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American Samoa Travel Guide

Tutuila Hotels

Whether you love or hate Tutuila may well depend on the type of accommodations you get. Several good medium-priced places to stay do exist, but you should still expect to spend more than you would for similar accommodations elsewhere in the South Pacific.

Knowing this in advance, it won't come as quite as much of a shock, and many other things such as food, drinks, groceries, toiletries, clothes, transportation, admissions, and telephone calls are relatively cheap, so it sort of averages out.

Budget Hotels | Medium Priced | Upscale Hotels

Samoan Tattooing

The Samoan art of tattooing is as old as human habitation of these islands itself. Tattooing needles and combs have been discovered alongside lapita pottery, and the designs and incising techniques are similar whether applied to skin or clay. Traditionally, tattooing was part of a boy's initiation into manhood. Young boys between the ages of 12 and 15 would receive a full body tattoo or pe'a in a painful ritual that lasted up to three months. Then as now, a pe'a was a status symbol carried through life, and a tattoo incomplete due to the pain involved was a lifelong mark of dishonor.

The tattoo artists or tufuga would be paid with fine mats, and boys destined to inherit a matai title received a higher quality tattoo than other boys. The tufuga has at his disposal a variety of tattooing tools made from human bone or pig's teeth attached to turtle-shell heads. The pigment was made by mixing water with ashes obtained from burning candlenuts.

The tattooing begins at the small of the back, then proceeds to the lower back and legs down to the knees, and finishes with the navel, the most sensitive area. The designs are ruled by tradition: a canoe appears on the lower back, and other natural or cultural objects may be depicted in an abstract manner. In Samoan, the word pe'a also means flying fox and the wings of the creature wrap around the person's waist. The patterns are structured in a way that vaguely resembles the interior of a Samoan fale.