Islandliving samoa from the editor
SUMMER 2016/17 | ISSUE 18
ATU VOAR NU
e n i D & ive W
IN A H OLI
ext issue, we will be celebrating four years of Pacific Island Living. We started this magazine for Pacific people – to find, review and recommend things to see and do, and ultimately, buy. We are proudly an aspirational magazine, we want our readers to sit back and indulge just as much as we want to tell the world how great the Pacific really is. From Georgie Gordon’s health and beauty columns, to Carolyn Ernst’s gardening tips, we hope you agree Pacific Island Living has something for everyone. In four years our market has grown from Vanuatu and Nauru Airlines to cover most of the Pacific. We’re particularly proud of our market share in Fiji and the Solomon Islands as well as our distribution in Australia through Qantas Club lounges. As I write this column I’m in Fiji, having just flown in from Vanuatu. Next month it will be Nauru then the Sollies. Pacific Island Living truly is a Pacific magazine and we’re so pleased you have enjoyed it and helped its growth over the last four years. Please do keep in touch via our website, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter. Happy reading. Tiffany Carroll
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THE PERFECT SAMOA HOLIDAY Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/pacificislandliving, Twitter @PacIsLiving PLUS FOOD I FASHION I BEAUTY I HEALTH I FINANCE and Instagram at instagram.com/pacisliving or read this and all our magazines online at www.pacific-island-living. com Cover images - Fiji Island Living courtesy Adrenalin Fiji; Solomon Island Living, by David Kirkland; Nauru Airlines Cover courtesy Nautilus Resort, Kosrae; Vanuatu cover courtesy Pavol Stranák. Copyright: All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the permission of the publisher. Articles express the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Nauru Airlines, Tourism Fiji, Vanuatu Tourism Office or Pacific Island Living.
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! a f o l Ta
PHOTOS: Cover and this page Savai’i Island Tiffany Carroll
elcome to Samoa, the Treasured Islands of the South Pacific! Samoa truly has something for everyone. Located in the heart of the South Pacific, Samoa has long been regarded as the birthplace of Polynesia, with a culture as alive today as it was 3,000 years ago. At the heart of this culture lies respect and hospitality, and our people cannot wait to demonstrate this the Samoan Way. Witness the creative expression of this tradition and join in the celebrations at a fiafia night, where delicious Samoan food, surf and turf style is served and the culture is celebrated through traditional song, dance and storytelling, as distinct and unique as the culture itself. You can even take home a memento from our local markets, with handicrafts, fashion, jewellery and handmade artifacts made in Samoa. Known by many as Mother Nature’s Playground, we have an abundance of pristine beaches, lush gardens, majestic mountains, powerful blowholes and stunning seascapes, all
in place waiting to be explored and enjoyed and offering a plethora of activities catering for all types of travellers. But in order to truly appreciate the beauty of Samoa, you must tap in to the Samoan Way of living – to slow down and to faifai lemu which literally means ‘take it easy’. Relaxation has been turned into an art form and travellers who visit Samoa soon rediscover the pleasure of simply watching the world go by. Only then can we really appreciate the beauty of nature, the importance of family and why the Fa’a Samoa culture exists to protect these. If you’re up for a family adventure, a couple’s escape, a spiritual or cultural experience or just a piece of paradise to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, Beautiful Samoa awaits…
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Samoa o f n i l usefu The best advice you can receive in Samoa is to quickly get in to the Samoan way of life. Take it easy, relax, be happy. There are several resorts around Upolu and Savai’i, ranging from backpackers to five star. Coconuts Beach Resort
alofa! You’ll be hearing that many times when you visit Samoa. The national language of Samoa is Samoan, although English is used for business communications. English is widely spoken, especially in Apia, but it’s always helpful to know a few words of the local language. The following Samoan phrases will probably be useful during your stay in Samoa. By adding a few Samoan words to your conversations, you will be sure to win smiles from the locals. English Hello Goodbye Thank you Please Yes No Maybe That’s all right big / small quick / slow early / late near / far
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Samoan Talofa Tofa Fa’afetai Fa’amolemole Ioe Leai Masalo ‘Ua lelei tele / la’ititi tope / gese vave / tuai latalata / mamao
Pronunciation Tah-lo-far Toh-far Fa-ah-feh-tie Fa-ah-moh-le-moh-le Ee-oh-e Le-ai Ma-sa-loh Oo-a-lelay teh-leh / lah ee-tee-tee toh-peh / nge-seh vahveh / two-eye lah-tah-lah-tah / mah-maow
Getting around between the Samoan Islands
The Samoa Shipping Corporation runs the passenger/vehicle ferry between the mains islands of Upolu and Savai’i. The ferry departs from the Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu near the international airport, so if you are travelling from Apia, allow 45 minutes for the journey. The ferry departs from the Salelologa Wharf on Savai’i for the return journey. The trip takes just over one hour each way and it pays to arrive early at the wharf to purchase your tickets. Check with your accommodation hosts or online here for sailing times. One way passenger fares are ST$6 for child 2–12 years and adults ST$12. Vehicle charges (depending on the size of the vehicle) are between ST$80–$110 each way. The full fare list is available here. Polynesian Airlines operates flights between Fagalii (Upolu) and Maota (Savai’i) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For schedule information and bookings visit Polynesian Airlines website. To get to Manono Island, boats operate from the Manono-uta at the western end of Upolu, just down the road from Mulifanua Wharf. One way fares cost ST$1 for children and ST$3 for adults one way. The boats to Manono Island do not operate to a set timetable, but can be arranged on site at Manono-uta. If you wish to take a charter ferry, you will need to pay WS$25 oneway. If not, you can wait for other passengers and pay WS$3.
has over water bungalows (above). Catch the ferry between the main islands for a good look around.
ANZ and Bank South Pacific are the two international banks found in Samoa. Both have branches at the international airport, in Apia and at Salelologa on Savai’i. National Bank of Samoa and Samoa Commercial Bank provide services, currency exchange and ATMs. ATMs are located in and around Apia and on the island of Savai’i. Travellers can use credit cards in the machines but you are required to have a PIN to withdraw cash.
Staying connected with family and friends, and maybe sharing a status update or photos of your Samoan stay by Facebook or Instagram is easy with eight broadband internet cafes to be found around Apia and one on the island of Savai’i. Major hotels and resorts also offer internet terminals for guests in their business centres. WiFi is also available at many locations.
There are two main telecommunications providers in Samoa: Digicel and Bluesky Samoa. Both providers offer extensive coverage. Prepaid SIM cards are available at Faleolo International Airport and at outlets in Apia. Taxis are abundant around the islands and offer their services at a very good rate. Taxis are not metered so it’s good to have an idea of what the journey will cost and agree on a price with the driver before setting off.
Catching the bus in Samoa
Another fun way to explore the islands – and get to know the locals – is to take a map and board a local bus. Samoa’s brightly coloured buses provide inexpensive transport for the locals, and an invaluable experience and memories for visitors. In Apia, the bus terminals are located next to the food market in Fugalei and also opposite the flea market at Savalalo. On Savai’i, the bus terminal is at the market in Salelologa. All buses are named with their destination, so ask the driver which bus you need to catch. Note that aside from the terminals, there are no designated bus stops, so you will need to wave down a bus (use your whole arm and keep your palm facing downwards) as it approaches. The seats are wooden benches, and if the bus becomes full, the locals will opt to sit on each others’ lap, rather than stand in the aisles. This is a courtesy often offered to visitors as well, so don’t be offended or shy if someone offers you their lap. If the bus is heading into either Apia or Salelologa, the locals may carry their produce on board to the markets. When you want to get off, simply pull the cord to ring the buzzer. You pay your fare as you leave the bus. Tipping is not practised or expected in Samoa. However, if a guest wishes to leave a gift for good service then you are welcome to do so directly with the employee or the hotel reception.
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Island + Italian n Samoan se sations For a first time visitor, Samoa has a surprising number of good quality restaurants on both Upolu and Savai’i. From traditional Samoan fare (which equates to good nutritious food and plenty of it) to Italian fine dining and hip burgers, the selection is wide and varied, reports Tiffany Carroll.
Above: Above: Scalinis Scalinis grilled grilled lamb; salmon; Paddles Paddles restaurant restaurant is on is on thethe harbourfront harbourfront in Apia; in Apia; Opposite Opposite page, page, thethe homey homey Home Home Cafe Cafe
Operated by Joe and Amanda Lam, Scalinis really started Samoa’s entrance into the fine dining market in 2009. “Over the years, we have taken small steps in our business to get to where we are today. Scalinis began in St Heliers, Auckland, New Zealand back in 1999, our plan was always to move home to Samoa – I was born in Samoa and Amanda is a kiwi girl from the Manawatu (just north of Wellington)”, Joe said. “That plan came to fruition in 2009, and we have never looked back.” Today Scalinis is known for its homemade pastas, antipasto and mezze plates, fabulous salads and of course, as everywhere in Samoa, fresh seafood. My advice is to go to Scalinis on an empty stomach – the food is delicious and the portion sizes typically Samoan (read huge). But because the food is just so good, you’ll find yourself eating everything on your plate. We started with a Mediterranean mezze plate followed by tuna sashimi and beef Carpaccio. Each plate was delicious; my only criticism was the Carpaccio could have been a little colder. For mains, lamb and grilled salmon. Joe and Amanda are good company. Heavily involved in the Chef’s Association in Samoa, they’re passionate about
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bringing good food to Samoa and have clearly made their mark on the restaurant scene since opening. Scalinis is open Monday-Friday for lunch, Monday to Saturday for dinner.
Every now and then you come across a place that you just wish you had found earlier. Driving around Apia the Home Café kept coming up on our Google Maps and eventually after three days, we decided to pull in. From the entrance, this place looks like a dump – an actual dump. In fact, the Samoan Prime Minister even went on TV saying the owner, Horace, had succeeded in building a successful business out of rubbish. Well the ‘rubbish’ is in fact a prize collection of memorabilia from a bygone era. Cassette tapes and records from the seventies and eighties, furniture from the sixties, an old barber’s chair and mismatched glassware and cutlery. Horace is as much a character as his Home Café. He almost runs the Café as an honour system. “Here, have a beer, I’ve got to duck out so grab another one if you want,” he said to us after showing us around a few of his favourite things. On Wednesday nights, visitors and locals are invited to
call in to meet the locals, take a walk down memory lane, watch a bit of TV and meet new friends.
‘bring your own steak’ and the Home Café guys will cook it for you. Your contribution is five tala for the pasta salad. Other nights Horace has great burgers and a good story. The clientele is locals and expats, volunteers and the production crew from the Survivor series. Speaking of Survivor, it and other popular shows are played on the big screen, so if you’re in Samoa and don’t want to miss Game of Thrones or the like, you don’t have to. Head down to the Home Café, where you’ll be treated like you’re, well, at home. The Home Café is on the Cross Island Road at Tanugamanono, Apia. But trust me, Google Maps will get you there. Just get there on the first day.
The extremely shy and reserved Giovanni Rossi (you’ll know this is ironic the moment you walk in to Paddles) runs the family owned restaurant with all the flair of an Oxford Street Paddington restaurateur. This gorgeous Italian-Samoan is from good foodie stock – his parents started the business and his equally beautiful sister Dora runs Milani café in Apia’s CBD. Paddles has, in our experience, the best staff in Apia and the food to match. The competition is tough, especially with the aforementioned restaurants, but our pick was Paddles for its amazing fresh seafood, delicious pastas, attentive and
friendly staff and the ever-entertaining Giovanni. We ordered Risotto Italiano – risotto with chicken breast, bacon, mushrooms, carrots, green peas, mascarpone and Parmesan topped with rocket and the house made lasagna. Both were to die for and both, enormous. Living in the Pacific, you come to expect limited fresh ingredients at times and at least 20 percent of the menu to be ‘unavailable’. Not at Paddles, everything on the extensive menu was available and everything made from fresh ingredients – mainly local but imported where necessary as well. It was a struggle to get through our meals, there was seriously enough food for four people not two but we soldiered on and ate at least half. By this stage we should have been rolling out the door (particularly with the two bottles of Tohu Pinot Noir to accompany our meal), but alas the dessert menu was too good to ignore. “We’re in Samoa – let’s eat”. So we did. Tiramisu and something else, which I now, for the life of me, can’t remember. I will say this – I know it was delicious as there was absolutely nothing left on our plates. Paddles is located on the harbourfront, walking distance from the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel. Bookings highly recommended for this local favourite.
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Tattoo traditions of Samoa n a o m a S e h Faâ€™a - t e f i l f o y a w
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uthor Robert Louis Stevenson had some tantalising choices when searching for a tropical paradise to call home. Apparently he discounted Hawaii, Tahiti and Kiribati before settling on Samoa in the late 1880’s, building a sprawling hillside home on Upolu Island. Though poor health meant that he passed away just four years later, the man known affectionately as Tusitala by Samoans quickly grew to love the country for its friendly people and agreeable climate. In the intervening years nothing much has changed – the people still throw their arms open to visitors and the tropical climate is hard to beat. Often overshadowed by her Fijian cousins and Cook Islands to the east, Samoa sashays her rhythmic hips to her own unique Polynesian beat, charming all who come under her beguiling spell. Samoa’s gentle pace of life is underpinned by Fa’a Samoa, a 3,000-year-old cultural tradition that translates to ‘the Samoan way’. Fa’a Samoa encompasses respect and honour for family, country and church. Chiefs command the highest respect and are revered. At last count there were over 360 churches providing succour for a population of around 200,000. Elaborate churches dominate villages, forming the central hub for the community with Sundays a nationwide day of rest in a laid back country that rarely gets out of first gear. While Christianity was imported into the Polynesian Triangle by missionaries in the early 1800’s, other traditions like tatau, or tattoo, date back thousands of years. Despite the missionary’s insistence that tattooing be banned, linking it to pagan beliefs and attendant debaucheries, the practice remains an integral part of Polynesian spiritual and cultural life from birth. Polynesian tattoos are generally recognisable by their beautiful geometric designs. Small triangles, checkerboards, dotted or solid lines, straight, in arches or spirals appear on the belly, back, arms and legs. Traditionally, men of the Society Islands, the Tuamotos and Hawaii have heavily tattooed torsos while in New Zealand and
Samoa faces and legs are most heavily decorated. In places like the Marquesas and Micronesia men’s entire bodies are intricately tattooed. Male tattoos are linked to ancient warriors which draw upon hypnotic motifs to reinforce the resistance of body armour. Eyelid tattoos were supposed to increase the wearers authority while certain tattooed figures had talismanic significance, bestowing on the bearer protection and power. In the Hawaiian Islands fishermen adorned their ankles with a tattooed ring of points, believing themselves protected against sharks. A motif resembling the swells of the Great Ocean tattooed on Marquesan shoulders seemingly gave canoe paddlers exceptional vigour to combat large seas during ocean passages. Polynesian women on the other hand are more commonly tattooed on the lips, hands, buttocks and the calves of their legs. Less common are breast and belly tattoos. Samoan women’s malu covers the thighs from groin to knees in delicate geometric designs. Children were tattooed throughout their childhood with the first elbow tattoos related to nourishment and the child’s presence at the family table. As girls got older one or both hands were tattooed which permitted them to prepare family meals. As they reached puberty ritualist tattooing allowed girls to participate fully in village life, and in particular, to marry. Graceful arches adorned their buttocks and upper thighs, and, later, their fingers, necks and ears as an aesthetic alternative to jewellery. In the Marquesas tattooing of women’s hands was a prerequisite to them anointing dead bodies with coconut oil. Hawaiian women had their breasts decorated with lines radiating outwards from their nipples, stomachs adorned with vertical lines and arms, wrists and fingers marked with linear designs, Traditionally, young girls frowned upon the advances of a non-tattooed suitor as they were deemed to be lacking in strength and courage. These days a Samoan man’s tattoo or
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was traced he sank in the needles dipped in indelible inks.” The Marquesas isolated location has helped preserve many of these ancient tattoo traditions. It’s not unusual today to see men and women with full or half body tattoos, including on their faces. Spirals around the eyes, which are linked to ancient warriors, are reserved for chiefs. New Zealand Maoris also sport facial tattoos known as moko. Quite a complex division of motifs signifies hierarchical status, tribal social position, family line and birthright amongst others, depending on their location on the face. Maori women’s facial tattoos on the other hand are mostly made up of inked lips adorned with chin motifs. Tattooing is just one of the ancient traditions that are treasured in the Pacific Islands. This cultural connection was certainly one of the attractions that lured Robert Louis Stevenson and his family to Samoa. Smitten by beautiful people at peace with their lot, it’s easy to understand how Tusitala fell for Polynesia’s bewitching charms. By Fiona Harper..
PICTURES: SAMOA TOURISM.
pe’a is considered a sign of personal and spiritual maturity along with his commitment to Fa’a Samoa. Master tattooists are held in highest esteem. Historically tattooists were important and highly respected members of Polynesian society. Many of these artists today still use traditional combs carved from bone, wood, shell or boar tusk. Tattooing is an arduous and painful process that can take weeks to complete. It requires much stoic stamina from both the tattooist and the recipient. An unfinished tatu brings shame upon the tattooed one’s family so there is much pressure to complete intricate art work once it’s commenced. If you visit the Samoa Cultural Village in Apia during the annual Teuila Festival you’ll be able to witness traditional tattooing in an open-side fale. Be warned though, it’s not for the faint-hearted. The participant is supported by friends and family over extended periods while the painful procedure is carried out. Mopping sweat, plying them with water and offering emotional support, supporters are also tasked with holding the skin tight for the tattooist as well as wiping away blood which should not be allowed to touch the ground. In New Zealand, tradition decreed the use of small chisels which ‘sculpted’ the flesh before the dye was introduced. From the remote Marquesas, missionary Father Garcia described the process thus: “The patient reclined on a straw pallet surrounded by several companions who held him down as if for the most painful surgery. The young tattooer, leaning over him with his pots of colours and bradawls (bits of needle sharp fish bones) at his side, designed a thousand very pretty figures, laces, embroideries, drawings of fish. Then once the overall design
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