A Little Bit of Samoa Will Always Circle My Ankle
December 6, 2012 by admin
One week from today I will fly to Auckland, New Zealand, leaving behind the beautiful Polynesian islands – Fiji, Western Samoa and American Samoa, which I have enjoyed for the past three months. But, I take with me many lovely pieces of gorgeous clothing in flower designs and one original and traditional Samoan tattoo, circling my right ankle.
I’d never thought of a tattoo before. It just wasn’t a part of my generation and I had absolutely no reason to desire one. However, body art is elevated to a very high status in the South Pacific and I have learned to respect it since I came into this culture. Samoan practices go back 3200 years and they are dignified and spiritual people. Their tattoos are actually very beautiful.
Soon after I arrived, Tisa’s Tattoo Fest was held at the property where I was staying and I watched many peope reclining on the woven grass mat while a very special tattoist used bone implements and small hammers to tap, tap, tap their special ink into the skins of legs and shoulders, making meaningful patterns to the wearer. Well, why not? I drew up a series of designs containing elements that apply to this time in my life.
I woke up last Sunday morning, not knowing that this would be the day. Then I found Wilson and his assistant all set up at Tisa’s Barefoot Bar, where I am spending my final week in American Samoa. We talked about my design ideas; about whether it hurt; about cost, and when it became clear that his scheduled appointment was not coming, I just went ahead and let him work his magic on my right ankle. He created a beautiful inked anklet depicting waves, sea birds, a small ship and a tall ship, a Samoan outrigger paddle and symbols of my traveling life.
He was correct. The pain was not so bad. In fact, a few flies which took advantage of my immobilization were much more distressing than the pricks that went on at the bottom of my leg. He said that women always managed the tattoo pain much better than men. We’re made to endure childbirth, after all.
Now, three days later, there is no pain at all and the skin is a wee bit rough as the lines heal but it’s a beautiful and proud addition to my ever-youthening body. And it’s a real ice-breaker and a Join-The-Club status symbol among the guys. So, I’d recommend to go ahead and Just Do It! But, first come to Samoa and be authentic.