Friday, April 22, 2011

Another Super Hero?

Our five-year-old granddaughter Nanea phoned her Tutu (grandmother Haidee) today to wish her "happy birthday." Haidee asked her how she enjoyed the luau last night, with the response, "How did you know I went to a luau??" Haidee said a little birdie told her, and asked Nanea what her favorite thing was about the luau. "The Fire Boy," came the quick answer. "What did you like about him?" "It was scary!" Scary always seems to gain our attention.

The luau shows always feature Samoan fire knife dancing, where men twirl much in the style of majorettes, but with bladed weapons in the place of batons. There's always at least one brave soul who wraps the ends with kerosene-soaked material, ignites it and spins away, at arm's length and all around, behind the back, between the legs, etc., ergo The Fire Boy. From the Los Angeles Times travel section: "The nifo oti, Samoan for "tooth of death," resembles a machete with a hook at the end of its blade. The hook's sharpness and weight increase the difficulty and risk for the fire dancer catching the blazing blade." Occasionally they do burn themselves, which alone would keep me at arm's length from attempting anything like that. But in a way that makes them a kind of super hero, risking life and limb for the entertainment of luau-goers, which I suppose keeps the non-locals from thinking about the taste (or lack thereof, to their uncultured tastebuds) of the poi.

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