Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pago Pago

Our slow crossing of the Pacific Ocean continues with a stop in Pago Pago (Pronounced “Pango Pango”) in American Samoa.

The Harbour at Pago Pago
After sailing down the US west coast, we took five days to reach Hawaii, where we spent four days. We then took four days to get here in American Samoa, where we pulled in for the day early this morning. I think this is day 19 of our voyage and so we are not even half way through the cruise. Every couple of days we are reminded to set our clocks back another hour, so the “Cruise Lag” is a bit easier to adjust to compared to the Jet-lag we would have had.

Pago Pago is a small town on American Samoa. There is a lovely natural deep harbour here, surrounded by tropical, jungle covered mountains. The harbour here is a commercial one with a container terminal serving double duty as a “Cruise Port”, and an extensive fishing and freighter fleet docked across the harbour from us.

Pago Pago is not a regular cruise stop and although there are two ships in port today, it is usually only visited on these “re-positioning” cruises, and although the locals have made the most of having almost 4000 shopping-deprived tourists deposited in their little town by setting up stalls and markets along the main roads, you can see that there is no serious full-time facilities for relieving tourists of their travel dollars.

Pago Pago Buses
Pago Pago Buses
The exception is the unique Pago Pago buses. There seems to be lots of these to take tourists all over the island. With the humid air conditions and proximity to the salty Pacific Ocean, the vehicles do not fare well, and I saw trucks with rust holes in the roofs. I think that once they reach that condition, they tear everything off but the engine hood and front fenders and build completely new, high bodied buses out of the rusted trucks. Retaining only the front body they hand build bus bodies with wooden benches and wide open “Natural AC” bodies. These buses are then painted in bright colours and used to transport people all over. The drivers individualize their vehicles with carpet and bright colours inside and out. There are simple small buses that are used by the local people to get around and larger ones decorated with tropical flowers to take tourists on tours around the island.
Regis On Pago Pago

But the nicest thing about Pago Pago? Definitely the friendly people. Everywhere we went we were greeted by cheerful locals with a friendly “Hello!”.

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