APIA: capitol. main city. port. business district

Trip Start Nov 03, 2009
Trip End Nov 17, 2009

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Flag of Samoa  ,
Monday, November 9, 2009

After about a week on the big island of Savaii I finally left for the main island of Upolu.

Upolu is a much smaller island than Savaii, but it is the most populated and more developed of the two islands.  The "main island" of Upolu also holds the main city of Apia.  Apia is the capitol of Samoa.  Apia is the only major city of the entire country and is also the only port, harbor and business district of all of Samoa.  Like most major cities, this is where you will find all the major hotels, shops, restaurants, banks, internet cafes, embassies, nightlife, the largest flea market and even the only McDonalds.  The main hub of the business district lies along the harbor waterfront.

But unlike most major cities, it is still a small, quiet, laid-back, old-world colonial feeling (from German colonization way-back-when) where many businesses will still close down for the lunch hour.  Apia is really nothing more than many villages all put together in a semi-urban setting.  It usually shuts down by 5pm on weekdays, by 1pm on Saturdays, and almost completely shut down the entire day on Sundays.  However, some of that has all been slowly changing with the growing popularity of Samoa as a tourist destination spot and lots of growing Western influence---mostly from New Zealand, Australia and the UK.  Thus, a couple large, urban, monolithic building towers, a slightly relaxed dress code (i.e. tank tops in the city public) and some extended business hours are slowing starting to crop up in Apia.  Whereas, the "big island" of Savaii still has lots of traditional Samoan fales still prevalent all over the island, almost no traffic and pollution, and a million more churches.

It is hot as hell and the mosquitos are eating me alive!
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