February 10, 2017
First, I promised to show the purchases we made in Bora Bora.
The necklace is made of Tahitian pearls and the carved pieces of the oyster shell. You can pull the necklace to make it shorter or longer, and the hanging pieces can be worn in front or hanging on the back. Very beautiful and unique. The photo does not do it justice!
The other piece is a painting on a palm tree husk. Again, quite hard to see in the picture but intricate and very beautiful. We have it hanging on our wall.
We had a Polynesian buffet dinner last night, and there was a whole suckling pig. The food on this ship is as good or better than anywhere we have ever eaten.
Today we are in Pago Pago, American Samoa. It is pronounced Pango Pango and is located 2600 miles southwest of Hawaii. It has one of the most remote national parks in the United States. Yes, it is a US territory, next to another group of islands- Samoa. Samoa means “sacred earth”. They have been populated for 3000 years but known to the western world for only 2 centuries.
The time zones are interesting. Here in American Samoa, we are one hour earlier than Hawaii ( 6 hours earlier than PA) and in nearby Samoa, it is one full day earlier!. We don’t have a February 11 on the ship, as we will be crossing the international dateline and we go right from today, February 10, to February 12. Very confusing to say the least. Our son Mark said he would let us know what we miss on Feb 11!. Always the sense of humor….
It is definitely rainy season here, showers all day and the ground is saturated. The landscape is lush and beautiful.
The museum is a converted US Navy commisary and showcases Samoan culture, including the canoes and traditional artifacts. During the Apollo moon missions, most of the astronauts traveled through the islands after splashdown and the museum features three small moon rocks.
Say ouch, men. These “instruments” are used for circumcision.
Of all the Polynesian people, Samoans have continuously maintained the practice and art of tattooing. Males are tattooed from waist to knees and sometimes on the hands and wrists but never on the face. The female tattoo is termed malu and starts at the thighs and extends down to below the knees. All tattoos are executed by male artists. Women are not allowed to practice the art. The operation usually takes place when the youth are about 16. This is a big deal and parents debate for a long time before deciding to subject their sons to the tattooing ceremonies which can take days. Look at the instruments they use!
We also had a coffee at McDonalds which many tour guides refer to as “the American Embassy”, totally confusing non-Americans. We didn’t actually want the coffee but were in search of fast Wi-Fi, but alas, it was slower than on the ship. Many crew members were there for the same reason and left disappointed!
We purchased a piece of Samoan Tapa cloth, made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree (u’a) and decorated with native dyes. No two tapa paintings are exactly alike. They were originally used to divide living spaces and for ground covering during special ceremonies.
So as I mentioned,we skip February 11, Saturday, and have a sea day on the 12th. Then we go to two places in Figi for Monday, the 13th (happy birthday, Deb) and Tuesday the 14th. We have excursions booked for both days.