Weekend Adventures: Pacifika Festival

Saturday March 10th
It was another week of classes, gym, and lots of rain. I'm starting to really get into my schedule and I kinda love it. I know where to go and when I can go to the gym or just chill on the quad. I feel more at ease in the throng of people on campus as I find/discover my all my favorite "spots" around the place. I big group from Loyola went for a surfing weekend thru the travel agency. It was a little out of my price range and I know I can find somewhere else later to take on the adventure so I decided to book a different trip later (canyoning!!) so the rest of us were left t our own devices for the weekend.

One of the girls in my boat, Catherine, found a great opportunity for Saturday; every year there is a festival in Auckland to celebrate all the different pacific cultures and their bonds in one place. A bunch of us got together and headed to the park grounds via bus to check it out. As it is fall the weather was looking pretty grey and chilly but that didn't stop us. And good thing too because it turned into a beautiful day! I was actually really hot walking around in my jeans. Because of a mix up with the bus (not our fault) we ended up not having as much time as we planned to explore so we had to explore a little faster than I would have liked, but it worked out all right. Each nation had its own area including a stage to display their music and dancing. We started in Aotearoa and wandered thru the stalls and food carts. Of course I brought my camera and got lots of great pictures. We heard traditional songs and watched amazing dancers. It was all a big sensory overload of colors smells and sounds. In one of the sections, I think it might have been, Fiji, there was traditional tatooing being done! I have to admit that ever since I took a class at Loyola about the origins of tatoo and what they REALLY mean I have been tempted by the idea of getting one. Of course my Mom is probably about to send me a very serious email right now telling me exactly how many ways she can disown me if I do, so don't worry Mom, I'm still tatoo free and remain so. I couldn't believe the guy getting tatooed wasn't screaming in agony! The whole process takes three men, two to hold down the tatoo-ee and one to actually do the inking. To make the tatoo the artist has two tools, a think stick and a second thick stick with an ink-drenched needle at the end of it. The job of stick 1 is to BANG stick 2 into the skin. Usually to the sound of music. I actually got a little sick to my stomache watching the whole thing. But at the same time the detail and preciseness of the design had to be admired. Regardless, I have successfully been put-off of tatoos for the forseeable future. Check out my pictures of this whole thing. It is unreal. After this we headed to the Cook Islands area where we sat and had a rest to listen to some rappers and then the Drums of the Pacific and its dancers. Little did we know, audience participation would be required.

The dancers came down off the stage and were picking partners. The best dancers from the audience would win a prize. Of course the group of American girls got targeted! One of the (cute!) male dancers grabbed Brianne’s hand to go up on stage. She didn’t want to go alone so she grabbed Carlee’s hand and the dancer got 2 partners for the price of one! It was all too funny. I was practically rolling in the grass watching their shocked faces on stage trying to figure out what the heck they were supposed to do. And then I picked up my camera and took as many pictures as I could! Their dancer was great, very funny, and a little aggressive but the whole thing was really cool. Bri and Carlee danced first and really held their own; they did us Americans proud amongst all those Cook Islanders! In the end they got second place! They won a DVD we were never able to claim but it didn’t matter. It the end of the festival and out little dancing interlude was the perfect way to end it. We took a last loop around the grounds before jumping on a very crowded, hot and sweaty bus back to Huia. It was a really fun day.

I know this was a short post but I've got PLENTY more coming and soon! Lots of love! =)

Fun Fact: Relay For Life at Loyola is this weekend!!!! Even though I am abroad I am still doing my best to be a part of this amazing effort. The committee this year has made unreal strides in making this the best, and most successful Relay Loyola has ever seen. To donate to my Relay For Life team please click here (please let me know if the link doesn’t work)!! http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?px=13185878&pg=personal&fr_id=41423

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