Post 20 — The Village of Fagatogo

Downtown Fagatogo just before a parade broke out. There were LOTS of parades.

Downtown Fagatogo just before a parade broke out. There were LOTS of parades.

All over town there is hibiscus planted, and all sorts of green leaves and different colored-leaf plants. Everything has been planted and carefully cultivated and the jungle or vegetation is mostly palm trees, taro, banana plants and some vines & underbrush. We are eight miles out-of-town. All along the way are fales with the lavalavas all hung out. Some of the places look pretty junky but most of them are well-kept. It surprised me to see them along the paved road. I guess I thought they would be tucked away out of sight, but they were there before the road was and they didn’t bother to move.

Here and there along the ocean we would see a little walk built out and a little house at the end. They are the community johns. They open right into the ocean and the tide takes out all the waste and brings back nice clean water.


The village of Fagatogo was a jumble of old and new buildings that seemed to have every necessary service. There were three or four garages masquerading as stores, as well as a post office, jail, bank, tourist office, boat dock and movie theater. None of the businesses had signs, so it was fairly common for newcomers to head for the post office to drop off mail and accidentally wind up in the jail where the prisoners would lean through the bars and try to bum cigarettes off of them. Many of the structures were wooden and looked a bit shabby because the humidity and rain made most construction materials peel, rot or rust. Houses and fales were mixed in with the commercial establishments, and a large open grassy area called the malai functioned as the community’s front lawn. Parades and celebrations often took place there, as well as an occasional soccer game.

Boat Day: waiting for the tourists.

Boat Day: waiting for the tourists.

Across the street was a parking lot that served as a pick-up/drop-off area for buses. It also became an open-air market that was hastily assembled whenever a cruise ship pulled into the harbor. Boat Day transformed an already busy shopping area into a circus, with Samoan artists setting out mats with handicrafts and local produce to be hawked to the tourists. Bargaining was not only expected but encouraged, and the whole atmosphere was very festive.

The Samoans bring in cucumbers, coconuts, papayas, woven mats, shell necklaces, etc. to sell. The market is one madhouse with all these huge barefooted people selling things and the insane bus drivers wheeling around. The place sure jumps.


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