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 turf in northern Upolu.
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 down a street in Upolu after Mass in one of Upolu's churches
meadow with life
Huge taros in the foreground of a green Upolu meadow.
faith in the tropics
Tropical-religious corner of Upolu, the mother island of Western Samoa
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 that is followed by some diplomatic words and a snail-step trip to the center: “Our limit is 40km/h. Samoan police do not forgive! And they especially like leaving the airport here.”

It took us an eternity to arrive, but after hopping for a few months over several islands in the Pacific, we are mentalized to the dragging notion of time of these stops and we no longer despair, as in the beginning.

Apia: the route to the Samoan archipelago

In visual terms, the capital will hardly 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 remaining head island Upolu where traffic, noise and relative urban confusion do not reach.

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 pass the bus terminal. We see it full of gaudy old buses that divulge the names of the mini-companies that drive them. Or messages of encouragement, faith and hope such as “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 approached the coast on the opposite coast from the capital. We crossed several distinctly Polynesian villages, 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 ie 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 of 2009. 190 people died. Most of the survivors moved inland. Or to other countries. They are still so traumatized that they refuse to return 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 restock food and drinks at the small, well-kept roadside grocery stores. We soon found 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 the 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”.

Opportunities to thrive in Samoa are few. Like so many other Polynesian islands, the archipelago lacks valuable raw materials. The families that remain are the ones that inherited properties and manage to subsist and make a profit from the land. Those that have 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, Samoan immigrants 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. But in Samoa, the ancient patterns of tattoos are beginning to lose cultural significance in the nation. In a simplified way, they serve to promote the new urban and marginal identity of the Samoans and the 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. Fiji and French Polynesia.

In Samoa, the sale of family properties is prohibited. Lands can remain in the same families for centuries on end. As we have seen, when they coincide with points of tourist interest – be they beaches, waterfalls, ponds, etc. – families keep guard members ready to charge visitors for entry. So they alleviate 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 land, the elders guarding the entrance to the trail force Anthony to sit in front of him and decompose him because we hadn't also sat down and given 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.

Then he tries to justify our delay. “Like so many others, their families are out. The only thing they can hold on to are the conviviality, customs and the money they get from these entrances. It may seem forced to you, but I don't blame them. It's the whole story of a people that is in question 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 and 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.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Safari
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
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.
Luderitz, Namibia
Architecture & Design
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Adventure
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Newar celebration, Bhaktapur, Nepal
Ceremonies and Festivities
Bhaktapur, Nepal,

The Nepalese Masks of Life

The Newar Indigenous People of the Kathmandu Valley attach great importance to the Hindu and Buddhist religiosity that unites them with each other and with the Earth. Accordingly, he blesses their rites of passage with newar dances of men masked as deities. Even if repeated long ago from birth to reincarnation, these ancestral dances do not elude modernity and begin to see an end.
good buddhist advice
Cities
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.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi
Meal
Singapore

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Cuada village, Flores Island, Azores, rainbow quarter
Culture
Aldeia da Cuada, Flores Island, Azores

The Azorean Eden Betrayed by the Other Side of the Sea

Cuada was founded, it is estimated that in 1676, next to the west threshold of Flores. In the XNUMXth century, its residents joined the great Azorean stampede to the Americas. They left behind a village as stunning as the island and the Azores.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Traveling
Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ocean Out, along the Great Australian South

One of the favorite escapes of the Australian state of Victoria, via B100 unveils a sublime coastline that the ocean has shaped. We only needed a few kilometers to understand why it was named The Great Ocean Road.
Martian Scenery of the White Desert, Egypt
Ethnic
White Desert, Egypt

The Egyptian Shortcut to Mars

At a time when conquering the solar system's neighbor has become an obsession, an eastern section of the Sahara Desert is home to a vast related landscape. Instead of the estimated 150 to 300 days to reach Mars, we took off from Cairo and, in just over three hours, we took our first steps into the Oasis of Bahariya. All around, almost everything makes us feel about the longed-for Red Planet.
portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Portfolio Got2globe

The Best in the World – Got2Globe Portfolio

Key West Wall, Florida Keys, United States
History
Key West, USA

The Tropical Wild West of the USA

We've come to the end of the Overseas Highway and the ultimate stronghold of propagandism Florida Keys. The continental United States here they surrender to a dazzling turquoise emerald marine vastness. And to a southern reverie fueled by a kind of Caribbean spell.
Roça Bombaim, Roça Monte Café, São Tomé island, flag
Islands
Center São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

From Roça to Roça, Towards the Tropical Heart of São Tomé

On the way between Trindade and Santa Clara, we come across the terrifying colonial past of Batepá. Passing through the Bombaim and Monte Café roças, the island's history seems to have been diluted in time and in the chlorophyll atmosphere of the Santomean jungle.
Correspondence verification
Winter White
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Literature
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
Pitões das Junias, Montalegre, Portugal
Nature
Montalegre, Portugal

Through Alto do Barroso, Top of Trás-os-Montes

we moved from Terras de Bouro for those of Barroso. Based in Montalegre, we wander around the discovery of Paredes do Rio, Tourém, Pitões das Júnias and its monastery, stunning villages on the border of Portugal. If it is true that Barroso has had more inhabitants, visitors should not miss it.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
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.
Cliffs above the Valley of Desolation, near Graaf Reinet, South Africa
Natural Parks
Graaf-Reinet, South Africa

A Boer Spear in South Africa

In early colonial times, Dutch explorers and settlers were terrified of the Karoo, a region of great heat, great cold, great floods and severe droughts. Until the Dutch East India Company founded Graaf-Reinet there. Since then, the fourth oldest city in the rainbow nation it thrived at a fascinating crossroads in its history.
Women at Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, India.
UNESCO World Heritage
Jaisalmer, India

The Life Withstanding in the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer fortress was erected from 1156 onwards by order of Rawal Jaisal, ruler of a powerful clan from the now Indian reaches of the Thar Desert. More than eight centuries later, despite continued pressure from tourism, they share the vast and intricate interior of the last of India's inhabited forts, almost four thousand descendants of the original inhabitants.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Characters
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
View of Casa Iguana, Corn islands, pure caribbean, nicaragua
Beaches
Corn Islands - Islas del Maíz , Nicaragua

pure caribbean

Perfect tropical settings and genuine local life are the only luxuries available in the so-called Corn Islands or Corn Islands, an archipelago lost in the Central American confines of the Caribbean Sea.
Vairocana Buddha, Todai ji Temple, Nara, Japan
Religion
Nara, Japan

The Colossal Cradle of the Japanese Buddhism

Nara has long since ceased to be the capital and its Todai-ji temple has been demoted. But the Great Hall remains the largest ancient wooden building in the world. And it houses the greatest bronze Vairocana Buddha.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
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.
Society
Military

Defenders of Their Homelands

Even in times of peace, we detect military personnel everywhere. On duty, in cities, they fulfill routine missions that require rigor and patience.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Cape cross seal colony, cape cross seals, Namibia
Wildlife
Cape Cross, Namíbia

The Most Turbulent of the African Colonies

Diogo Cão landed in this cape of Africa in 1486, installed a pattern and turned around. The immediate coastline to the north and south was German, South African, and finally Namibian. Indifferent to successive transfers of nationality, one of the largest seal colonies in the world has maintained its hold there and animates it with deafening marine barks and endless tantrums.
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.
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