Visitors Guide L
The Samoan language is simple for Samoans and complex for visitors – the strange looking words with apostrophes on the map can look threatening to visitors. Put up with it, being able to pronounce ‘Fiji’ is not a valid reason for choosing that as a holiday destination over Samoa. There are only 14 letters in the Samoan alphabet (with three borrowed consonants) and one of those letters is an apostrophe. It’s called a ‘glottal stop’. The ‘glottis’ sits in the back of the throat and to make it ‘stop’ you close it momentarily. We use it on words like ‘apple’ – without the ‘stop’ we would say ‘happle’ so it is not a huge thing to get used to. Throughout this site you will find a few local words – a couple you should have to make your visit more enjoyable – ‘talofa’ (hello) and fa’afetai (thank you).
Cleanmaid Launderette opens Monday to Saturday from 7:00am to 7:00pm on Matautu St between Betty Moors and the harbour. Take your own laundry soap. Beware of dogs that might roam in a pack at nights. Launderette Chan Tung is on Fugalei St near the vegetable market (closed Sunday)
The lava fields on Savai’i are intriguing and impressive. It happened 100 years ago when Mt Matavanu erupted. You can’t miss it going north as the highway crosses it for 8km. At Saleaula a guide can take you to the remains of the village destroyed by the lava flow. A large stone Methodist church, nearly engulfed by the lava, stands on the northeast side of the road. East of the church, near a mango tree, is the Virgin’s Grave. Look for a rectangular depression, about two metres down in the lava. Mauga village is 3.5km southwest of Virgin’s Grave and is built on the rim of an extinct volcanic crater. You can get permission to view the crater at the village (not on Sunday).
Lavalava is Samoan for sarong and is a handy article of clothing – it’s cool (in both senses of the word) – handy for lying on the beach, wrapping around to give instant modesty and is a ‘good look’. You can buy lavalava in resorts and at the markets – expect to pay $30 to $40 (Samoan).
Le Lagoto is a resort in northern Savai’i (Fagamalo). In Samoan ‘lagoto’ means ‘sunset’ and they put on some good ones here. It’s a good place to drop into for lunch and a beer and it is a nice resort for accommodation, particularly for couples. It’s a lovely spot for a tropical wedding – naturally more expensive that the beach fales in nearby Manase but also a lot more upmarket. Dive Savaii, the island’s only dive operator has its base across the road from the resort and dive sites Coral Gardens and wreck Juno are off the reef in front of the resort.
The Nelson Memorial Public Library is opposite the Clock Tower on Beach Road.
They have the Pacific Room if you are interested in learning more about Polynesian culture and history. You need permission from the librarian to go into this room and the library opens Mon to Thurs 9:00am to 4:30pm, Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm and Saturday 8:30am to midday.
You can buy beer from grocery stores and supermarkets pretty much like soft drink (not on Sundays, unless the store owner thinks he/she can get away with it).
- lali: a large wooden drum
- lavalava traditional skirt.sarong
- le: the
- leai: no
- lelei: good
- lotu religion