We arrived in Samoa yesterday (Friday) having crossed the international date line, lost one day, and gained an hour. That put us in in time to clear in through all the formalities by supper time and still manage to get out to see the 'Miss Samoa' pageant last night. Entrance formalities involved 6 people from 5 organizations and a walk downtown to the Immigration offices.
Ladybug is tied up in a marina for the first time since we left Mexico about 6 months ago. There are many boats here that we know, it being one of those cruising bottlenecks that is pleasant to visit and hard to leave. Gaku, our Japanese friends whom we met in the Marquesas are just across the dock and dropped over before we were even cleared in with a little bag of fresh vegetables, knowing how precious these would be after 4 weeks away from markets. 'Chapter 2' is also here - our good friends with whom we spent so much time in French Polynesia. They arrived with a loaf od fresh bread and tickets to the show. Truly it is the people you meet while cruising that make this experience so worthwhile!
The 'Miss Samoa' pageant featured six lovely Samoan women between 20 and 23 and was arranged similarly to other beauty and talent pageants, but with a very patriotic Samoan flavour and, of course, Samoan dance and music. The costumes were much more modest than those in the decadent west - Samoans are very religious (mainly Christian) people, which might explain this. Many of the dresses and outfits were of traditional materials - bark and feathers - and some were remarkably ornate and imaginative. The women were extremely beautiful and all were good dancers. One woman clearly had the crowd with her (friends, fans, and relatives I would guess) and they gave her tremendous support in the form of cheering and shouting whenever she came on stage.
That brings me to the differences between a Samoan audience and one back in Canada. The audience appeared to be unrestrained in ways that would be considered rude in Canada. People started leaving en masse before the show ended right in the middle of the crowning of the new Miss Samoa. Far fewer people clapped for the performers and the clapping was very brief. When one contestant banged her head while exiting the stage, due to poor light, instead of a few titters and a hush of empathy for the poor woman, the audience erupted in laughter that lasted for a full minute or more! Clearly slapstick would go over well with such an audience.
We plan to stay here for two weeks and rent a car to tour the islands.