December 29, 2011 |
If you're visiting Samoa, be prepared to skip Friday and get an early start on New Year's Eve celebrations. The country that sits in the South Pacific near the International Date Line will change its time zone midnight Thursday to be in sync with Australia and New Zealand. The nation of two main islands, Upolu and Savai'i, and several smaller ones will move west of the imaginary date line time-wise. Before the change, Tonga and Fiji, its nearest neighbors, were a day ahead of Samoa.
December 18, 2011 |
Phileas Fogg went around the world in 80 days. I did it in 23. And I bet I visited more amazing sites than he - India's Taj Mahal, Easter Island, Tibet, Cambodia's Angkor Wat, the African plains, to name a few - all without having to endure the tramp steamers, bone-jarring trains and elephants that Fogg used in 1872. I traveled by private jet. The price of a seat, and all that went with it, was $64,950. The trip was sold by National Geographic Expeditions, which each year offers at least one and sometimes four around-the-world tours by private jet, a leased Boeing 757-200 that is configured with only 77 super-large and dreamily comfortable seats.
September 12, 2010 |
Even in darkness, on the way from the airport, Samoa didn't look like anywhere else I'd been in Polynesia — not like Rarotonga or Fiji, not like Tahiti or Easter Island. Open pavilions dotted the roadsides almost as frequently as the small houses. Some were more brightly lighted: Designed as ovals and sometimes squares, their thatched roofs supported by pillars, they glowed like cages in the hot tropical night. In some small ones, families were watching TV, as if the pavilions were open-air living rooms.
September 12, 2010 |
THE BEST WAY TO SAMOA From LAX, Air New Zealand offers connecting service (change of planes) to Apia, Samoa. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $868. TELEPHONES To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (international dialing code), 68 (the country code) and the local number. GETTING AROUND Independent Samoa's public bus system relies on old school buses. They'll get you anywhere for a couple of tala, but schedules are flexible. Catch them at the open-air depot by the harbor in Apia or flag them down on the roads.
October 25, 2009
1 Samoa Islands A devastating tsunami on Sept. 30 that killed more than 150 people on the islands also hit the National Park of American Samoa, damaging its headquarters and visitor center and washing away some artifacts, officials said. The park, known for its tropical forests, archaeological treasures and coral reefs, was closed to visitors. -- associated press 2 Mexico Biologists and park workers at this country's monarch butterfly reserve raced to cut down up to 9,000 fir trees infected with the bark beetle before the butterflies arrive later this month for the winter.
October 18, 2009 |
Scientists surveying American Samoa's coral reefs say the Sept. 29 tsunami obliterated some corals and damaged others to the point that they might not recover. Researchers say more assessments will be needed to get a full sense of how the disaster affected coral in the U.S. territory. But in at least one area, the damage was so severe and the affected area already in such bad shape before the tsunamis, that the coral may never return. A team led by Douglas Fenner, a coral reef monitoring ecologist with American Samoa's Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, has surveyed about 20 sites around the territory.