Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tisa's Polynesian Feast

Even as we finally make some headway on our research, we've been taking advantage of our slow work week. Yesterday, after our errands, we drove into town (Pago Pago) to visit the Jean P. Haydon Museum. The museum displays traditional Samoan artifacts, including pigs-tooth tatoo equipment and carved wooden fishing boats. There was also come cool information on Samoan medicine and traditional healers.

Tonight, we went back to Tisa's, this time for her Polynesian feast. On the way, we stopped to fill up the car with gas. After paying, I turned the key only to find that the car would not start. We all looked at each other exasperated and worried that we wouldn't make it to Tisa's on time. We called Oscar, the car's owner, who came to rescue us. After unsuccesfully trying to start the car himself, Oscar called his mechanic friend and eventually just gave us his car so we could make it to Tisa's on time. Tomorrow morning, we'll have to bring the car back to trade it in for ours or a temporary rental. Thank goodness for Oscar, though.

We arrived at Tisa's just in time to watch as Candyman uncovered the umu, or stone oven. The umu consists of layers of hot stones and food and is covered by big banana leaves. Tisa explained the process and food selection as Candyman and some helpers pulled away the rocks and moved the buried food up to the serving table. The feast consisted of tarot root, spiced pumkin, papayas, coconut cream sauce, red snapper, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, and even a freshly caught octopus!

In traditional Samoan style, we ate on plates of woven leaves, and we ate with our fingers. The food was delicious, and the meal was capped off by a signing and dancing performacne by Tisa and two of her grandaughters. As we sipped our pina coladas, we watched a stunning moonrise over the ocean.

Next week, if all goes well, we should be able to start our research in full force. But while we wait, we'll continue to enjoy ourselves. Either tomorrow or Friday (weather depending), we plan to spend the day exploring the island of Aunu'u, just a ferry ride away.

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