We continued to the southeast coast of the Upolu island and discovered another wonderful accommodation – the Return to Paradise resort. It was a picturesque spot and as a bonus we were the only guests there.
We had a beautiful white sand beach just to ourselves. The sea was turquoise and lots of colourful fish were schooling underwater. Even though the wallowing on the beach was just perfect, it took us only one day to get a bit bored. We decided to do something a little bit more active and adventurous and booked a River Walk in Faleaseela village. We got a local guide and walked through the river bed in the heart of a tropical jungle. We enjoyed rock climbing, swimming and jumping off the waterfalls – all set in the exotic atmosphere of a Pacific jungle. That day just couldn’t be better, we were totally absorbed. To make it even more adventurous Mike jumped a backflip off the 17-meter high waterfall. Locals were shocked as they hadn’t seen anyone crazy like that before. To be honest I wasn’t that much surprised J. After the walk we were served with an amazing lunch at our guide’s family house. The head of the family was also a senior Samoan chief who represented Samoan interests abroad, so we had a wonderful conversation with him. On top of that his son played some traditional Samoan songs for us on a guitar.
Since we’d tasted a little bit of Samoan culture we got interested in it and drove back to Apia to attend the traditional cultural performance at Samoan Cultural Village. Locals dressed in national costumes performed Samoan dances and songs. We also had a chance to taste a typical Samoan dish – roasted banana, fish, taro and green leaves with coconut milk. I loved the green leaves especially. It tasted little bit like a spinach. We were also shown how to make typical lava lava scarves and other decorations.
We were even allowed to be present to the sacred tattooing ritual. The tattoo is made with a bamboo stick and a needle. Samoans consider the tattooing to be a holy ceremonial. For that reason, we couldn’t take any pictures. The person getting tattooed isn’t even allowed to choose the motive him/herself. There is an interview foregoing the whole procedure. You are asked question about your life, family and personal story. The motive is then chosen based on your personal legend. The privilege of being a tattoo craft artist is inherited only by blood in the male line and no one else is allowed to make tattoos in Samoa. They also proudly say that tattoo itself was formed here. This statement might be supported by the fact that the English word “tattoo” is originated from the Polynesian word “tatau”.
Our next stop was the south coast of the Upolu Island. On our way there from Apia we admired the majestic Papapapaitai falls, that spring out of the wild green tropical jungle. We also observed the life of locals. It is so much different from our European lifestyle so perhaps it’s not even worth that to describe all the differences. What attracted us the most (among other things) were the typical Samoan dwellings – fales.
It is actually just a wicker or wooden roof sitting on pillars and a wooden floor. Locals have a rather odd habit to bury their family members in the front yard so you could see the crypts next to every house. There were also cute little wild piglets wandering freely in the streets accompanied with stray dogs and small kids running around.
The fact that the island is actually lava origin is showed nicely when you go on the famous Coastal Walk on the South Coast. You can admire dark lava fields in beautiful contrast with the bright blue ocean.
Of course we couldn’t miss the famous To Sua Ocean Trench – according to many travellers the most beautiful natural pool in the world. The dark teal water in a giant hole in the ground certainly has its charm and the crystal clear water will undoubtedly refresh you perfectly on a hot day, but as it is with all the well-known tourist spots we usually don’t enjoy them as much as the accidentally discovered treasures in the wild. We had the same impression on the Lolomanu Beach – the most famous beach of Samoa. However, we had to take the typical photo on a palm tree too. We spent 2 nights in the travellers’ favourite Faofao fales and we met new friends there – Czechs Martin, Kuba, Lucie and a Malaysian girl Sim. We’d decided to head toward our next adventure together. So let’s go the Savaii Island – the wilder, the greener and the more beautiful neighbour of the Upolu Island.