for medical reasons, both by injection and in tablet form and I never have a mosquito come near me. If you start taking 300 milligram per day and continue taking it while you're there you might be OK, it usually takes around a month to build up in your body so do take the repellant anyway. You are doing the right thing when it comes to the water, bottled water is quite cheap and available everywhere. Stomach problems do happen though but if you usually don't have a recurring problem in your own country and you are fit and healthy this shouldn't happen. If you're worried about it though go to a pharmacy before you leave and get some Immodium (diarhhoea ) and Maxillon (vomiting) and make sure you are well hydrated.

6. I assume you're only bringing cabin luggage? If so what you've said is probably enough although you might want to bring another pair of shorts. There is no strict dress code for men (lucky you, it's much stricter for women!!) but if you do go to church I'd wear long pants and if you are swimming at a beach away from a tourist area wear a t-shirt over your shorts. The problem with having a limited luggage capacity is that if you buy anything in Samoa you have to think of whether you can fit it in or how to carry it on board, you are allowed one other smaller bag that would fit under the seat in front of you. Sandals are fine as are thongs (flip-flops, jandals (zabky, vietnamky??) which are cooler.

7. Yes bring sunscreen, preferably SPF30 and an after sun cream if you need it. Kiwi quarantine rules are very strict, in Australia we can bring back straw hats if you have sprayed them with Mortein or a similar insect spray, I don't think NZ allows you to do this though. Hats are very cheap in Samoa so if you do get one leave it behind or give it to one of the village kids, they'll love it and think you're the best person in the world.

8. Already answered

9. Samoans love kids and yes, there are a lot of them. Most rarely get treats and love lollies, crisps and anything that will keep them occupied like colouring in books and pencils and you won't be offending anyone by giving them to the kids.

10. If you are interested in Samoan culture then a FiaFia night is a must, it's a celebration of Samoan culture, song, dance (including fire dancing((siva afi))), food (yum) and story telling and most of the places I've mentioned have one once a week. I can't think of anything else at the moment although you may have some more questions so please feel free to ask.

I hope this helps Jonas, I would look at and decide on your accommodation soon as late June is very busy and you'll need to book before you go.

Manuia le aso (have a great day)

Deb

Prague, Czech...
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3. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Thanks amysmum,

5/ bought quite strong repelent, so I hope I will be OK! I don't exactly know how sensitive I am as I have never left Europe before, but hoping the best but expecting the worst...so I will definitely NOT eat anything from the markets/streets at all.

9/ OK, will bring some books, pencils and some small candies. When it comes to sport, ice-hockey and soccer are the most popular in Europe, so nothing fancy for Samoan kids I guess:-)

3/ well, I can't avoid paying exchange fees twice as I can't get neither NZD nor tala around here, so I bring USD and AUD for exchange then

4/ since we will be four, I guess a car is worth to hire

2/ appreciate your reccomendations...did some googling, some of them are completely booked...some are not...will see later...plus it's kinda hard to coordinate 4 people and to agree on the same place to stay:-)

I definitely would like to relax and recharge bateries....after almost two weeks of hiking in NZ and mostly after 3 years without no vacation whatsoever

Prague, Czech...
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4. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Thanks deb,

these phrases are very useful indeed...just one question to pronunciation in brackets - do I read it as it's written or is it like english? For instance TALOFA...I write TALOFA...but read TALOFA or TARLOUFAH?

1 & 2

Really appreciate you exhausting description. We decided to start our trip in Taumesina Hideway - Sara was very nice via e-mail and even offered us to arrange taxi from the airport:-) I hope there will be a chance to meet some locals, chat a bit and learn something about Samoan culture as well as about Polynesian in general...I am sure it will be very interesting for me as an European. I aslso hope I might get better tips for "must see things" than from a Lonely Planet book:-)

We will plan the rest during our stay in NZ during the next week etc. Will print out whole this topic as a information source for our planning. I guess we will move to Savai afterwards to be able to finish our stay in Upolu to be able to reach our place easier on the day of departure.

How is it with rain in June in Samoa? Is it heavy, long lasting, do temperatures drop? In central Europe is 30+ degree celsius and when rain/thunderstorm hits, temperature can drop even to 15 or so. Was checking weather forecast and it says quite rain in the end of the week.

3

Have exchanged some AUD today. When it comes to ATMs and credit card terminals - do I need to pay some extra fee for using them? A friend of mine who arrived from Thailand recently told me it's like that in Thailand. Some strange tax or what the hell is that...is anything like this in Samoa as well?

When it comes to exchange rate, it's getting worse...I mean one's getting less tala for AUD etc. Lucky me:-P

Will definitely use Wester union then!

4

As mentioned above, we will definitely try to book a car as we are 4 and I guess it is worth to. Was trying to find some online booking for cars but did not manage.Could u please provide me with some link?

5

To be honest, I am a bit concerned both about dengue and some stomach problems...so I gought some high DEET concentration repellant. Do you use it just for skin or also for clothes? Do Sara in Taumesina Hideway provides mosquito nets as well?

Started to take vitamin B as well as some lactobacillus pills to prevent stomach problems. Talked to a doctor when being vaccinated for typhoid and got some stuff...so hope it helps if needed. OK...drinking enough water is a key I guess. Sara said a breakfast is included in Taumesina accomodation...shall I be worried about it's quality or not?

6

Yeah, just a cabin luggage. And a friend of mine has one checked luggage for all liquids such as sunscreen. But as it's for 4 people, I guess I will not have a chance to put much in it. And I don't think I will come to church.

I will have some very small bag for all my valuable stuff...passport, purse, money, credit card, camera, ipod, phone chargers etc.

I bouth some very light shoes for water sport with a vibram sole. Besides that I will bring some slippers as I can wear those with socks whereas flip-flops not:-) btw...how come someone from Australia know words such as ZABKY and VIETNAMKY;-) u ever been to Czech Rep?

7

Still not sure which sunscreen to buy...some say Daylong, some Bioderma, some Amber Solaire...some says SPF 30...some say it's not enough and 50 is minimum.

Dissapointing to hear such news about Kiwi quarantine rules! Could you please tell what kind of souvenir am I able to buy in Samoa and allowed to bring to NZ and home later on? Seems to me there is simply nothing...:-(

9

Good to know, so some books, pencils and some small candies will make it then:-)

10

FiaFia night is in every "fale resort" one week? Will try to participate one then! Any special tip where it is the best:-)?

Thanks once again. Will write more question in case some pops up in my mind.

Prague, Czech...
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5. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Deb,

one more question concerning Kiwis quarantine...will they be bitching about my medical kit I am bringing with me from Europe? Pils, creams, vitamins, sunscreen, repellant etc. ? Shall I be worried and levae something behind or is it OK?

Woolgoolga...
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for Apia, Samoa
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6. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Your English is probably better than mind Jonas as you would be more grammatically correct whereas I speak colloquially everyday. Some words are pronounced as you would say them in English, others, like 'manuia' are as I've bracketed them. There are very few sites that give you correct pronunciation along with the translation. Here's a link to a site with useful Samoan phrases, if you think you might want to use one but aren't sure about the pronunciation just let me know - www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/samoan.php

1&2

I'm so happy that you are staying at Taumesina, I'm sure you'll love the village experience, did you book fales or the units? Sara and Masi are our Samoan family (aiga) so I know you'll be in the best possible place to start your adventures in Samoa.

The weather has been unpredictable for the past few years but historically June is a great month, lots of sunshine, less humidity with temperatures around 26-27C in the day and around 20-23 at night. You might get some rain but it won't be enough to spoil your holiday.

3

Yep, the Aussie $ has taken an unexpected nose dive over the last week, hopefully it picks up before you get there but you're wise to take USD as well, Euro are also accepted in Samoa and get a higher rate than the others. In the past year Samoan banks have introduced a fee for withdrawing at an ATM, it's between 8 and 16 tala on top of the fee your on bank charges you for overseas withdrawals.

4

Cars - the most reputable companies and the ones with the best deals are Samoana Rentals, AA Rent-a-Car (aarent-a-car.net), Blue Pacific Car Hire (bluepacific.ws), Funway Rent-a-Car (funwayrentals.ws), Island Rento and Go Rentals.

5

I wouldn't worry about Dengue Fever, apart from it not being the right time of year for the mozzies that spread it, they only breed around swampy areas with extremely high humidity and you won't be visiting any places like that. We were at Taumesina 3 weeks ago and we saw very few mosquitoes, I don't get attacked because of the VItamin B but my husband uses DEET on his skin and they rarely bother him. Both the fales and units at Taumesina have very strong insect screens on the windows (and doors in the units) so you'll be fine of a night time as they can't get in. Other places provide mosquito netting in open fales.

We've been going to Taumesina for many years and staying for up to 6 months at a time and we've never been sick from Sara's food. One thing I do suggest though is that if you buy dairy food (milk, yoghurt, cheese etc) from a supermarket that you check the "use by date". Do you normally have a sensitive stomach?

6

Haha, Aussies are a very knowledgeable bunch on people, we travel probably more than any other nationality in the world so pick up phrases from everywhere. i've travelled extensively through Europe, Africa and Asia and speak French fluently but as for the ZABKY, I just googled it, you're speaking English so I thought I'd return the favour and try a bit of Czech. Unfortunately I don't have the time to translate this entire post.

7

I use SPF 30 and it's fine but I have olive skin, if you are fair-skinned you might need something stronger. I just get my local pharmacy brand.

THE REST

Have you considered which other places you'll be staying? When you let me know I can advise you about the best FiaFia night. Sara also will be able to tell you where the best is in Apia, ask her about Laumei Faiaiga in town and which night it's on. Other hotels have them but they may be a little expensive.

You are allowed to carry prescription medication and vitamins on board. If the sunscreen, repellant and other creams are 100ml and under you need to put them in a resealable plastic bag and put that bag in the tray that passes through the customs scanner. If they are over 100ml they need to go in check-in luggage.

The key to experiencing Samoa Jonas is to being prepared to live on their time, island time - nothing happens quickly, not even in business so relax, chill and go with the flow and you'll have the best and most memorable holday you've ever had.

What sort of things are you interested in seeing and doing, I don't want to recommend anything that you might find totally boring?

I look forward to more questions when you have them.

Happy planning

Deb

Prague, Czech...
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7. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Hi Deb,

That’s really nice of you indeed:-)

When I am thinking how to pick the pronounciation correctly, I think I will ask Sara or someone from your family in Taumesina. Perhaps kids could be willing to teach me a bit in Exchange for some sweets;-)

1&2

Well there is a story behind my choice. I found out some of my friends have already booked something for the first day so I was not sure what to do in order not to be homeless. So I decided to write a request to the place where my friends are staying and to Taumesina, based on your reccomendation. To be honest, I was not sure about Taumesina because of their barely working webpage. My opinion changed a bit when I check them via Facebook and mostly after Sara’s reaction to my request. It was quite swift one, warm, nice and helpfull. I have been even offered to arrange a taxi to Taumesina upon my arrival to the airport. Whereas the place where some of my friends staying bothered to response after two days with an automatic text saying basically just GO TO OUR BOOKING PAGE AND BOOK A ROOM…AND PIS*S OFF. So it really seemed to me that whereas Sara treated me like a human being, the other place person treat me just as a walking credit card or so. Is this attitude common in Samoa?

I wasn’t sure what to book but as I am not familiar with fales at all and since I am a spoiled European, I have chosen the unit. Will see later, in case we stay longer, I might move my as*s to fale in order to save some money:-)

I am really looking forward to experience Taumesina as well as Sara’s family and the other locals…hope to have chance for some chat with them…and compare their way of life with mine:-)

Your weather report sounds perfect! And to be honest, I really needed such weather to charge my batteries as it’s really sh*it*ty weather in the central Europe. Even though summer is about to come, temperatures are lower than in NZ where winter is coming and it’s raining all the time.

3

European newspapers says it’s Aussie government who is trying to weaken AUD as it’s to strong and getting even stronger than USD which is not desired especially for trade etc.

Is it so with EURo? I heard one get not much more money in NY and Samoa than for USD even though EURo is 25% stronger right now.

This withdrawal fee is really odd! Another way how to squeeze tourists:-/ and is there same fee when I just pay with my card in the shop/for accomodation or so?

4

Awesome, thanks for the car rental tips!

5

When it comes to Dengue as well as all other diseases one can get when travelling, I always prefer to be prepared than to be sorry. Will use DEET and hoping they will not like me then.

I dind’t mean to be offending to Sara’s place, I was just pointing out to the fact that someone coming from a different continent might have a completely different bacteria in his/her body which can’t get along with local food and bacteria as such. I mean for locals these are most likely harmless whereas it could be a problem for my body. I will still prefer to use my pocket knife in case I need to cut some fruit for instance. And also will no eat anything I haven’t peeled or cut on my own. Will simply do as much precautions as possible to avoid spending my vacation in the bathroom.

Dairy products as well as all other food sensitive to temperatures are out of discussion for me in such a climate. Anyway, the only dairy product I eat is cheese I can easily survive without during my vacation.

I don’t think I have a sensitive stomach, but I am trying to eat good, healthy food, avoid junk food etc. And since I am not used to, it’s natural when I eat food my stomach is not used to, consequences could be pretty nasty. We shall see…:-)

6

Well I guess I also would, had I been born in Australia, the smallest continent. Which coutries did you visit in Europe by the way? Fluent in French…awesome! This language is a mystery to me…don’t understand how can anyone learn it properly:-)

Hehe…no problem, I am delighted you have found a minute to translate this word. Wish all foreigners were as polite as you are!

7

Good point, will ask in phramacy.

THE REST

Places of stay not decided yet. This is always a problem when you go somewhere with a bunch people you won’t meet before very time of departure. But I guess we need to do at least a rough plan during our stay in NZ. So if I am able to find a wi-fi spot somewhere, I might to write here to ask you. How’s it with wi-fi in Samoa by the way?

I don’t plan to take any mecication/pills on board. All of them as well as first aid medical kit will be placed in the huge back pack which goes through check-in and in to the luggage compartment in the aircraft. What I am worried is whether Kiwis will be bitching about this content when I am entering NY on my way from Europe. Any idea?

And plus, I would like to ask you if there’s anything at all I can také as a souvenir from Samoa back to NZ and to Europe subsequently? I mean no to get in troubles due to their strict quarantine rules.

This 100ml rule is utterly stupid indeed! If they allow me to také 100ml sunscreen why 200ml is not allowed? But this is waste of time…just another freedom lost.

I admit the relax way of life could be kinda unusual for me as I am used to to a bit hasty life. One way or another, I am looking forward a lot!

I am basically interested in anything connected to local culture, nature and history. And what’s boring to me…or rather say what I don’t like is anything where it is crowded (which is most likely hard to avoid in Samoa considering its size) and where they are just trying to screw tourists and get as much money as possible.

I have a one question – I think I have read somewhere here (don’t remember where) one can simply go to a beach for sunbathing and swimming as all beaches owned by someone – is it so? Shall I ask someone for a permission and if so, who? Is there any fee? For instance when I will come to Lalomanu Beach and not living in one of its fales, will there be a problem if I just want to také a stroll and swim in the sea?

Woolgoolga...
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8. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Ahoj Jonas, jak se mas?

Good idea re learning pronunciation from someone at Taumesina. Sara's oldest daughter Celia has a good command of English (comes top of her class in school) and would be willing to teach you a bit of the language when she has time, she has a lot of fun doing it and makes it fun for those she's teaching

1&2

Sara treats everyone like family not just a dollar sign. She really needs to know that you are comfortable and have everything you need. Her husband, Masi, is also very helpful. He's a carpenter and builder and his business is on the premises of Taumesina as is their home so they are close by whenever you need them. Because Taumesina is still small they know how much good customer service means and there's just Sara who manages the place with very little help, she also works full time, looks after the house, kids, Masi's Mum and then on top of that the accommodation. She is 'superwoman' and I just don't know how she fits it all in.

3

The AUD has been trading at 1.06US for the best part of a year so we were expecting it to come down a bit, it's still trading at 2.13 tala but that's a big drop from last month when we were getting 2.35+ tala. I've checked the Western Union currency converter and you'll get 2.88 to 1 euro but only 2.21 for 1 USD. Here's the link if you want to keep a check on it before leaving.

business.westernunion.com/currency-converter/

5

I didn't take any offence about Sara's cooking, just wanted to let you know we've never got sick. Sara gets fresh fruit from the food markets everyday so there is no problem there. You could go to the food markets yourself and see what they have to offer, it's quite an interesting experience and another way to get to know Samoans and their culture.

6

My parents gave me the travel bug when I was only 2 years old when I had my first plane flight and trip overseas, Singapore, where we later went to live for a year when I was 13. My great-grandmother was Malaysian so there is some heritage in the area. In Europe I went to the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy (and Sicily), Greece, Turkey and Malta and after to Morocco and Egypt. My first husband was New Caledonian (a French territory) and we lived there for 2 years and no-one wanted to speak English (and his family of 18 couldn't) so I learnt French, it's a much easier language than English I think because English just doesn't make a lot of sense compared to other languages but coming from Europe you'd know better than me.

THE REST

You should book some accommodation soon as June is the middle of the high tourist season. When do you actually leave Europe for NZ? I'm starting to think that seeing you are already staying in Apia and will probably get to go around Upolu in the time you are there that it might be best to consider going to Savaii for the remainder of your stay, you'll need to check the time of your return flight to NZ though to see if you can spend the whole time there until you leave or if you'd have to go back to Upolu for the last night. The other benefit to some of the accommodation properties on Savaii is that they are less crowded than on Upolu. Have a look at Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge and Vaisala Hotel in Asua on the north coast of Savaii. Vaisala is great - even though it's budget it has air conditioning, hot water and ensuites and the food is always fresh, good and cheap. It's set in a little cove with a great little beach. Asau is quite remote and Vaisala not that popular because it is a bit rundown but on the plus side are the big rooms with verandahs, the food and the beach, it definitely won't be crowded at any time of year. Also check out Joelan's Fales and Lauiula Beach Fales at Lano, they are a little less crowded than what you would find at the real tourist area of Savaii - Manase Beach.

In Taumesina you can purchase wi-fi time from Sara if you have your computer with you or there are plenty of internet cafes in town which cost around 10 tala per hour. If you do have your own computer you can purchase a USB modem from Digicel for 49 tala and that includes 500mb of data (doesn't sound like much but when they first introduced USB modems a couple of years ago the modem was 99 tala and then you had to pay 100 tala for every 100mb!!!). The modem would give you good reception on Savaii as well but most properties have access and allow you to use their computers for a limited period of time.

I don't think you'll have any problems with NZ customs with what you are taking. We had to go via Auckland on our recent trip and I carry a lot of medication with me and they didn't even check what sort it was. I agree the 100ml is ridiculous, particularly when you can take 2 litres of alcohol on board even though it'd be more flammable than anything you might take with you like sun screen.

Just tell yourself you're on holiday and there's no need to rush, if you do paradise will pass you by. Taumesina is ideal to start your holiday as you can't help but relax there, Sara will make you!!!

I'll get in touch with some Kiwi friends who come on to this forum as well and ask them what the restrictions on souvenirs are in NZ and I'll get back to you and let you know.

You will learn a lot about the culture of Samoa just by being in the accommodation I've mentioned. They are all in villages and Samoans love to talk about their history and interesting legends. There is a museum that never gets overrun by tourists in Apia and also Robert Louis Stevenson Museum at Vailima (an upper class village where most of the overseas Ambassadors and High Commissioners houses are). The Scottish author lived the last years of his life in Samoa and gained a deep respect from Samoans, his title was Tusitala, story-teller and to this day that title is one of respect, the chiefs of a village are known as 'matai' and there is always a matai that is the 'tusitala' or speaker. From the museum you can hike to the top of Mt Vaea where his grave is and you will see spectacular views over Apia and the coastline. On Savaii the Taga Blowholes, lava fields, Afu Aau Falls and swimming with turtles are all worth visiting. There are markets in Salelologa where the ferry stops in Savaii, which are a lot less crowded than the ones in Apia. Another good way to learn about the people and their culture is to stop at roadside stalls which are all throughout the islands and have a talk with the people running them, they mostly sell fresh fruit and vegetables but you can often buy Samoan crafts from them like tapa (paperbark patterned with ink from plants).

The lagoon at Taumesina is good for swimming once you get past the shoreline which is a little rocky. There won't be a problem swimming in villages, someone will appear from nowhere to give you permission and collect a fee, usually between 5 and 10 tala. Don't go in the water before you see someone though as the sea in some places can be quite dangerous with strong undercurrents so you're best to ask the person who gives you permission what the water conditions are like. The people at Lalomanu will charge you 20 tala for a "day fale". Lalomanu will be busy in June.

I think I've covered everything Jonas, let me know if I haven't. Happy planning.

Maji/preji?? dobry den

Deb

Woolgoolga...
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for Apia, Samoa
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9. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

Malo lava Jonas

I haven't heard from you in a while and was wondering how your plans are coming along??

Also, I've heard about the floods in Europe so am hoping you, your friends and family are safe and well.

Let me know if you need any more help.

Manuia le aso

Deb

10. Re: an European guy is going to Samoa for 10 days

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