half written songs

Pago Pago Travel Blog

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American Samoa taro plantation.
American Samoa.

Thus far this has been the most depressing 4 days of my trip. I'm going to be blunt and to the point. It was the worst part of Samoan culture and the worst part of American culture blended into one island.

I'm still trying to debrief and sort my thoughts on the island. There were just so many issues jammed into a four day period and none of the issues that I thought were immediate were presented to me in the classroom.

There was the packing plants, the trash in the ocean (and people swimming inches away), the faceless minority groups, the overwhelming Army commerercials on the television, the obesity level and unhealthy eating issues, the apparent drug and alcohol abuse, the SUVs and rising gas prices, and the obnoxious attitidude of my two host sisters.

I felt uncomfortable for the entire stay in American Samoa. It was because of my host sisters being incredibly demanding and overwhelming and because of my surroundings. Admittedly, the view from my house was gorgeous. I lived in a run-down-dirty closed-in-wall house high up in the mountains of American Samoa. My ride to the downtown area (in the back of the pick-up) everyday provided quite a view of the island, until you actually saw the places close up.

The pictures I have of American Samoa represent my stay in American Samoa...depressing.

I will try to write more commentary later. However, I'm still trying to figure out where I stand on a lot of these feelings I'm dealing with.

Much love, Sieni.
coles says:
I lived on Tutuila with my Dad for two years (79-80). I'm sad to hear that things haven't changed. Compared to Western Samoa it really was the worst of both worlds. I think the problem was with the American way of just throwing money at a problem which distorted the culture.
Curious about the faceless minorities you mentioned. When I was there the only minorities were us palangis and the poor Korean fishermen that were relentlessly harassed by the Samoans.
Tutuila is a beautiful island and I do have good memories of Am. Samoa and of many of the people there. It is just that Am. Samoa will come as a big shock to someone that has come from West Samoa first.
Posted on: Jul 26, 2010
kvc says:
Sorry (but not surprised) to hear that Pago Pago is a dump now.
I lived there as a young kid in the 60's when my dad worked
for the US government building the airport, schools, houses, etc... Back then it was much more like Apia sounds
from your journal now (well, except for the tuna cannery which was pretty grim even back then!).

The coolest thing for me was reading your blog and knowning all the Samoan words. I didn't even know I
knew 'em! Great experience and thanks for sharing.
Posted on: Jun 29, 2007
hudonnoodles says:
On the surface it was beautiful but there were so many underlying problems on the island in terms of its politics and its socio-economics. But then again, what country doesn't have its issues?
Posted on: Jun 26, 2007
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American Samoa taro plantation.
American Samoa taro plantation.
Pago Pago
photo by: hudonnoodles