Monday, April 28, 2014


It's been a while since I've been somewhere new. For the first time, I mean. You know the feeling. Excitement swirling around some preconceptions of the place. You've flipped through the brochure, thought the stock shots looked nice, but you've been let down by them before, right?

Samoa is definitely not a let-down. But half way between New Zealand and Hawaii, it is still something of an unknown to most travellers even those with a bit of the South Pacific under their belts.

It's absolutely the quintessential South Pacific paradise, I honestly don't think I've been anywhere prettier. But, even better, it's also a place with a bunch of fascinating, historical quirks.

Pick up the Samoan phone directory and you'll see names like Schuster, Schwenker and Wendt - a legacy of colonisation by Germany in the early 20th century. If you're a literary buff you might know about Robert Louis Stevenson passing the final years of his life here. In 2009, Samoa announced that its cars would no longer drive on the right hand side of the road (another legacy of the Germans), switching instead to the left - a move that was met by protests from bus drivers furious that their doors would now open on the wrong side, a Red Cross blood donation campaign for the inevitable surge in accidents, and a three-day ban on alcohol sales, just in case.