Most things in Samoa seem to come from another time; simpler, more primitive, relaxed and unique to island living. There are however those elements of island life that wholly resemble life back home. Since we’ve arrived, we’ve managed to adapt the island to our needs. On one day, that effort included lunch at a Chinese restaurant (neither of us knew how to say delivery in Samoan), a rented DVD, a box of See’s Candies (an artifact from a lengthy LAX layover) and his and hers headphones connected via a Radio Shack splitter/booster to my wife’s 15 inch Powerbook (and for the record, no, it doesn’t make me feel threatened).
Television (although the channel choice is limited and features a heavy dose of religious programming and absolutely nothing from the Food Network) is another element that seems to have traveled intact back in time. It is a bit surreal to see families living in open air fales – no walls or windows – sitting on traditional mats, all eyes focused on the tube.
Nowhere has time more completely caught up with Samoa than in Apia’s local movie theater, Magik Cinemas. Yes, the multiplex has Dolby, cupholders, popcorn and even a private parking lot (Tip: Don’t sit in the first few rows of a Samoan movie theater. The bugs are attracted to the light reflecting off the screen). But what was most unhappily surprising were the ten minutes of advertisements shown before the movie rolled.
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Midway through this modern day affront on what was (prior to the theater lights going dim) paradise, I couldn’t help but mutter Kurtz’ last lines from Heart of Darkness: “The horror, the horror.” That said, the popcorn was damn good and we made it home in time to order room service in our bungalow. For a few hours, it was like being back home, only hotter.