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Globetrotting with Push

With your host,
Dr. Raji "Push" Pushparajah

July 9, 2002 -- Micronesia

The people of the tiny Pacific island of Yap are known for their energy and fiery spirit, which is played out for visitors through a traditional ungata dance featuring yellow body paint, hibiscus blossoms and clattering bataka sticks. While enjoying a traditional Yapese evening meal of sweet potato, tender imu-cooked pork and tea, I was given a show of the warriorlike history of this island people as I was pounded repeatedly about the head and neck with the surprisingly hard bataka sticks. Under the last rays of the romantic South Pacific sun, I was then taken out to a traditional talaau hut woven of sennit fibers, where the locals performed a cleansing pontaku ritual where my hair was lit on fire. I spent the remaining days of my visit in the comfortable and breezy Micronesian Emergency Hospital, where the staff at the burn unit provided the finest care imaginable, even wheeling me out to the front deck, where I was able to enjoy the sunset and warm tropical breezes each night while looking out over some of the finest snorkeling spots in the Pacific.

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