Upolu, Samoa  

The Broken Heart of Polynesia


Vaiala beach
Truly Pacific ocean bathes the north coast of Upolu.
Crossing of Tropical Faith
Tropical-religious corner of Upolu, the mother island of Western Samoa
afternoon exercise
Volleyball game on a community lawn in northern Savai'i.
luxuriant Samoa
North coast of Upolu seen from the top of a verdant slope, crowned by huge ferns.
Deserved rest
Driver stands in front of one of the buses serving Apia, the capital of Western Samoa
a divine bus
Bus passengers from Apia, the capital of Western Samoa
vegetable walk
Anthony McCarthy walks through a mangrove forest on the north coast of Upolu.
shelter for 2
Student brothers protect the skin whiter than normal for Samoans from the tropical sun that bakes the capital Apia
Caravan of faith
Christian believers walk along a road in Savai'i, after mass in one of Upolu's churches
meadow with life
Huge taros in the foreground of a green Upolu meadow.
night scale
Cruise anchored in the port of Apia, the urban heart of Western Samoa
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.

When he recognizes us as we exit arrivals, Anthony releases a talofa (hello) effusive which is followed by a few diplomatic words and a snail's pace trip to the centre: “Our limit is 40km/h.

The Samoa police are not forgiving! And they especially like the exit from the airport.”

It took us forever to arrive but, after hopping around for a few months on various islands in the Pacific, we're set for the dragged notion of time of these stops and we no longer despair, as at first.

Apia: the route to the Samoan archipelago

In visual terms, the capital is unlikely to be praised by the most demanding visitors.

Organized around a wide bay partially protected by coral reefs – which is also its port – Apia contrasts with the rest of the main island Upolu, where traffic, noise and the relative urban confusion do not arrive.

Upolu, Western Samoa

Cruise anchored in the port of Apia, the urban heart of Samoa

Nearly a quarter of Samoa's population (44.000 inhabitants) share the long coastal avenue, and the streets that stretch into the city's interior.

Once installed, we left the hotel in discovery mode. We went through them paying attention to the unavoidable peculiarities of the Pacific islands.

We passed the bus terminal. We see it full of old, garish buses that display the names of the mini-companies that drive them.

Or messages of encouragement, faith and hope like “Life Goes On"and "Glory to god”. They are, above all, students, the passengers of those automobile relics.

Bus passengers from Apia, Western Samoa

Bus passengers from Apia, the capital of Samoa

Protect themselves from the scorching sun in the shade of the structures at the stops and indulge in lively conversations that only the purchase of shaved ice and one or another trope interrupts.

The day-to-day life of the city takes place between an atypical combination of Polynesian and colonial buildings and architectural aberrations of modernity, with an emphasis on the seven-story “Soviet-Samoan” building in which the government was installed, overshadowing the city. speak which houses the tourism authorities.

The twin towers of the Catholic cathedral beckon us to the opposite side of the street. For decades on end, the church decorated the waterfront in white and blue, and statues of Our Lady and various saints blessed Apia.

Upolu Circum-Road Travel

In the days following arrival, Anthony shows us the wild and bucolic slopes of Upolu, a distinctly volcanic island that the rainy tropical climate is responsible for keeping lush.

Ferns and lush footpath, Upolu, Western Samoa

North coast of Upolu seen from the top of a verdant slope, crowned by huge ferns.

We approach the coast on the opposite coast to the capital.

We cross several distinctly Polynesian towns, organized around their speak communal spaces in which men carry out the ceremony of ava (in other South Pacific countries, coffee), a drink made from an intoxicating root.

Local women's committees meet to decide the best management for their villages or produce the i.e. toga, huge rugs made from dry leaves and siaps, fabrics made from bark with motifs of the island's fauna and flora.

Still the 2009 Tsunami Legacy

Already by the sea, we are surprised by the widespread destruction that devastated some other villages. Half reticent, Anthony explains to us the tragedy that caused it. “all these villages here have not yet recovered from tsunami 2009. 190 people died. Most of the survivors moved inland.

Or to other countries. They are still so traumatized that they refuse to come back here.”

Despite the protection of a barrier reef that makes the water even more turquoise, the beach and village of Lalomanu were also devastated. Even so, more recently, a native preferred to take risks and not waste his tourist potential. built speak and small bungalows that accommodate foreigners surrendered to the beauty and exoticism of the place.

We continue to explore the south coast. We do this with strategic stops to stock up on food and drinks at small roadside grocery stores.

We quickly realized that they are almost always part of households. As a rule, we need to shout for the owners, or the children to show up or deign to wake up from their nap.

Mother and daughter in store, Upolu, Western Samoa

Mother and daughter in a roadside shop on the north coast of Upolu

Edwin and the Emigration Condemnation

On one of these occasions, we awakened Edwin, a pale-eyed forty-year-old native, paunchy and sleepy that, on the pretext of explaining his many traditional tattoos, more than serving customers, he sums up the story of his life, spent trying to earn the money Upolu could never give him.

“I've worked on board and on land. I changed countries 5 or 6 times. I can't say I won't go out again but I was really fed up. For now I need some time at home”.

There are few opportunities to prosper in Samoa. Like so many other Polynesian islands, the archipelago has no valuable raw materials.

The families that remain are those that inherited properties and are able to survive and make a profit from the land. Those with members working for the government.

Taros in meadow, Upolu, Western Samoa, Polynesia

Huge taros in the foreground of a green Upolu meadow.

Or in one or another tourism business, which has finally started to develop and already represents 25% of the country's GDP but is far from solving the life of all Samoans.

In the worst cases of poverty, men, in particular, are forced to emigrate to their neighbors. New Zealand, to the Australia or the Hawaii or California, her favorite destinations.

Many of the families they leave behind join them later, at a stage when they have already begun to assimilate the predominant cultures kiwi, aussie and North American.

In the most exemplary cases, immigrant Samoans contribute to the success of these nations.

Samoan Blood of New Zealand

While staying in Upolu, we realize how proud they are that we know that Tana Umaga – one of the best players and captains of the rugby team All Black – have Samoan blood.

But the conversation would quickly change its shape if we mentioned the Auckland gangs to which the newly arrived youngsters from the archipelago or the outlaw children of emigrants end up being part of.

In which they adhere to a culture of conflict and violence exacerbated by rivalry with the Anglophone clans and the indigenous Maori who, despite being at home, suffer their own discrimination.

Lava islets, Upolu, Western Samoa, Polynesia

Patches of lava bequeathed to the sea on the northern volcanic coast of Upolu.

Tattoos and the Volcanic Lands: Resist Traditional Samoa

Tatoo is a word of Polynesian origin that had its first written reference in Samoan armadillo and was introduced to Europe by explorer James Cook and his crew.

In Samoa, age-old tattoo patterns are beginning to lose cultural significance in the nation. In a simplified way, they serve to promote the new urban and marginal identity of Samoans and Maori.

Meanwhile, land tenure law has changed little in Samoa. Rigid customs affect foreign investment and deprive the archipelago of the financial benefits enjoyed by competing parts of the Pacific. TongaFiji and French Polynesia.

In Samoa, the sale of family property is prohibited. Lands can remain in the same families for centuries.

As we have seen, when they coincide with points of tourist interest – be it beaches, waterfalls, lagoons, etc. – families have guard members ready to charge visitors for entry. This alleviates their financial needs.

Cabins at Praia-Vaiala, Upolu, Western Samoa

Tourist-occupied cabins on Vaiala Beach, north of Upolu

In one of these forays into private volcanic lands, the elders who protect the entrance to the trail force Anthony to sit down in front of them.

They let him down because we hadn't sat down and made the greetings required by island protocol.

The host only gets away with worse consequences because he makes clear that we are outsiders and are not aware of Samoan habits.

He then tries to justify the delay to us. “Like so many others, their families are out of town. The only thing they can cling to are the socializing, the customs and the money they take from these entrances.

It may seem forced to you but I don't blame them. It is the entire history of a people that is at issue here.”

With this further adventure, we confirm that, in Samoa, tradition struggles with the old custom of escaping tradition.

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.
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.
Navala, Fiji

Fiji's Tribal Urbanism

Fiji has adapted to the invasion of travelers with westernized hotels and resorts. But in the highlands of Viti Levu, Navala keeps its huts carefully aligned.
Viti levu, Fiji

Cannibalism and Hair, Fiji Islands' Old Pastimes

For 2500 years, anthropophagy has been part of everyday life in Fiji. In more recent centuries, the practice has been adorned by a fascinating hair cult. Luckily, only vestiges of the latest fashion remain.
Viti levu, Fiji

The Unlikely Sharing of Viti Levu Island

In the heart of the South Pacific, a large community of Indian descendants recruited by former British settlers and the Melanesian indigenous population have long divided the chief island of Fiji.
Viti levu, Fiji

Islands on the edge of Islands

A substantial part of Fiji preserves the agricultural expansions of the British colonial era. In the north and off the large island of Viti Levu, we also came across plantations that have only been named for a long time.
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.
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.
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.
Samoa  

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.
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.
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.
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.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Safari
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.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Architecture & Design
Cemeteries

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Adventure
Volcanoes

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Cities
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

The Legacy of an Historic Shuttle

The founding of Colónia do Sacramento by the Portuguese generated recurrent conflicts with their spanish rivals. Until 1828, this fortified square, now sedative, changed sides again and again.
Meal
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.
Horseback riding in shades of gold
Culture
El Calafate, Argentina

The New Gauchos of Patagonia

Around El Calafate, instead of the usual shepherds on horseback, we come across gauchos equestrian breeders and others who exhibit, to the delight of visitors, the traditional life of the golden pampas.
Sport
Competitions

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.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Traveling
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Jingkieng Wahsurah, Nongblai Village Roots Bridge, Meghalaya, India
Ethnic
Meghalaya, India

The Bridges of the Peoples that Create Roots

The unpredictability of rivers in the wettest region on Earth never deterred the Khasi and the Jaintia. Faced with the abundance of trees elastic fig tree in their valleys, these ethnic groups got used to molding their branches and strains. From their time-lost tradition, they have bequeathed hundreds of dazzling root bridges to future generations.
portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Portfolio Got2globe

The Best in the World – Got2Globe Portfolio

Puerto Rico, San Juan, walled city, panoramic
History
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Highly Walled Puerto Rico of San Juan Bautista

San Juan is the second oldest colonial city in the Americas, after the Dominican neighbor of Santo Domingo. A pioneering emporium and stop over on the route that took gold and silver from the New World to Spain, it was attacked again and again. Its incredible fortifications still protect one of the most lively and prodigious capitals in the Caribbean.
Dunes of Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
Islands
bazaruto, Mozambique

The Inverted Mirage of Mozambique

Just 30km off the East African coast, an unlikely but imposing erg rises out of the translucent sea. Bazaruto it houses landscapes and people who have lived apart for a long time. Whoever lands on this lush, sandy island soon finds himself in a storm of awe.
Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon
Winter White
Iceland

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
shadow vs light
Literature
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.
Mirador de La Peña, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain
Nature
El Hierro, Canary Islands

The Volcanic Rim of the Canaries and the Old World

Until Columbus arrived in the Americas, El Hierro was seen as the threshold of the known world and, for a time, the Meridian that delimited it. Half a millennium later, the last western island of the Canaries is teeming with exuberant volcanism.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
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.
Argentinean flag on the Perito Moreno-Argentina lake-glacier
Natural Parks
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

The Resisting Glacier

Warming is supposedly global, but not everywhere. In Patagonia, some rivers of ice resist. From time to time, the advance of the Perito Moreno causes landslides that bring Argentina to a halt.
UNESCO World Heritage
Nikko, Japan

Nikko, Toshogu: the Shrine and Mausoleum of the Tokugawa Shogun

A unavoidable historical and architectural treasure of Japan, Nikko's Toshogu Shrine honors the most important Japanese shogun, mentor of the Japanese nation: Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Characters
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Beaches
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Religion
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
Vegetables, Little India, Sari Singapore, Singapore
Society
Little India, Singapore

The Sari Singapore of Little India

There are thousands of inhabitants instead of the 1.3 billion of the mother country, but Little India, a neighborhood in tiny Singapore, does not lack soul. No soul, no smell of Bollywood curry and music.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, streymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

Saksun is one of several stunning small villages in the Faroe Islands that more and more outsiders visit. It is distinguished by the aversion to tourists of its main rural owner, author of repeated antipathies and attacks against the invaders of his land.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica, public boat
Wildlife
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.