There’s a magnificent Banyan tree on the Apia Harbor seawall that needs to be photographed in early-morning sunlight. By not sleeping in, I blundered into a pleasant surprise: floats with the Miss Samoa candidates forming up for the Sept. 6 Teuila Festival Parade!
Pronounced "Tuh WEE lah", it’s a week-long festival featuring canoe races, other contests, and a parade leading up to the Miss Samoa Pageant. The few tourists who got to the assembly area before the step-off had remarkable opportunities for photos --- some posed, some candid.
If you’re in Apia during Teuila Week, try also to catch some of the canoe races. Powering the six-seat canoes at race speed takes superb athletes, and the women are as impressive as the men. You’re free to mingle with the contestants and talk with them between races. Later that day, we saw a delegation from the winning village carry their trophy on a "victory lap" around Manono Island - but in a motorboat.
The driver/guide for our tour said the festival honors, among other things, the Ginger blossom - a special flower to Samoans.