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The first Polynesians arrived in Western Samoa around 1000 B.C. Three millennia later, the islands formed one of the last bastions of traditional Polynesian culture. Apia, the capital of Western or Independent Samoa, is a city of 40,000 on the island of Upolu. Its picturesque waterfront is lined with public buildings, shops and trading companies. The town now comprises of modern 3-5 story buildings all along the waterfront. Government has built some very modern buildings to house most of the government offices. The village settings can only be seen in the outskirts of town within a radius of 15 miles.
Western Samoa has long lured Westerners to its islands. The most famous expatriate of all was Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived at Vailima, and was buried near the summit of Mt. Vaea.
Dress in light, comfortable clothing when visiting Apia. The dress code is quite casual. Shorts are appropriate for men. Dress for women is more conservative. The local women wear long skirts, dresses, lava lavas or muumuus.