After doing our laundry at a friend’s house, we dropped mom off at the boat to hang everything to dry and to watch both Zakary and Eli who needed a nap after taking Benadryl for an allergic reaction to some coconut. After leaving them at the boat, we set off with our Marquesian friend, Pifa, on an adventure. He took us to a site which was used anciently as a ceremonial place. They had a platform where women danced ritual dances, a place that held the funerals and weddings, a pit that they burned their enemies, and the spot where the oldest son of each family got a full body tattoo… It was to show that they were strong enough to lead the family and that they could bear the pain. The full body tattoos took 6 months and was accomplished by using a small hammer and fishbone. The chief’s son would be given the most elaborate tattoos. They also had a hole that was used as a sort of jail and a place where people who sacrificed themselves would go. Those who did so would have their skulls put up in a certain tree and were promised to be servants in heaven to the chief. He even showed us a sort of arena where they’d play a game kind of like dodgeball, except with rocks. If you won, you were a warrior. But there could be pretty fatal injuries and even death resulting from the game.
The only damper on our exploration was that the rain had brought tons of mosquitos… And they seem to be especially attracted to my legs, which now look like they have some sort of disease. We made umbrellas out of banana fronds though, so at least we stayed mostly dry. There was also a lime tree that had the most amazing smelling leaves, so Eli and I collected some for later use. Teyauna said they smelled like lemonade.
Afterwards, we went to Pifa’s family plantation (his dad had 8 children and a lot of them and their families still live there and all share the food) where we picked papayas and bananas. We collected three different types of papaya in this exotic but mildly tamed jungle. One was the regular small kind that you sometimes see in grocery stores, while some were round and the size of your head, and the other looked like giant long zucchinis on the outside! He let Jaeden cut down this huge bundle of bananas that weighs around 80 pounds. They are still green so we had to hang them up on the boat. The top ones will ripen from the sun first in about two weeks. We then can eat the top layer and let the next layer ripen and so on. Perfect especially for our large family. The bananas here are heaven. I seriously don’t think I will be able to bring myself to eat the bland bananas from home when we go back.
We also gathered more mango on the way home. It was pouring off and on all day, so we were all soaked by the time we got back to the boat, but the weather and rain are warm here, so we didn’t mind it one bit.
Now, on our boat, we have fresh (free) handpicked mango, pomplemousse (like a sweet grapefruit), hard coconut, green coconut (where the meat is like jelly), papaya, lime, pomegranate, starfruit and banana!! A feast for paradise.