Ömer Altunçanak 1. 25/12/2008 Thursday: I arrived at Faleolo International Airport in the Upolu Island at 23:30. Upolu is the second biggest Island of Samoa. It was too late and it was public holiday too, so buses weren t working.
I asked a Tourist Information officer about the public transport and also a clean, cheap accommodation. He recommended me Tatiana Motel which is only ten minutes walk from the capital city of Samoa Apia. It costs 50 talas by taxi from the airport to that motel but fortunately I found a car which was going to Apia. I paid him 20 talas for that trip. By the way one tala is about 50 Australia Cents. The trip took about 40 minutes. One single room in that motel costs 49 talas including breakfast. The motel was very noisy and poor serviced. I stayed there but couldn t fall into sleep until the next morning.
2.25/12/2008 Thursday: It is again 25th December Thursday today because Samoa is one day behind other countries like Australia, Turkey etc. I got up at 07:30am and couldn t have a shower because all rooms haven t got a bathroom and the common bathroom hasn t got a door plus it is very dirty. I had a very simple breakfast and went to the Apia city centre. It was holiday today and all shops and offices closed so I decided to go to Savaii Island instead. The ferries are in another village which is about 50 minutes from Apia by car. No bus was working today so I paid 40 talas to get to the wharf. Ferry runs twice from Upolu to Savaii at 08:00am and 02:00pm. I paid 12 talas and arrived at Savaii after 1 hour and 15 minutes. I took a taxi to Lauiula Beach Fales in Lano village. It costs 50 talas for one night stay plus breakfast and dinner. That s a good deal.
3. 26/12/2008 Friday: I swam in the sea but couldn t have the sunbath very well because it rained most of the day. People are very warm and friendly here. Ants and mosquitoes are very friendly too. They loved me too much and bit me many times. There aren t any wild animals in Samoa like snakes, foxes, wolves etc.
4. 27/12/2008 Saturday: I came to Salelologa village after left from Lano by bus. Only this village has some banks, car rental agencies and the bazaar etc. I realized that I couldn t travel without a car so I rented a car. There were three car agencies but two of them didn t have any cars. Eventually I rented an old car for three days which coasted 90 talas per day. I drove to Afu Aau Waterfall firstly but it wasn t very interesting then I went to Alofaaga Blowholes after a couple of hours. It was quite spectacular and exciting that I have never seen before in my life. I took some interesting pictures. After that I went to Lovers Leap but it was nothing special too. Anyway I took some pictures there before sunset and then drove to the next village. While I was driving a young man hailed me so to stop and asked me If I could give him a lift for the next village. He looked harmless so I answered him Okay, get into the car. His name is Saulo and he is married a little baby. I stayed at his home overnight in Sasina village.
5. 28/12/2008 Sunday: After breakfast, Saulo and I went to Peapea Cave in Letul village. It wasn t very interesting. After short stay we came back to Sasina village again. I paid Saulo 50 talas and left him and his family. I continued driving to Saleaula village. I spent 5 talas for visiting Saleaula Lava Fields. I asked an officer who is name Talla for the possibilities of home stay instead of hotels. Talla told me If you want you can stay in our home. I accepted his offer. He was married but his wife is extremely lazy. Talla was doing all the house works; cooking, washing, cleaning feeding chickens etc. When we were sitting there and having a conversation Talla s one friend came to visit him. His name is Lemi and he is one of Talla s neighbors. Lemi, Talla and I went to swim with turtles for three hours then came back home. They haven t got any bed so we slept on the floor with weeds made mattress. I tried to sleep the whole night but I couldn t because the floor was very hard.
6. 29/12/2008 Monday: Before leaving I paid them 70 talas and then drove to the Lava Flow. I asked lots of people for the direction no one knew the Lava Flow. Then I have kept driving until I reached Mauga village which has a Lava Fields. It was interesting and I have took some nice pictures in the Lava Fields. I met a woman there who was running a grocery and her name was Leta. Leta had been to Australia and New Zealand for four years. She is in her 40 s, married and has two boys one girl. She speaks English very well. Her family is very religious as well as all of other Samoan people. She invited me to her home. She and her husband were very hospitality. I stayed a whole night there.
7. 30/12/2008 Tuesday: I had to return the car to the agency in Salelologa today before 1:00pm. Leta and her family wanted me to stay for more days with them. I promised them that I would come back after about 7 days. I felt uncomfortable as they refused to take any money from me. After I arrived at Salelologa and returned the car to the agency. I tried to check my e-mails but sadly couldn t do it. There was only one internet café. There with only three computers. They were very slow and expensive and Msn and Excel weren t available. Someone was waiting for to talk via MSN but I couldn t get it connected and I felt very sad for that and. I left there disappointedly. I caught a ferry from Savaii to Upolu at 2:00pm. I arrived at the wharf of Upolu at about 03:30pm. Then I took a bus to Treasure Garden Hotel. I paid 210 talas for three nights (breakfast and dinner weren t included). The price was quite fair. It was very close to the city centre.
8. 31/12/2008 Wednesday: I ate some simple things in my room for breakfast and went to city centre for travel information and laundry because I had some dirty clothes. I gave them 13.50 talas for the washing. I asked for the car rent al price car but it was much more expensive than in Savaii. The city was very crowd today. Everybody was shopping for the New Year especially. I sat on a bench in a park. There was an elderly man too whose name is Sua. We talked to each other for a while then he invited me to his home in the village of Satalo. I told him I would go on that Friday. He and I decided to meet at the same park 10am of that Friday.
9. 01/01/2009 Thursday: It is the first day today of the New Year. All shops and offices closed again. And it is very often raining. I was bored too much in the hotel room. I went out twice but there wasn t anything outside. I m thinking to rent a car tomorrow for several days.
* Samoan people love tattoo. Everybody has got different tattoos.
* There are cattle, pigs, and hens but there isn t any sheep in Samoa. I asked why but no one could answer me.
* Samoan men and women wear similar skirt even police officers.
* Traffic is going on right side of the roads.
* Wall plugs are same Australia.
* Most Samoan people especially women are pretty fat.
* Samoan people are brown.
10. 02/01/2009 Friday: I called lots of car rental agencies before left the hotel. I went to the park for that elderly man appointment but he wasn t there. I have rented a car by 480 talas for four days from Carolina Rental Cars. I went to Robert Louis Stevenson Tomb Museum and Homestead but it was closed unfortunately. I visited Papasaea Sliding Rocks firs then drove to Lake Lanotoo but the road condition was getting worse. I thought that was not safe to drive further so I turned back at the half of that journey. I continued driving to Piula Cave pool. It was 4:00pm and it was just closed. I found a fales there for 60 talas per night including dinner and breakfast. It wasn t too late and this place has very nice beach so I went to the sea and beach until evening.
11. 03/01/2009 Saturday: I left that fales after breakfast and I arrived Piula Cave pool after 4 minutes drive. I swam a little and I took some pictures and drank a glass of tea in a café nearby before went back to road. I reached Satalo village after three hours drive. The retired teacher Sua s home was there. I asked someone his home and finally I found him. When he saw me he has very embarrassed and tried why he couldn t attend our appointment. He invited me to stay at his home for this night or several days. I accepted his invitation for one night. I told him I m going to beach now; I ll come back several hours later. One of his daughters and some of his grandchildren came to beach with me. After three hours we returned home. We had a conversation awhile. He is a widow man, around 68 years old and lives with three his daughter and about ten grandchildren at his home. One of his daughters name is Mala who has three children but nobody knows who their fathers are. Their fathers might be different because sex partners are unlimited for single people in Samoa. His wife s grave is in the backyard. All graves are in the backyard in Samoa. If they sell their home I don t know what they will do with theirs graves. I went to bed at about 10:00pm.
12. 04/01/2009 Sunday: Rosters and dogs wake up people very early in Samoa even capital city. They are like early wake up service. No one can sleep after 4:30am. I usually got up early in Samoa. After a very simple breakfast I started to drive. I have visited some special beaches on the road but today sun wasn t very shinny. I didn t swim. I went to the famous Return to Paradise Beach in Lefaga village. This is the beach that was featured in the 1952 film, Return to Paradise Beach, stared by Gary Cooper. Surprising it was actually my Return to Hell. The toilets there were filthy and dirty. Fortunately this wasn t shown in that film. There wasn t running water there either. It was getting dark. I met a Samoan family in Gagaevaoifool village and asked them I could stay in their house by paying some money. They accepted my offer. The host s name is Sam; his wife s name is Anny. They have got three children. After a very simple dinner I went to bed.
13. 05/01/2009 Monday: I left there after breakfast. A rooster suddenly ran on the front of my car when I was driving. I wasn t speedy but couldn t stop and killed it unfortunately. Nobody saw that but I felt guilty and sad. I had visited all of Samoan village and I want to return to Brisbane. I called Leta, because I had promised them to return to their home. I told her If you allow me I ll go to Brisbane but if you don t allow me I ll come back to you. Would you let me to go to Brisbane? She felt sad but gave me permission to go to Brisbane. After that I went to Air Pasific Apia brunch to change date of my plane ticket. The agency was very crowded so I waited about one and half hours there. I paid 325 talas extra. I ll fly after midnight to Fiji on 01:30am. I couldn t find anything to eat except bread, and some tomatoes. I returned the car to the rent agency. They took me to the airport at about 6:00pm. Check in will start at 11:30pm. I don t know what can do here? I m writing this diary now.
14. 06-07/01/2009 Tuesday: Today is 6th Tuesday for Samoa but in Fiji and Australia 7th Wednesday The airplane departed at 01:50am and arrived at Fiji at about 03:50am. Fiji is one an hour behind of Samoa. Next flying is 20:40pm to Brisbane. Some tourism authorize agent found me a motel to share with some other passengers and the motel manager would pick us up from the airport. I slept from 5:00 to 8:00am and had breakfast in the motel. Motel name is Hodeco Sunview Motel and it coasted 60Fiji dollars per night including breakfast and transport between the airport and the motel. One Fiji dollar is about 80Australia cents. After a bath I went to Nadi city centre by bus by 30 cents then I had a walk around the main street of Nadi. Fiji people look like Indian people. I saw a big mosque on the road and went to the mosque. After pray, I returned to the motel because it was raining. I tried to sleep but couldn t. The motel manager took us to the airport two hours before check in. The airplane departed on time to Brisbane.