Friday, November 30, 2007

We Are The Champions (my friends)

Yes, despite birthdays, baby showers, friends leaving island (to have babies), off-island guests (we really appreciate your visit! Mel from World Society for the Protection of Animals/WSPA), Thanksgiving, and my computer needing a full reinstall of operating software yesterday, and general laziness, I am a winner.

Of NaNoWriMo 2007! Which means in 30 days (with 6 1/2 hours to spare) I wrote slightly over 50,000 words of a novel. Now there was absolutely no, I repeat, NO, editing of this piece of work, what so ever, and I have absolutely no intention of reading said work for at least a month as I need some "me time." So it remains to be seen if it is fit to be seen. But since last year, completly free and (happily) living off unemployment, I was only able to write half of the prerequisite 50,000 words; and prior to that experience the longest thing I'd ever written was one of many tedious 10-20 page papers for school, even if it stinks to high heaven I am pleased with myself. Woohoo!

I will now proceed to catch up on a variety of neglected business such as: bills, blogging, painting my nails, sending Xmas cards, and, "oh yeah, that little old thing"-doing some wedding planning. Tonight, though, it's Miller time (by Miller I mean Talisker).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tisa's Tatau Fest 2007

A couple of weekends ago, Tisa & Candy Man had their annual Tatau Festival. For two days Tisa's becomes a place to show off tattoos and tattoo artists display their skills. We went on Saturday for the traditional tatau display.

Tattoos in Samoa have a very long history. They are still done with traditional methods if you choose. The big tattoos are reserved for the men (pea'a) and extend from the low back to the knees and the women have less elaborate thigh tattoos of cross hatches (malu). In this picture the men's tattoos are on the left and the women's on the right. Photo from:

This is an excerpt explaining the tattoos:

"In Samoa, a Samoan Tattoo is pronounced "Tatau" (Tahtau) and what it is in layman's terms is a tattoo that has been etched on to a human body in the traditional and ancient practice for as long as anyone can remember.

All the various patterns and motifs have great significance and these can be interpreted in detail by the Tafuga (tattooist) to the recipient. Family lineage can be identified from this beautiful and skillful art.

The tattoo starts from the lower back, reaches as high as the ribcage underneath of the armpits.

A samoan tattoo (or Tatau) covers the entire buttocks and sides of the torso and travels directly over the groin area. It patterns itself completely over both thighs until it reaches to the back of the knees and over the front of the knees.

The Tatau when seen in public is always in the same format design with the added motifs by the respective artists or "Tafuga" (Tah-foo-gha) that apply it on their subjects.

The Tatau (Samoan Tattoo) will cover approximately 65 % of the body when completed, in one colour and in one overall design.

In Samoa to have a Tatau (or Samoan Tattoo) is like a statement to family, friends and to the village and more importantly to the culture itself, it is worn with pride, honor and respect.

Even to the world outside of Samoa when viewed by onlookers they recognize that these individuals are proud ambassadors of their homeland and culture.

In the old days only the High chiefs and chiefs who were orators were allowed to have a Samoan Tattoo, or Tatau, along with their sons. These sons were the only males who were allowed to serve and witness meetings amongst the chiefs acting as guards and minders. No-one else was permitted near the chiefs while these men with the Tatau were present."-Tattoo Samoan

I watched the traditional tatau artists with their traditional tools-ato au. They were very skilled. Here's some good pictures on Tisa's site.

After nearly 35 years on the planet I have decided to get a tattoo. I was never really anti or pro tattoo before. I just wasn't inspired to have something on my body for the rest of my life. Maybe it's a midlife phenomenon but I can really see myself loving my Samoan tattoo for the rest of my life. As my friend Melanie calls it, I might be going "Tropo"- a mental state (some may say illness) brought on by living on a tropical island. I thought I was going to have a traditional tattoo, but after nine months of studying them on patients, I've decided that they blur and fade too much. Instead, I will have a traditional style tattoo but not in the traditional manner.

There were a few modern tattoo artists at the Festival and they were amazingly good. I found my prospective tattoo artist (seen here on the left winning his prize) and once I get some dough-I'm getting my tat! Photo from Samoa News.

Here are some links to more photos from the Samoan Newspaper

Day One-Traditional Tattoos

Day Two-Modern Tattoos-Samoan Designs

Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.

If you get the above references, your ok by me!
Monday was my 35th birthday. It was quite a big one for me. Being in the baby business, I knew that it would be best to have my own baby business, if not finished, at least well on it's way by this time. But things don't always work out that way, and never one to put the cart before the horse; I'm still determined to get married without a double chin and giant stomach.

Instead of pouting, I decided to make the most of turning 35. This has been the longest birthday ever, starting with my great trip to Apia last month courtesy Markus.

Friday we got together with a group of November birthday friends at Tisa's for a fabulous dinner. It was a perfect night, the food was fabulous and the company merry (especially as they were all kid free for the night).

Saturday I planned a beach side playday. We set up day use for some fales at Amalau, between Vatia and Afono. The place is set up for day use with clean open areas, toilets, showers, a cooking fale, and even electricity. It was great.

The beach was clean and pristine. Apparently, this is one of the few beaches on the island where turtles lay eggs.

The day was gorgeous and sunny on that side of the island.

We brought our kayaks which were fun for the big waves that were pummeling the shore when we showed up.

We couldn't really snorkel but we jumped in the waves a while-it's actually fairly rare that we get big waves like that.

The guys had a dive. Look at Paul's amazing underwater video camera housing.

And we had food and beer.

It was a great day. Kiki wondered if we had brought her back any fish in the hold.

Monday, my real birthday, was spent starting NaNoWriMo (albeit a weebit tardily as I had been so busy partying), eating junk food and getting to rent DVDs not on the top of Markus' wishlist.

Now that it's over I'm sad that I can't drag out my birthday any longer.
But 36 is just around the corner!