On a hot Samoan afternoon, Kiwi couple, Sarah and Mark Percy were sipping chilled coconuts by the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel poolside.
It turns out that coconut is one of the couple’s favourite drinks to kick in that island vibe that captivates most first timers to Samoa’s shores.
“We obviously love coconuts. The drive through coconuts at the market, wonderful, they get them out of the freezer, that’s awesome,” she told the Dear Tourist team.
While it’s Sarah’s first time to the islands, Mark found himself returning for more island time, but this time he made it his priority to bring his wife to experience Samoa.
“So I came the first time to visit some friends who we met, and that was for church business and this time I am just revisiting them to see how they’re doing and encourage them and spend time with them. And this time as a couple, last time it was with a colleague,” Mark explained.
They commended the Samoan hospitality.
“Samoan hospitality is just great, it’s wonderful. Mark stayed in this hotel the last time he was here, and this is my first time, lots of people recognise him again,” Sarah said.
“Yes and it’s really nice when you come back and you see familiar faces and they remember you, yes it’s really nice,” Mark added.
They’ve only been here four nights and they are in love with the local dishes, the weather and Samoan people.
“We tasted lots of local food, last night we had dinner with one of the local churches here, we had a big meal, with lots of local food and it’s wonderful,” Mark shared.
“The weather’s been great, we’re pleased we missed the cyclone; we flew in on Monday night, so the weather while we’ve been here has been hot and sunny, yes, and it’s been really good.
“We went to Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, it was really interesting, and the lady who ran the tour, she was just amazing, she just delivered it wonderfully, it was all from memory, and we were really impressed.”
Sarah added: “And meeting lots of people and we met some Samoan friends in New Zealand about a year ago, so we’re here visiting them and meeting their families.”
Being married 16 years, we could not resist but ask for the secret to their happy marriage.
“There are a lot of secrets. Being kind that’s a secret and just choosing each other every day,” Sarah shared.
“Love is a choice,” Mark added while glancing across the table at his wife with a smile.
It appears that Samoa is their second Pacific destination to visit together as a couple, with Vanuatu being the first when they were only 18 years old.
“It’s a bit sad about the cyclone, we’re like that’s sad, but no, Samoa’s just beautiful and lush, lots of green,” Sarah said.
“In terms of developing Samoa, that’s a hard one because there’s the tourist side and then there’s the love for Samoa. If you love Samoa, you would love to see it develop, but not developed for us, but from the tourism side, I think the people need to explore and see the opportunities available for them, that’ll be wonderful.
“There should also be more small businesses so that people have new ways to generate income for their family and their everyday life.”
Nonetheless, it is a sure thing that Samoa can expect their return.
“Maybe after six months,” they said.