In Search of the Lost Time

Time travel
A typical bus passes in front of the old catholic cathedral of Apia.
ladies in white
Two women walk, sheltered from the sun, in a village in the interior of Savai'i.
jungle diving
Papapapaitai, one of the most luxurious waterfalls in Upolu.
Rugby on the hay
Natives clash in a rugby tournament played in a small village in Savai'i.
Missiles of Alofaaga
Owner of a portion of coastline projects coconuts from one of Samoa's many blow-holes.
end of mass
Believers leave a Catholic church in the village of Safotu, in Savai'i
Road motto
Life continues in Apia, from the beginning of 2012, on the opposite side of the International Data Line.
Samoan style
Authority of Apia, combines conventional police uniform with traditional Samoan attire.
vegetable waves
Peculiar trees in a flat area of ​​Upolu.
friends in uniform
Students in their school uniforms wait for a bus to arrive.
Return to Paradise Beach
An idyllic cove in Upolu, where Gary Cooper played opposite and was filmed one of the series of the program "Survivor Pacific".
Uniformed education
Two students show their Samoan notebooks.
M/0 - Samoa Licensed
License plate for a typical Samoan bus.
on the way to a new day
Night falls over the bay off the capital of Western Samoa, Apia.
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.

There are few clocks, electronic scoreboards and monitors for departures and arrivals, but the simple fact that we were crossing the small Faleolo airport in Apia, proved to us that we had just crossed the International Data Line – LID to the east.

And flown back in time.

We were now in a mysterious tropical yesterday. After booking the tickets and making various contacts with the island's authorities, it was the program of activities in Samoa that required the last chronological adjustments, as they would later claim every phone call and contact with the rest of the world.

Anthony – our host – spot us among Auckland newcomers, New Zealand.  greet us with a talofa expressive, similar to those we had also found in Tonga.

She wears traditional garments composed of a lava-lava type of long skirt, suitable for the often bulky Samoans, combined with a shirt with a flowered design.

Samoa's Always Special Hour

“Have you set the clocks yet? Don't forget that it's not just time. Delay us a day or else they'll always walk ahead of us and it only causes confusion.” assure us with good disposition.

“Don't laugh! Believe what I say: for me, this is almost mechanical now but when I started working in tourism I made several trips to Auckland and Sydney and I got fed up with having problems because of this damn imaginary line.”

The Samoan Islands – including, at the time, American Samoa, today a distinct territory belonging to the USA – kept to the west of the LID until 1892. In that year, American merchants convinced King Malietoa Laupepa to adopt the “American day”.

They aimed for the archipelago to be just three hours behind California, which was beneficial for commercial transactions at the time.

Bus in Apia, Western Samoa, South Pacific

Life continues in Apia, from the beginning of 2012, on the opposite side of LID – International Date Line

The change was implemented through the repetition of the 4th of July 1892, the day of the independence of the United States .

Although the islands were administered by Great Britain, USA e New Zealand and since Western Samoa became, in 1962, the first Pacific nation to declare independence, the territory remained 119 years east of the line.

The Old Problem of Temporal Incompatibility

It only takes a few tens of kilometers around Upolu to understand why a problem that had already proved obvious to the big “western” neighbors Australia e New Zealand, only much later did it provoke the intervention of the Samoan authorities.

We crossed small coastal villages organized around their fales (Polynesian shelter structures in an oval or round shape).

Every time the guide takes us to a place and leaves us on our own, Anthony gives us a reference time for the reunion but makes a point of adding that it is about “Samoan Time” which is to say that we are at ease and can show up much later.

We also interpreted this warning as something like: “if you Portuguese and other Latinos think you are relaxed, get used to the idea that we Samoans are ten times more”.

Samoa's Tropical Time, Almost Still,

You feel the usual heat of these tropical parts of the South Pacific. The humidity suffocates.

These are other valid reasons – in addition to geographic isolation and Polynesian resistance to change – for most natives to rest under the shade of trees, inside their simple houses or small domestic businesses.

ladies in whiteThe impression we are left with is that time has stopped in these parts.

If science prevents any such conclusion, we know that, at a certain point, its “delayed” passing almost only favored Samoa in terms of tourist promotion.

"The last country on the face of the Earth to see the sun set" was a concept well explored by those responsible for international marketing campaigns in Samoa, who took the opportunity to attract young newlyweds and those with purchasing power above all from Samoa. Australia and New Zealand but also from Europe, the United States and even the Japan.

With the change, instead of disappearing, the solar trump will be reversed to “the first country of the world watching the sun rise”.

In addition, the tourist activity gains two extra days of contact. As well as the operability with the kiwi and Aussie counterparts, countries with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of Samoan origin.

Samoa was 23 hours behind the New Zealand. It is now 1 hour ahead. The change brought more than expected commercial advantages.

vegetable waves

Day after Day, an Inevitable Controversy

As always in these cases, it is impossible to please Greeks and Trojans. Some resort owners complain that the appeal of the ultimate sunset was far more romantic than an early sunrise, albeit the first on the planet.

His dissatisfaction did not deter Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi, who frequently complained about the current situation: “…when it's Friday, here, it's Saturday in New Zealand and when we are at church on Sunday, they are already doing business on Sydney and Brisbane. In every week that passes, there are two days of work lost”.

Rico Tupai, one of the most influential businessmen in the country, completed the reasoning in another statement to the press: “on Friday we send emails to Australia e New Zealand with questions and we never have answers because it's already the weekend there. When the answers arrive, we are away from the computers, living with the families…”

In practice, the decision implied an option to approach the sphere of these two countries and Asia, with whom Samoa began to have priority relations.

To the detriment of the North American sphere, including the “sister” American Samoa which, although situated just a few kilometers to the east, was 25 hours behind Samoa, while Los Angeles, almost 8000 km away, is now 22 hours behind Apia, the capital.

Finally, one day ahead

So, at local midnight on December 29 (Friday) Samoa went straight to 31. It did so with the company of the small neighboring nation Tokelau who took advantage of the ride.

Due to its historic content, the move was made official by a small ceremony presided over by the prime minister, followed by morning tea or coffee offered to everyone who had witnessed it.

Still, it was celebrated only by a few inhabitants. Under a sky lit by the burst of fireworks, adherent villagers circled and honked around the roundabout of the old white and yellow clock tower in the center of Apia (the capital),

The tower was erected in memory of those who fought and died in World War I, in the place where there was a stage where sailors already on land made serenades to welcome their compatriots who arrived on ships.

Bus near the clock tower, Apia, Western Samoa

Bus goes around the roundabout that surrounds Apia's clock tower

With the end of the war, one of Samoa's pioneering businessmen, Olaf Frederick Nelson, endowed it with a watch and bells. He offered them in memory of his only son Ta'isi, victim of an influenza epidemic brought to the islands by the New Zealand ship SS Talune in 1918.

The Touristic-Timeline Frenzy Around the International Date Line

94 years later, in times of peace and health, without anyone noticing, the hands of this watch were forced to make two complete turns forward.

Then, several well-heeled tourists took the opportunity to travel to Samoa. There they experienced the crossing from one side to the other of the LID and, later, they lived one of the first year passes on the face of the Earth.

Then they traveled to American Samoa and crossed the LID again in order to reach December 31 and celebrate again, in the last territory in the world to reach 2012.

Those who already had reservations made at hotels and resorts in Upolu and Savai'i – Samoa's two main islands – did not have to pay their December 30 stay. Officially that day did not exist.

As for us, the next morning we returned to Auckland. We're back across the International Date Line.

In the afternoon, we cross it back to the day before, on our way to the United States.

And a few months later, west and tomorrow. With the China as a destination. 

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.
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.
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.
Around the World - Part 1

Traveling Brings Wisdom. Find out how to travel around the world.

The Earth turns on itself every day. In this series of articles, you will find indispensable clarifications and advice for those who make a point of going around it at least once in their life.
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.
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

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.
Bora-Bora, Raiatea, Huahine, French Polynesia

An Intriguing Trio of Societies

In the idyllic heart of the vast Pacific Ocean, the Society Archipelago, part of French Polynesia, beautifies the planet as an almost perfect creation of Nature. We explored it for a long time from Tahiti. The last few days we dedicate them to Bora Bora, Huahine and Raiatea.
Moorea, French Polynesia

The Polynesian Sister Any Island Would Like to Have

A mere 17km from Tahiti, Moorea does not have a single city and is home to a tenth of its inhabitants. Tahitians have long watched the sun go down and transform the island next door into a misty silhouette, only to return to its exuberant colors and shapes hours later. For those who visit these remote parts of the Pacific, getting to know Moorea is a double privilege.
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.
North Island, New Zealand

Journey along the Path of Maority

New Zealand is one of the countries where the descendants of settlers and natives most respect each other. As we explored its northern island, we became aware of the interethnic maturation of this very old nation. Commonwealth as Maori and Polynesia.
bay of islands, New Zealand

New Zealand's Civilization Core

Waitangi is the key place for independence and the long-standing coexistence of native Maori and British settlers. In the surrounding Bay of Islands, the idyllic marine beauty of the New Zealand antipodes is celebrated, but also the complex and fascinating kiwi nation.
Savai’i, Samoa

The Great Samoa

Upolu is home to the capital and much of the tourist attention. On the other side of the Apolima strait, the also volcanic Savai'i is the largest and highest island in the archipelago of Samoa and the sixth in the immense Polynesia. Samoans praise her authenticity so much that they consider her the soul of the nation.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
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.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Architecture & Design
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.
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.
Burning prayers, Ohitaki Festival, fushimi temple, kyoto, japan
Ceremonies and Festivities
Kyoto, Japan

A Combustible Faith

During the Shinto celebration of Ohitaki, prayers inscribed on tablets by the Japanese faithful are gathered at the Fushimi temple. There, while being consumed by huge bonfires, her belief is renewed.
Rostov Veliky Kremlin, Russia
Rostov Veliky, Russia

Under the Domes of the Russian Soul

It is one of the oldest and most important medieval cities, founded during the still pagan origins of the nation of the tsars. At the end of the XNUMXth century, incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow, it became an imposing center of orthodox religiosity. Today, only the splendor of kremlin Muscovite trumps the citadel of tranquil and picturesque Rostov Veliky.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Tabato, Guinea Bissau, Balafons
Tabato, Guinea Bissau

Tabatô: to the Rhythm of Balafom

During our visit to the tabanca, at a glance, the djidius (poet musicians)  mandingas are organized. Two of the village's prodigious balaphonists take the lead, flanked by children who imitate them. Megaphone singers at the ready, sing, dance and play guitar. There is a chora player and several djambes and drums. Its exhibition generates successive shivers.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Jean Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, New Caledonia, Greater Calhau, South Pacific
Grande Terre, New Caledonia

South Pacific Great Boulder

James Cook thus named distant New Caledonia because it reminded him of his father's Scotland, whereas the French settlers were less romantic. Endowed with one of the largest nickel reserves in the world, they named Le Caillou the mother island of the archipelago. Not even its mining prevents it from being one of the most dazzling patches of Earth in Oceania.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

on this side of the Atlantic

Island of Goreia, Senegal

A Slave Island of Slavery

Were several millions or just thousands of slaves passing through Goreia on their way to the Americas? Whatever the truth, this small Senegalese island will never be freed from the yoke of its symbolism.”

The Little-Big Senglea II
Senglea, Malta

An Overcrowded Malta

At the turn of the 8.000th century, Senglea housed 0.2 inhabitants in 2 km3.000, a European record, today, it has “only” XNUMX neighborhood Christians. It is the smallest, most overcrowded and genuine of the Maltese cities.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Winter White
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Horseshoe Bend
Navajo nation, USA

The Navajo Nation Lands

From Kayenta to Page, passing through Marble Canyon, we explore the southern Colorado Plateau. Dramatic and desert, the scenery of this indigenous domain, cut out in Arizona, reveals itself to be splendid.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Everglades National Park, Florida, United States, flight over the Everglades canals
Natural Parks
Everglades National Park, Florida, USA

Florida's Great Weedy River

Anyone who flies over the south of the 27th state is amazed by the green, smooth and soggy vastness that contrasts with the surrounding oceanic tones. This unique U.S. marsh-prairie ecosystem is home to a prolific fauna dominated by 200 of Florida's 1.25 million alligators.
Fort Galle, Sri Lanka, Ceylon Legendary Taprobana
UNESCO World Heritage
Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle Fort: A Portuguese and then Dutch (His) story

Camões immortalized Ceylon as an indelible landmark of the Discoveries, where Galle was one of the first fortresses that the Portuguese controlled and yielded. Five centuries passed and Ceylon gave way to Sri Lanka. Galle resists and continues to seduce explorers from the four corners of the Earth.
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.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Passage, Tanna, Vanuatu to the West, Meet the Natives
Tanna, Vanuatu

From where Vanuatu Conquered the Western World

The TV show “Meet the Native” took Tanna's tribal representatives to visit Britain and the USA Visiting their island, we realized why nothing excited them more than returning home.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
Tabatô, Guinea Bissau, tabanca Mandingo musicians. Baidi
Tabato, Guinea Bissau

The Tabanca of Mandinga Poets Musicians

In 1870, a community of traveling Mandingo musicians settled next to the current city of Bafatá. From the Tabatô they founded, their culture and, in particular, their prodigious balaphonists, dazzle the world.
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge, Bahia
Gandoca-Manzanillo (Wildlife Refuge), Costa Rica

The Caribbean Hideaway of Gandoca-Manzanillo

At the bottom of its southeastern coast, on the outskirts of Panama, the “Tica” nation protects a patch of jungle, swamps and the Caribbean Sea. As well as a providential wildlife refuge, Gandoca-Manzanillo is a stunning tropical Eden.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.