Apology from Apia
a) the quantity and quality of alcoholic beverages
b) the paucity of internet connections
and c) the pressure of local hospitality
all mitigate against a successful blog post.
I would, however, like to say two things:
1. The obsession of the far left in New Zealand with far-off revolutions (Cuba, China, even, today, Venezuela) is, perhaps, misplaced: here, on our 'doorstep' (oh! colonial arrogance!) we have an example of the retention of communal land ownership, of subsistence agriculture matched with the collectivisation wages drawn from the tourist industry and the relatively few industrial projects available (eg, the Vailima brewery...)
Why are we afraid to celebrate actually existing socialism, in Samoa? Is it because the intricate spires of Samoan villages confute our bourgeois notions of secularism?
2. The Samoan tourist trail, such as it is, is in urgent need of revision. Today I visited the monument for Tamusese Tapua, raised on the outskirts of Lepua village, which remembers the way the man fell to a New Zealand machine gun on Black Saturday, 1929. Where can I see the hibiscus hedge, the beautiful hibiscus hedge, which the man refused to destroy, in 1926 - the hedge which launched the Mau movement? Why can I not visit the man's house in Vaimoso? What about the village where he spent his exile, in Sava'i? I ask the taxi drivers, but they want to take me to Robert Louis Stevenson's house, or to a soap factory, or to Vailima house...
Tourists have a lot to answer for. I've spent an evening grumbling with a member of the Tainui nation, who resents the commercialisation of Raglan. We both feel like glamorous exiles in Apia.
Skyler is at my side: it's time for an inglorious retreat from the bar...