Our hurry was to get to the Samoa Cultural Village in time for the next native dance and cooking demonstrations, and we made it with just minutes to spare. Food was cooked in the traditional Polynesian manner of burying the meats and vegetables in a heated pit.
Included in the village are demonstrations of siapo making. Siapo is the Samoan version of tapa cloth, the strands for which are derived from the inner bark of various trees. It’s a very laborious and time consuming process, and a skill that is slowly dying.
The village show includes traditional dances and a formal greeting from the village royalty:
Make sure you take time to stop and smell the roses . . . or otherwise enjoy the native flora at the village:
After our lunch of native cuisine we boarded a taxi for journey to the home of a fellow author, but first we made two stops. The first was for refreshing coconut water straight from a fresh coconut, and this was to be had at the local market just beyond the Apia Clock Tower.
Our taxi driver then took us to a place he knew where we could watch locals feed the sea turtles, which eagerly awaited their feeding:
After that it was off to the village of Vailima, site of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Villa Vailima, which is now the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. I knew what the “vai” in “Vailima” meant; it’s Polynesian for “water”. I learned that tidbit way back in 1994 from Mark Vaikai, whom when we met was an air traffic controller working at the Rarotonga International Airport in the Cook Islands.
Now for the other part of “Vailima”. In Polynesian “lima” means both “five” and “hand”. In this instance however it’s “hand”, so “vailima” literally translates to “water in the hand”.
And Mark’s last name, Vaikai? Mark jokingly told me that his name is all you need for life. It’s Polynesian for “Water and Food”, and now you know the genesis for the name of the fictitious setting I used in my mystery novel Decisions — the Fijian island resort of Vaikai.
Here is today’s photo gallery of Villa Vailima including some very colorful tourist buses that sat in the parking area: