Pago Pago, American Samoa

                                                                      Pago Pago

February 19, 2012

No, we have not had 8 consecutive sea days.  The ship stopped on February 16 at Papeete, Tahiti, but we were both sick and canceled our excursion, so there is nothing to write about for that port.  Fortunately for us this was a port we had visited in 2008.

We docked in Pago Pago (pronounced Pongo Pongo - the Americanized spellings of their words don’t always match the pronunciations in their language) three days after our stop in Tahiti.  At this point we were still a day behind our original schedule, and being in this port on a Sunday meant that many places, such as the golf course, were not open.  

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located to the southeast of Western Samoa.  It consists of a main island and several smaller ones.  Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa.  The island it is on is of volcanic origin, and much of it consists of tall, forested mountains.  The climate is tropical.

The excursion we chose was called ‘A Taste of Samoan Village Life’.  From the dock we walked through a craft market to get to our naturally air-conditioned buses.  These tour buses are identical to the regular buses.  The seats are wooden benches with backs, and if it starts to rain you can pull the plexiglass panels up to cover the widows.  Given the tropical climate with frequent rainstorms we did have to learn how to operate the windows.  We drove along the coast to our first stop, an opportunity to photograph the Flower Pot Islands (photo below).  We then stopped at a golf course where we were supposed to be able to find refreshment and restrooms, but everything there was closed.

We were apparently supposed to visit a church, but that never happened.  Where we went next was the main object of our tour, a recreation of a traditional Samoan village.

The first thing they demonstrated for us was how to make coconut milk.  They started with climbing the tree to get the coconut and proceeded from there.  Coconut milk is obtained by grating the coconut meat and then squeezing out the milk.  

There were also demonstrations of working with banana leaves to weave baskets, doing laundry, and cooking.  We got to sample the coconut milk by dipping breadfruit into it.  And after the cooking demonstration was completed, we got to sample the various foods they had cooked.  The traditional cooking method uses a combination of hot rocks in a pit over which the food is placed (ashes from the wood burned to heat the rocks are carefully swept away before any food is added), and then everything is covered with banana leaves and left to steam for one hour or longer, depending on the amount of food being prepared.  All of the food was delicious.

Once we finished eating, we were treated to a folkloric show, featuring dancers.

The final dance featured male members of our tour group, which was fun.  The dancing finished just in time to get us headed toward our buses before the rains came.  A lot of our trip back to the dock was in pouring rain, including when it was time to get off the bus.  Needless to say, we were pretty well soaked by the time we got back onto the ship, but we had a good time.

American Samoa is an island worth visiting again.  There is much to see, especially if you like exploring the outdoors.  They have several parks that sound very interesting.  

The sail-away was beautiful.  There are photos in the album.

                                                         The Flower Pot Islands

© Susan L. Stone 2015