Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island


Vailima Villa
The house that Robert Louis Stevenson built in Vailima with the help of many Samoans.
Memoirs
Photographs and clippings in one of Villa Vailima's rooms.
Lush coast of Upolu
View over the forested coastline of Upolu from the top of Mount Vaea.
Fireplace in the Tropics
Room at Robert Louis Stevenson's mansion in Vailima.
history lesson
Illustration shows Robert Louis Stevenson teaching his son Austin Strong history.
jogging
Samoano recovers from the climb to Mount Vaea, where Robert Louis Stevenson was buried.
Azulis Rooms
Room of Robert Louis Stevenson's mansion, in shades of the shallower sea of ​​the Pacific Ocean.
in communion
Robert Louis Stevenson's family in contact with Samoans, some who worked in Villa Vailima.
Return to Vailima
Corridor descends from the top of Mount Vaea, towards Vailima.
Under the Wide…
Text on the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Art & Possession
Detail of one of the rooms of the Villa Vailima mansion.
Next stop: Vailima
Bus arrives at Vailima village.
Coast of Upolu
View of Upolu from the elevation on which R. Louis Stevenson was buried.
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.

Samoa's general elections had ended four days ago, but the process was far from over.

As we drive along the long Mulinu'u Road that runs along the city's isthmus to the homonymous tip, we come across a committee of delegates dressed in the rigor of the nation who recount the votes and meticulously fill in the results on large slate boards.

45 seats were qualified for the 15th term of the Fono, the Legislative Assembly and the Human Rights Protection Party won 36, in an unequivocal victory that, as is often the case on those sides, soon became embroiled in controversy.

Years have passed since the arrival of the first European discoverers, Samoa has become the first territory of the Pacific to conquer its independence and, since 1962, it has been solving problems that are its own.

The Courageous Solidarity of the Newcomer Robert Louis Stevenson

But more than a century earlier, around the 1890s, the natives had both unexpected and enthusiastic support from Robert Louis Stevenson, a writer fresh from a fascinating journey across the Pacific: Hawaii, Tahiti and the Society's Archipelago, Gilbert Islands, New Zealand and Samoa.

Historic photo by R Louis Stevenson with natives, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson's family in contact with Samoans, some who worked in Villa Vailima.

Delighted by his generosity but also by the charisma of the Scotsman, they called him Tusitala or storyteller, in the Polynesian Samoan dialect.

"The Treasure Island" and "The Doctor and the Monster" ("Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde”) were some of the ones that he created and told the world and that made him world famous.

The influence it exerted on island politics and destinies quickly became defiant and provoked successive shock waves: during his stay, Stevenson found that the European officers appointed to govern the Samoans were incompetent.

After several unsuccessful attempts to solve the problems, he published “Footnote to History” a manifesto that resulted in the demobilization of two officers of the colonial powers and which the author feared would provoke their extradition.\

Vila Vailima: The Home of Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa

These fears have not been proven. Stevenson has even become friends with powerful politicians and their families, notably that of US Commissioner Henry Clay Ide. At the same time, it deepened its roots on the island.

mansion, house, village vailima, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

The house that Robert Louis Stevenson built in Vailima with the help of many Samoans.

Villa Vailima, the wooden mansion he built on the property he acquired and housed most of his retreat, withstood the reaction of the then administration unscathed. And, to the relief of the Samoans, also the great earthquake that shook the archipelago in 2009, with an intensity of 8.1 on the Richter scale.

Today, Villa Vailima is one of the most respected and appreciated places in Upolu, a symbol of its exuberant multiculturalism that we are keen to visit.

View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

View of the forested coastline of Upolu, from the top of Mount Vaea.

Margaret Silva. The Portuguese-Descendant Employee of the Vailima Museum

Upon arrival, our guide Anthony introduces us to the museum's hostess, named Margaret Silva. The color of her skin, the profile of her face and the nickname leave us intrigued, but since neither Anthony nor Margaret give us any clues, we are forced to inquire about the lady's origins. “Silva?

Your surname must be Portuguese or Spanish, no? And, don't take this the wrong way, but it doesn't look 100% Samoan.”

Anthony realizes what's going on and validates the suspicion. “Oh, sure. You are Portuguese! Margaret? You're half Portuguese too, right? Margaret confirms and adds some stunning historical information. “Yes, I'm half Portuguese.

I don't speak much of the language anymore but my grandmother learned from my grandfather and still speaks a little. What happened, in a nutshell, was that he was working on a New Zealand cruise ship that regularly stopped at Apia.

During a break, he met my grandmother in the city and no longer wanted to return to the ship.”

bus in Vailima, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Bus arrives at Vailima village.

Thus began the saga of the Silvas in Samoa, a family that Anthony assures us is one of the wealthiest and most influential in the nation, owning several businesses including a construction company, grocery stores and gas stations. But the native guide explains more to us.

The presence of the now enormous Silva clan is for him and for the Samoans completely normal, to the point that few remember their origin and genetic difference.

And, remembering the nickname of the author of this text, he adds, for a general laugh: “It's not just the Silvas. Now that I think about it, we also have a big Pereira family. There must be almost as many as the Silvas.

Two of her daughters who live near my parents' village are beautiful. I really like it.”

The Samoan Work and Death of Robert Louis Stevenson

However, Margaret reminds us that the museum closes shortly and suggests that we begin our tour of the mansion. As we do so, it describes the most important or simply curious aspects of Robert Louis Stevenson's life in Upolu.

photos and memories, vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Photographs and clippings in one of Villa Vailima's rooms.

During his stay, Stevenson wrote prolifically also about life in Samoa and other islands in the Pacific.

In 1894, he went through times of depression and inactivity to which he replied with “Weir of hermiston” with which he became enthusiastic to the point of being convinced that it was the best novel he had ever produced.

detail living room, Vailima Villa, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Detail of one of the rooms of the Villa Vailima mansion.

But on the night of December 3rd of that year, after having worked hard on the novel, he was opening a bottle of wine when he fell down with his wife.

He was pronounced dead after a few hours, allegedly due to a brain hemorrhage. I was 44 years old.

The Elevated Sepulcher of Mount Vaea

The Samoans honored the funeral wishes of the respected Tusitala. They carried him on their shoulders to the summit of nearby Mount Vaea, where they buried him overlooking the sea.

View from top of Mount Vaea, Upolu coastline, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Overview of Upolu from the elevation on which R. Louis Stevenson was buried.

His sepulcher is now the destination of a sporting pilgrimage for health that Stevenson never had.

As we climb the slope, dozens of Samoans from Apia and even expatriates from Apia pass us by. Upolu, delivered to a jogging strenuous and repetitive starting in the vicinity of Villa Vailima and ending at the top of the elevation.

down Mount Vaea, jogging, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Corridor descends from the top of Mount Vaea, towards Vailima.

While we recover from our fatigue observing the tomb and reading the writer's conformed but elegant Requiem, we also leave our sweat there, generated by the heat and humidity that invigorate the lush landscape around us.

top of Mount Vaea and tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Samoano recovers from the climb to Mount Vaea, where Robert Louis Stevenson was buried.

And gone on the island that Robert Louis Stevenson loved so much.

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.
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.
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.
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the track of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
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.
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.
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
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.
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.
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.
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
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.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
safari
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)
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.
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.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
Adventure
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Conflicted Way
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
Hiroshima, city surrendered to peace, Japan
Cities
Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima: a City Yielded to Peace

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima succumbed to the explosion of the first atomic bomb used in war. 70 years later, the city fights for the memory of the tragedy and for nuclear weapons to be eradicated by 2020.
Meal
Markets

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Saida Ksar Ouled Soltane, festival of the ksour, tataouine, tunisia
Culture
Tataouine, Tunisia

Festival of the Ksour: Sand Castles That Don't Collapse

The ksour were built as fortifications by the Berbers of North Africa. They resisted Arab invasions and centuries of erosion. Every year, the Festival of the Ksour pays them the due homage.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines
Sport
Philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Seljalandsfoss Escape
Traveling
Iceland

The Island of Fire, Ice and Waterfalls

Europe's supreme cascade rushes into Iceland. But it's not the only one. On this boreal island, with constant rain or snow and in the midst of battle between volcanoes and glaciers, endless torrents crash.
on this side of the Atlantic
Ethnic

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.”

Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, Color Maneuvers
History
Alone, South Korea

A Glimpse of Medieval Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace stands guarded by guardians in silken robes. Together they form a symbol of South Korean identity. Without waiting for it, we ended up finding ourselves in the imperial era of these Asian places.
Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Azores, from historic capital to World Heritage, urban art
Islands
Angra do Heroismo, Terceira (Azores), Azores

Heroina do Mar, from Noble People, Brave and Immortal City

Angra do Heroísmo is much more than the historic capital of the Azores, Terceira Island and, on two occasions, Portugal. 1500km from the mainland, it gained a leading role in Portuguese nationality and independence that few other cities can boast.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Literature
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.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel
Nature

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
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.
Torres del Paine, Dramatic Patagonia, Chile
Natural Parks
PN Torres del Paine, Chile

The Most Dramatic Patagonia

Nowhere is the southernmost reaches of South America so breathtaking as the Paine Mountains. There, a natural fort of granite colossi surrounded by lakes and glaciers protrudes from the pampa and submits to the whims of meteorology and light.
Bathers in the middle of the End of the World-Cenote de Cuzamá, Mérida, Mexico
UNESCO World Heritage
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Characters
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.
Princess Yasawa Cruise, Maldives
Beaches
Maldives

Cruise the Maldives, among Islands and Atolls

Brought from Fiji to sail in the Maldives, Princess Yasawa has adapted well to new seas. As a rule, a day or two of itinerary is enough for the genuineness and delight of life on board to surface.
orthodox procession
Religion
Suzdal, Russia

Centuries of Devotion to a Devoted Monk

Euthymius was a fourteenth-century Russian ascetic who gave himself body and soul to God. His faith inspired Suzdal's religiosity. The city's believers worship him as the saint he has become.
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Society
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.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
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.
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.