Friday, June 16, 2006


I have officially survived my experience with the traditional Samoan tattoo! Andy and I got up nice and early on this beautiful rainy morning and treked out to the locally renowned tattoo artist with an appointment for permanent body-altering. Andy got a tattoo of a Samoan boat, part of the traditional men's full body tattoo, across his shoulders. I got a band and part of the traditional women's tattoo around my right thigh. I have to say it was one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences I could have chosen to have inflicted upon myself. About five minutes in I started to wonder what the heck I was thinking knowing I had close to two hours of exactly the same in front of me. We took tons of pictures- I think there are as many of my face in agony as of my leg, thanks to Andy- check them out in the photo album labeled "My Tattoo". It was really a great experience, and SO made me appreciate what a good portion of Samoans go through as a part of their rite of passage towards their position of authority within the village (the tattoos are traditionally associated with one's being given a matai title)- the men who get the pe'a, which extends from above the waste to the knees, have to go back every day for at least a week to have it done in increments, each of which are significantly larger than what I had done today. I have to say I'm really glad to have done it but even more glad that it's in the past :) I'm headed for home to lift my leg up and try to ease some of the swelling as I lay around and recuperate for the next couple of days.