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100 Days in Samoa.

posted Mar 7, 2019, 10:00 AM by Upali Salpadoru

One Hundred days in Samoa

By Andy Southall.

      Taking the contents of One hundred days, superficially one may think the primary target of this book is to discourage the tourists from visiting Samoa. Repetitive touching on loud noises, the barking and chasing dogs,  gaudy shades in buses, and lava lavas screaming all around and the official bunglings support this view. But what the subconscious mind gets on reading this is an urge to visit the island. He is criticising the place in order to have the opposite effect on the readers.

        As he starts the book he talks about a con man. A man  says “ I stamped your passports”  On a later day when he was confronted by saying, “Our passports were stamped by a woman” con man’s reply was hilarious, “ Yes. Sometimes I get dressed like a woman”    Almost in every country, the tourists meet such people and they generally cause trouble. This man for some reason only came out with an innocent lie.

         The author and his wife decided to spend a holiday in Samoa having only a few objectives. That was to  avoid the harsh N.Z. winter, for a change in their lifestyle and for Kate to render some volunteer service.. This statement proves that ,” Travel is not always rushing somewhere, you can learn as much by studying the grass under your feet” (page 15)    Again in the midst of their tour this is what they did  “ We lay on beds staring out to sea. Doing nothing. Nothing at all”. (page 188)  They were not after attractions like  ancient cathedrals and pyramids. They were only looking for  lonely beaches for sunbathing and spots for safe snorkeling.  The husband was collecting facts for his writings while the wife wanted to render some volunteer work. They definitely got all these, not free but at a cost of few talas for every photo and every entry into a beach.. The author  also derived a lot of satisfaction by discovering a lot about his literary hero R L Stephenson. His wife was able to teach mathematics in a Samoan School.

        He relates a number of interesting incidents and minor mishaps in a manner to please any reader. When they went to see a rugger match they found that the letter of the seat no had been punched out.  In their tickets. He seems to be a master at creating humour .

       “There are many pests that are forbidden…...none of them was attempting to ride my bike” (page 8)

         “The coffee tasted sublime with a protein supply of ants. Ants were safe to drink but not the water” (page 20)

         “ Smoans smile as they have the sea, sun and no trains but  the Kiwis, have their lips glued together with gloom and their laughter muscles severed with the sharp edges of their season passes”(referring to ‘season tickets’ of train travellers.)   (page 56)  

          His  witty exaggerations of what happened after climbing a hill- “ Sweating bucket loads of sweat and heart beating like a  jackhammer. (Page 92)     Somewhere else “ Inhaling like a vacuum cleaner at full power”

       An innocent punch at an elderly hostess, “ Her eyes sparkled and her face crinkled like over  baked pastry…….she laughed so loud her jaws split like the two halves of a coconut”   (page 177)

        There are vivid descriptions of some natural phenomena endemic to such islands. “As the sea rushed through underground lava tubes enormous jets of water exploded into the air.It was like watching ocean fireworks, never quite sure which blow hole would go off next”

        If there is a little bit of dead weight in the book it is the excessive narratives of Ted and Teresa.Except for this the book is very well written and can be considered as a high class travelogue.  

        It is my sincere warning that nobody is safe to tour Samoa without reading this book.