American Samoa, a tattoo experience

American Samoa: Tutuila island: Pago Pago, Alega beach, Traditional Samoan Tatau (tattoo):. 03.12.2008

Tutuila island & Pago Pago:

Arrived Pago Pago, American Samoa after a super rough boatride from (hell) Apia, Samoa. Yes, we could REALLY feel the big Pacific waves on this boat trip..Of course Borre slept the entire way, but Marianne stayed awake listening to the puking from the locals almost the entire way…bad stuff..
The boatride took us 8 hours in the middle of the freaken night, meaning again, the Pacific style!(everything HAVE to depart during the night here somehow, boats, flights etc… stupid stuff!

See our pictures / album from Tutuila island & Pago Pago (American Samoa) here..

Alega Beach:

At last in American Samoa, we found a crazy bus (modified pick up truck) with killer sound system, that drove us to Alega Beach and Tisa’s barefootbar.

What a great place to crash for a week. A real pacific place made entirely by nature, a beautiful beach, 2 watch dogs (Visa & Vailima) and the best hosts you can ever find, Tisa & Candyman.

Some other creatures living in the area was Muray eels and a family of 8 black tip reef sharks. After our fish dinners Tisa would put the left overs on the shore, and it didn’t take long time before these creatures appeared, having a feast. What a sight!!

See our pictures / album from Tutuila island: Alega Beach (American Samoa) here..

Traditional Samoan Tatau (tattoo):

During our stay Borre really wanted to get a traditional Samoan tattoo witch has been his dream for years to get, the pacific way that is..And luckily Tisa’s cousin, Wilson is a Tatau (tattoo) Master and a famous artist in American Samoan. After getting to know this great artist he did a freehand Tatau (tattoo) of Samoan Shark teeth around Borre’s neck. Marianne also wanted a «souvenir», so her Tatau became 2 Shark teeth with Samoan pattern on her ankle.

The traditional Tatau (tattoo) is made by shaped & sharpened(with a special coral) Wild pig tusk fitted on a wooden stick(use to be fitted with a turtle shell, but now with a sort of plastic thaang between the wild pig tusk and wooden stick), then «carved» and banged in to the skin making the Tatau design..
The design and Samoan pattern is made by free hand while 2 helpers stretch the skin, and everything has a meaning. Some really special pattern we have never seen before, love this style!!

Next tattoo project:
Borre wanted to continue his right arm tattoo with getting a freehand tattoo of the famous Samoan «Turtle & Shark» tale with Samoan pattern. Regarding a Old blind lady & her grand daughter that jumped in to the sea after being turned out of their village. When their family learned what they’d done, they went to the shore and called them. A turtle & a shark appeared and the family knew that they were ok.
This tattoo is made by a tattoo machine (they used to make a machine with a cassette recorder, but luckily now he’s got a real tattoo machine). After 6 hours the project was finish with the most perfect result..What a great day!!

Getting to know this great Samoan artist, Wilson, we got invited to visit him at his home/studio, so we did and what a great day we had. After all the special stories, and getting to know about his artwork, he and his crew made us the best lunch ever from the nights catch; grilled lobster, fish, steak and vegetables from his garden, and with a bunch of beers, we really had a great day at his place.

See our pictures / album from Traditional Samoan Tatau (tattoo) & Pago Pago Tatau museum  here..

Umu feast:

At Alega and Tisa’s place, they make the traditional Umu feast every Wednesday.
Umu is a way to cook their traditional Samoan food on hot rocks and cover it all with banana leafs for 3 hours. Candyman, the boss of this feast, really worked a long time before all got finished and ready for serving all the guests.
Starting the day before at their plantation, getting all the vegetables and banana leafs. And on the feast day he spent a long time preparing the food while heating all the rocks before the cooking started. He really made this feast perfect!!

See our pictures / album from the tasteful Umu feast here..

All in all, during our stay at Tisa’s Barefoot Bar, we had a lot of rain, got some great tattoos, had the best food ever(made by Tisa), learned a lot of history and really felt like a member of the family.

Thank you very much Tisa, Candyman & Wilson for making our stay so good, and we’ll definitely see you all again sometime, and yesss we’ll send you a flag of Norway.

See our video from American Samoa here..

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