Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

Aggie Grey's Hotel Facade
Facade of the hotel founded by Aggie Gray on the coast of Apia.
offshore cruise
Cruise to the lake of the capital Apia and the Aggie Grey's hotel.
Marlon Brando stayed here
A plaque distinguishes the fale in which Marlon Brando stayed at the Aggie Gray hotel
big night of spin
Party night spins at the Aggie Grays hotel in Apia.
powerful hips
Young dancer enchants the night audience with fast and exuberant hip movements.
fire dance
Young man exhibits another dance with flames by the pool at the Aggie Grey's hotel
Fia Samoan
Dancers perform Samoan choreographies during a night of dancing at the Aggie Gray hotel
Argument "South Pacific"
Aggie Gray holds the script for South Pacific, the musical that inspired the character of Bloody Mary.
Samoan Fashion
Samoan-style dress display outside the hotel.
Aggie Gray's seal
Samoan stamp that evokes the character of Aggie Grey.
Marina Gray
Marina Grey, Aggie's daughter-in-law shows off her skills in Polynesian dances during a night of dancing
She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.

Almost every day or several times a day, Upolu is irrigated by thunderstorms.

The afternoon had started perfectly but, as on other days, we were once again caught without refuge by the dynamic weather and a warm rain that left us drenched. So it was with pleasure that we returned to the temporary home from Apia, Samoa, for long showers and change of clothes.

aggie gray, samoa, south pacific

Facade of the hotel founded by Aggie Gray on the coast of Apia.

That night, we were invited to watch the spin spin (Samoan party/banquet) at the Aggie Grey's Hotel. Perhaps because of sacred Polynesian humility, those responsible for promoting Samoa had forgotten to explain to us where they were going to stay.

Little by little, thanks largely to a hardcover book we found in our room and to the internet that we only picked up from the balcony, there we learned about the historical importance of that place and the family that founded it.

Aggie Grey's Fascinating Samoan Origin

Agnes Genevieve Swann was born in 1897 in island of upolu, Samoa. She was the second daughter of William Swann, a sailor who settled on the island as a pharmacist, and of Pele, a Samoan ceremonial maiden.

Shortly thereafter, a war broke out between the chiefs of the archipelago, Agnes was sent to the safety of Fiji. When he returned, Samoa had been divided between Germany and the USA, in accordance with the Tripartite Convention of 1899, Upolu was integrated into the Germanic Empire. The misfortunes did not stop there.

In 1903, his mother died. Aggie was raised only by her father. He tolerantly adjusted to his hedonistic existence, financial problems, and Samoan stepmother. Confirmed an already announced bankruptcy, she and the sisters helped the parent in a small shop far from town. But as they grew up, isolation plagued them. Thus, they engendered a longed-for return to the city.

aggie gray, samoa, south pacific, samoan dresses

Samoan-style dress display outside the hotel.

After a few months in the graces of an influential friend, Aggie has become a desired single on the social circuit “afakasi” (mixed Samoan and Western). She ended up marrying two promising New Zealanders.

The first relationship ended with the death of her first husband. The second became extremely degraded, with five children to raise, another bankruptcy and a new retreat far from the capital Apia.

In the distance, life in the capital continued to call for Aggie. But the only profitable businesses open to women were, then, either brothels or bars. The bars and Drinking Clubs of Apia had succumbed to the prohibition with which the later New Zealand colonist sought to remedy the excessive alcohol consumption of the Samoans.

The British Club and Aggie Gray's Career in Catering and Hospitality

Finally, Aggie Gray came up with the idea that revolutionized her life: she rescued the decaying British Club in the capital and began serving drinks legitimated by “medical authorizations” that she could get in unserious numbers.

Over the years, it has turned the new Cosmopolitan Club into the favorite haunt of bored, lonely expats. Later, also hundreds of soldiers passing through the city. He made a small fortune serving American sailors' favorite drink, a Tom Collins.

James Michener and the Disclosure of His “Tales from the South Pacific”

James Michener was one of them. By that time, this naval lieutenant was developing a fruitful career as a writer, author of 40 titles, largely family sagas set in unlikely locations around the world.

Your "Tales from the South Pacific” and the partial film adaptation “South Pacific” revealed those confines of Samoa to the West. Covertly, it was the figure of Aggie Gray that inspired Michener for the cartoon character Bloody Mary.

Aggie Grey, Samoa, South Pacific, "South Pacific"

Aggie Gray holds the script for South Pacific, the musical that inspired the character of Bloody Mary.

Aggie's convivial aptitude and her experience dealing with men acted as a surefire decoy. Disillusioned lovers and angry wives gave the business the publicity it no longer needed. It turned out to be common to all of their ventures, including the Aggie Grey's hotel that had hosted us.

It's Fia Night at Aggie Grey's Hotel

The fia-fia Samoan night begins.

Fia Fia: High Rotation Polynesian Folklore

Proud of her heritage, Marina Grey, daughter-in-law of Aggie, wife of son Alan Gray (hotel manager), takes the microphone and speaks: “I'd like to introduce you to these beautiful young Samoans all of them working here at Aggie's.

Tomorrow, one of them will be your waiter for breakfast, one of them will take care of your room and others will help you at the reception or with the purchases you make in the store. Please give them a warm applause.”

Aggie Grey, Samoa, South Pacific, spins

Party night spins at the Aggie Grays hotel in Apia.

On a stage with a vegetal aspect – with so many palm leaves and other plants that decorate it – island musicians prepare the audience for their contagious spirit of fun and celebration. When the objective is assured, they are joined by a group of energetic and hyperactive dancers in typical costumes from the archipelago.

They accompany the accelerated melodies they sing with mimic choreographies from Polynesia, beating arm against arm and arms on legs in an almost acrobatic way and at the infernal rhythm that distinguishes Samoan dances from much slower Maori, Hawaiian or Tahitian dances.

Several performances later, Marina Gray is called back to the stage. Despite its classic figure, something british, joins the last dance in an elegant and harmonious way, which surprises and delights newcomers.

aggie gray, samoa, south pacific, samoan dancers, marina gray

Marina Grey, Aggie's daughter-in-law shows off her skills in Polynesian dances during a night of dancing

The Stimulus of Hamburgers Served to American GI's in World War II

Soon after, a buffet full of traditional Samoan dishes opens, which spectators line up in long but fluid lines. And yet it was to serve fast food American mother-in-law Aggie cooked the family's success.

With spread from WWII to the Pacific, US armed forces poured into Upolu from Pago Pago, the capital of neighboring American Samoa. The Seabees (Navy Construction Force) were quick to reveal to Aggie Gray their Yankee love of hamburgers.

aggie gray, samoa, south pacific

Cruise to the lake of the capital Apia and the Aggie Grey's hotel.

“The Americans had all the money in the world, they didn't know what to do with it, and they were at war. I really cared about those guys.” You declared in 1977 to a reporter for the Free Lance Star. “I bought a cow, gathered onions, salt and pepper, just like I was told to do.

In the first sale, I had to ask the GI how to stop everything from falling apart. He jumped to the other side of the counter, smoothed the meatballs and said, "See, it's easy."

Aggie estimates that he served hamburgers to more than 12.000 Seabees and GI's. With the money, he made the Cosmopolitan Club a hotel and built speak (traditional cabins) additional for accommodation.

aggie gray, Samoa, South Pacific, Marlon Brando Fale

A plaque distinguishes the fale in which Marlon Brando stayed at the Aggie Gray hotel

And soon, the Aggie Grey's Hotel Stardom Phase

Gary Cooper, William Holden, Marlon Brando, the entire cast of “in the South Pacific” and so many other showbiz personalities elevated him to stardom. At 80, Aggie still delighted guests and guests with prodigious displays of hula and his humorous and warm tirades. He died in 1988, aged 91 years.

aggie gray, samoa, south pacific, stamp of aggie gray

Samoan stamp that evokes the character of Aggie Grey.

Aggie Grey's was just part of their heritage.

From the first moment, the room that we were given seemed to be basic, with a controversial decoration, not to mention in bad taste. But we had already realized that Aggie Grey's had never had to worry too much about ephemeral Western luxuries and refinements. It was from the overcoat of his mentor's aura that he prospered.

Until recently, thousands of guests chose it – the original and the SPA version built in the meantime – as a base to discover Upolu, one of the unavoidable islands of Polynesia and the surrounding Pacific.

In December 2012, Cyclone Evans left the original hotel in disrepair, but a half year later it was reopening. For most Aggie Grey's historical fans, the worst was to come.

A few months ago, Tupaimatuna Lulai Lavea and Lupesina Frederick Gray – representatives of the group and of the holding Aggie Grey's – closed a deal with the Starwoods chain.

Some time later, the Aggie Greys's were renamed Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows

Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.

Homes Sweet Homes

Few species are more social and gregarious than humans. Man tends to emulate other homes sweet homes in the world. Some of these houses are impressive.
Apia, Western Samoa

Fia Fia - High Rotation Polynesian Folklore

From New Zealand to Easter Island and from here to Hawaii, there are many variations of Polynesian dances. Fia Fia's Samoan nights, in particular, are enlivened by one of the more fast-paced styles.
Upolu, Samoa  

The Broken Heart of Polynesia

The imagery of the paradisiacal South Pacific is unquestionable in Samoa, but its tropical beauty does not pay the bills for either the nation or the inhabitants. Anyone who visits this archipelago finds a people divided between subjecting themselves to tradition and the financial stagnation or uprooting themselves in countries with broader horizons.
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Couchsurfing (Part 1)

Mi Casa, Su Casa

In 2003, a new online community globalized an old landscape of hospitality, conviviality and interests. Today, Couchsurfing welcomes millions of travelers, but it shouldn't be taken lightly.
Travel does not cost

On the next trip, don't let your money fly

Not only the time of year and in advance with which we book flights, stays, etc. influence the cost of a trip. The payment methods we use at destinations can make a big difference.

In Search of the Lost Time

For 121 years, it was the last nation on Earth to change the day. But Samoa realized that his finances were behind him and, in late 2012, he decided to move back west on the LID - International Date Line.
Tongatapu, Tonga

The Last Polynesian Monarchy

From New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii, no other monarchy has resisted the arrival of European discoverers and modernity. For Tonga, for several decades, the challenge was to resist the monarchy.
Effortless Traveling

Book Comfortable Stays for Your Finances Too

As with flights, booking accommodation has its secrets. Find out what the strategies are to ensure a welcoming and financially rewarding stay.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

After an acclimatization break in the near-urban civilization of Manang (3519 m), we made progress again in the ascent to the zenith of Thorong La (5416 m). On that day, we reached the hamlet of Yak Kharka, at 4018 m, a good starting point for the camps at the base of the great canyon.
A Lost and Found City
Architecture & Design
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
good buddhist advice
Ceremonies and Festivities
Chiang Mai, Thailand

300 Wats of Spiritual and Cultural Energy

Thais call every Buddhist temple wat and their northern capital has them in obvious abundance. Delivered to successive events held between shrines, Chiang Mai is never quite disconnected.
Kiomizudera, Kyoto, a Millennial Japan almost lost
Kyoto, Japan

An Almost Lost Millennial Japan

Kyoto was on the US atomic bomb target list and it was more than a whim of fate that preserved it. Saved by an American Secretary of War in love with its historical and cultural richness and oriental sumptuousness, the city was replaced at the last minute by Nagasaki in the atrocious sacrifice of the second nuclear cataclysm.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
The Toy Train story
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Resident of Dali, Yunnan, China
Dali, China

The Surrealist China of Dali

Embedded in a magical lakeside setting, the ancient capital of the Bai people has remained, until some time ago, a refuge for the backpacker community of travelers. The social and economic changes of China they fomented the invasion of Chinese to discover the southwest corner of the nation.
portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Portfolio Got2globe

The Best in the World – Got2Globe Portfolio

Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
hitchhiking at the sea
Maui, Hawaii

divine hawaii

Maui is a former chief and hero of Hawaiian religious and traditional imagery. In the mythology of this archipelago, the demigod lassos the sun, raises the sky and performs a series of other feats on behalf of humans. Its namesake island, which the natives believe they created in the North Pacific, is itself prodigious.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Kukenam reward
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

Persist on top of Mte. Roraima extraterrestrial scenarios that have withstood millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never set foot on it.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Natural Parks
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
fortress wall of Novgorod and the Orthodox Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, Russia.
UNESCO World Heritage
Novgorod, Russia

Mother Russia's Viking Grandmother

For most of the past century, the USSR authorities have omitted part of the origins of the Russian people. But history leaves no room for doubt. Long before the rise and supremacy of the tsars and the soviets, the first Scandinavian settlers founded their mighty nation in Novgorod.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Bay Watch cabin, Miami beach, beach, Florida, United States,
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

Few coastlines concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the far southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessed by six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is manifestly meager for the number of souls who desire it.
Annapurna Circuit: 5th - Ngawal a BragaNepal

Towards the Nepalese Braga

We spent another morning of glorious weather discovering Ngawal. There is a short journey towards Manang, the main town on the way to the zenith of the Annapurna circuit. We stayed for Braga (Braka). The hamlet would soon prove to be one of its most unforgettable places.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Dali, China

Chinese Style Flash Mob

The time is set and the place is known. When the music starts playing, a crowd follows the choreography harmoniously until time runs out and everyone returns to their lives.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.