Kiwi couples, Wallace and Louise Wilson, and Tarei and Hannah King came to Samoa for different reasons when their paths crossed.
Tarei and Hannah are here for their honeymoon, while Wallace and Louise chose Samoa to come and relax.
They stay at the Seabreeze Hotel on the south side of Upolu.
“It is definitely different than other islands with the people here are a bit more reserved. It is very hard to get to know them and create conversation. And it is hard because we don’t want to step the line, when they are unwilling to talk we don’t push them as a respect sign,” Louise said.
“We have done other islands, where it’s been very easy to chat to people. We like and try to talk a lot to the locals to learn about their way of life and politics and we haven’t been able to do this here. It is hard learning about anything family or background.”
Tarei added: “I think we are pretty naturally chatting as kiwis. It’s maybe about the language; there are a few fluent English speakers at the resorts. It is pretty relaxing, which is good. It’s really nice.”
The early stages of tourism development are still remarkable for both of the couple.
“It is missing some pretty basic things for example the biggest thing is road signs. Coming across the road to here from the other side of the island there was no sign for Apia in this direction. Just little things like that if you want tourists to see the real Samoa,” Louise said.
“The trench is probably the best looked after tourist attraction so far, clean and spotless, it was beautiful and run as a tourist attraction, when they obviously bringing money back in to it. We have seen a couple of waterfalls and the Piula Cave Pool.”
“It’s not only the road sign but as well attraction sign, when we had to back so many times until we found the spots. I think it is a really cheap and effective way negotiating tourists to find the right place and encouraging them to get out in a rental car instead of just lying in a resort. It’s sharing the money around.”
“I think Samoa has to think about how much they rely on tourist dollars. There are lots of things that need to be improved to embrace the tourism here.”
Tarei mentioned the possibility of losing culture when over commericalising Samoa.
The couples will do a bit more exploring before they depart Samoa.