After Fiji, my next destination was Samoa, or rather Western Samoa. I arrived at something close to 1 AM, and luckily I had pre booked something for the first night. So at the airport, between all the screaming 'hey lady, hey white girl, taxi taxi taxi???', I saw a boy holding a sign with (an attempt to spell) my name. So after a 45minute drive through pitch dark terrain filled with kamikaze cows and pigs, we arrived at Virgin Coves. This was my first experience with the Samoan Fale, and I was surprised to see what I was going to spend the night in.
A Fale is basically a 'hut' on poles, with braided walls, that you can lift up all the way around. The door is a braided wall as well, so the placement of the entrance is entirely up to oneself. It might be a good idea to have the entrance opening where they put the stairs...but...yeah you learn fast. You can forget everything about security or privacy for that matter, cos the walls are somewhat see through and, well, not at all soundproof. The interior of a Fale is very basic. Normally a carpet, a bed, as in a mattress on the floor, and a mosquito net is what is provided. A lamp if you're lucky. But with all that aside, a Fale is the coziest thing I've ever spent a night in. It's like a tent with a breeze, and most often the fales are located right by the beach, so what you wake up to in the morning is the sound of waves and a stunning beach view.
The Fale at Virgin Cove was not my favorite, and there's many reasons for that. So the next day at breakfast, as I was reading my first info about Samoa in a free guide brochure I found that morning, I met a guy who said he was leaving for Savai'i, the other main island of Samoa. Great I said, I'm coming too! Thomas, the norwegian musician/physicist (?!?), and I took a cab to the ferry terminal, got on the ferry, missed the bus on Savai'i, hustled our way with another cab, all the way up north to a village called Manase. We checked in at Regina's, and spent the next 4 nights there. Superior serenity and paradise. Period.
The pictures in this post are from Virgin Cove and the ride to Regina's. Samoa is not a rich country, nor has it any fancy buildings. But the people are friendly and welcome you with open arms. Most of them at least.