Was Samoa part of World War II


... where the South Seas were once German

Text and photos: Albrecht G. Schaefer

The early morning shines with hibiscus and frangipani blossoms; it smells of rain-soaked earth and charcoal fire. Children in freshly ironed uniforms stroll to school. These are the first impressions after arriving in Samoa; a six and a half hour flight here from Honolulu is behind us. The customs officers at Faleolo Airport on Upolu had overslept stamped their passports. The sun had risen when the suitcases and rucksacks finally emerged from under the mountain of boxes and bundles of the returning Polynesians.

The wobbly bus that goes to Apia, the capital of the island kingdom, takes almost an hour to cover just 35 kilometers, thanks to the decrepit travel vehicle and the maximum speed of 50 km / h that must be adhered to. But we are given an hour to open our senses and souls and tune in to the leisurely rhythm of the South Seas.


Fantastic beach near Aleipata

An island dream, not only in the film

"Aggie Grays" also exudes a flair of charm, smile and restrained gestures in Apia. The legendary hotel, named after its no less illustrious founder, is proud of its visitor list, which includes royal names as well as Gary Cooper, William Holden and Marlon Brando. In 1988 Aggie died at the age of 91. Son Frederick continues her life's work: to run a house that does not convey the perfection of a holiday club, but rather kindness to every guest. Long gone are the days when Aggie and her sisters personally took care of the physical and mental well-being of the US soldiers stationed in Samoa during the Second World War. The enemy of the soldiers was not the Japanese, who fortunately stayed away, but boredom. Today there is a good mood among business people, diplomats and tourists who stay in one of the 156 rooms, two suites and 26 traditional bungalows in the midst of lush tropical plants. You can feel it especially on Wednesday evenings, when the fia fia, the big buffet with Samoan dances, rises and Apia's wealthy elite mixes with the hotel guests. Samoa's "national dish" should not be missing from the delicacies such as pork, poultry, fish and juicy vegetables cooked in the earth oven: canned corned beef with an extra high fat content - as everywhere in Polynesia, obesity is a desirable body characteristic.


Hibiscus flower after tropical rain

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