Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pago Pago

Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa.  With a population of just under 4,000 people, it is the largest village on the island.  The hospital is right on the outskirts of the city.

Here is the view of the city from the ridge above the harbor. (taken 1/4/15).  The port encompasses a deep bay, which was of strategic importance to the US Navy during WWII.

As you drive into the city, the first thing you notice is how clear and blue the water is.

In the afternoons, you will see families playing in the water.  (Of note, you will see multiple EPA signs around the harbor signifying the mercury content of the waters around various shorelines.  It is not recommended to eat any fish that are caught in the harbor due to toxins and heavy metals.  I decided to avoid swimming in the water, as well).

There are multiple public Fales (Fah-lays), the traditional meeting place of the Samoan people.  They also used to be the homes, as well. 

At the far left of the photo below, is the building which houses the Fautasi, the traditional Samoan longboat.  There is a major race every year around the islands, and the team spends months training for the event.

Below is a [blurry] photo I shot of the Pago Pago harbor entrance.

There are many boats and ships coming in and out of the port.

Another view of the port.

Next to the Government, the largest employer on the island is Starkist tuna, which operates a major factory on the outskirts of the town.  The smell is absolutely horrendous, but the company is a major economic player in AS.

Charlie the Tuna.

Back in 2009, there was a Tsunami in American Samoa that killed many people.  There are signs all over the island warning you that standing next to the water is unsafe during a Tsunami.  FEMA was sent to the island for cleanup and you can still find people using the FEMA tents as functional buildings in the villages.

This is self-explanatory.  Nothing beats cold ice cream on a hot day (and for $1.00!).  To the right of the sign, you see an example of the water stations that are at most mini marts.  For 50 cents, you can fill a gallon jug with cold water.

The government guarantees that at one time (on the sticker) the water is free from bacteria and parasites, however the quality of the water is dependent on the business operating the machine.

Taken on January 4, 2015.  Here is a tree full of bats (the flying fox).  They have up to a three foot wingspan and look like pterodactyls.  At night, you can see them swooping in and out from the trees.

Some of the many colorful buses in Pago Pago.

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