".. Without doubt the tattoo capital of the world is the island of Moorea - a 50-minute ferry ride from the main island of Tahiti."
Robbie Williams has a magnificent one coiled around his pectorals, Beckham has a bookful of them all over his billion-dollar body and Angelina Jolie has a sexy Japanese one right between her shoulder blades - tattoos have never been so glamorous, so groovy and so visible... goodness me, I'm even tempted myself. Where do you suggest I get one?
Well, the place for travel tattoos must be Tahiti and her islands, way down in the South Pacific Ocean.
It is the true birthplace of the art of tattooing. The name itself is Tahitian - an English corruption of "tatau", meaning to "strike" or "mark", originally jotted down by Captain Cook on his maiden voyage to the South Seas. Many of the sailors on Cook's Endeavour were so impressed by the Tahitians' traditional body markings that they asked for their own tataus as souvenirs.
Other pioneering seamen followed suit and, on returning home, fuelled a fashion for body decorations among mariners. The rest is tattoo-parlour history, as a rash of daggered hearts, wonky eagles and "I love mum" motifs began to appear on the torsos of folk in the western world.
Yes, but that was then, what about now?
After recent high-profile exposure in the worlds of fashion and music (and Mr Beckham's backside), tattoos are now part of the mainstream and no longer considered taboo. But don't try telling that to my mother.
Nowadays authentic tribal designs are considered the most stylish, so history has come full circle and Tahitian tattooists are once again providing visitors with their own indelible patches of Polynesian art.
Are tattoos still popular with Tahitians?
Very much so. During colonisation tattooing, like many other native traditions, was seen as a pagan practice and outlawed by Christian missionaries.
Since the early 1980s there has been a big revival of Polynesian arts in Tahiti and traditional tattoos have become the most visible and vibrant expressions of a South Seas identity.
What do the traditional tattoos look like?
They usually consist of bold geometric designs, simple repeat patterns and crude animal motifs. New designs are added over the years until, in maturity, the whole body tattoo looks like an inky layer of armour that invested the skin with symbolic protection.
So how did they create the original tattoos?
By using tools made from boars' teeth and combs of sharpened bones whose tips were dipped in sooty pigment or plant dyes. These were placed against the body and then hammered in chisel-like fashion to penetrate the skin.
The tap, tap, tapping of the tool as it chisels into flesh is where the onomatopoeic word "tatau" comes from. Apparently it is excruciatingly painful, but the agony is all part of the rite of passage attached to having a traditional tattoo.
Look, I know I'm a bit of a fashion victim but being perforated by a dirty boar's tooth seems a little too ethnically authentic for me.
Don't worry there are only a few purists who still use the old methods. The majority of Tahitian tattooists have adopted modern equipment and techniques. This, in turn, has influenced the look of the tattoos, producing finer curves, flowing arabesques and intricate patterning.
The machines (the best of which are imported from Birmingham you'll be glad to hear) have also allowed the Tahitian artists to develop their own styles and helped them to put more expression into their work.
So where do you recommend I get one of these masterpieces?
Without doubt the tattoo capital of the world is the island of Moorea - a 50-minute ferry ride from the main island of Tahiti.
Even if you're not after a tattoo you should visit this little gem of greenery to experience the contrast between the modern hustle and bustle of Tahiti's capital, Pape'ete, and the rural retreat of Moorea.
I'm feeling more relaxed already. What now?
First, dismiss all thoughts of seedy tattoo parlours: the tattoo artists' studios on Moorea are more like New Age health clinics. Go and visit a few of them and check out the artists; chat to them and look at their book of designs (bold clean lines indicate a steady hand).
The good artists will counsel you on whether you actually need to have a tattoo at all. They should help you decide on the best body position for your design and to choose symbols appropriate for your history.
Only when you feel a good rapport between the two of you, and confident about the cleanliness of the operation, should you make your appointment to get your tattoo.
What happens next?
Get on with your beach holiday. Try swimming with baby sharks, snorkelling with rays and cruising over reefs in a glass-bottomed boat.
Study the shells for inspiration, hike up to the Afareaitu waterfalls for a dip or soak in the sun under a Tahitian palm tree. Just enjoy it in the run-up to the appointment because there will be no tropical pursuits once you've had your tattoo done.
Why ever not?
It usually takes four to five days for your skin to heal after a tattooing session, and up to five weeks to get back to normal. During this time you should avoid exposing your tender scar to strong sunlight and seawater.
I'm in Tahiti and I cannot go swimming!
That's right, so it's best to wait to get your skin souvenir until the very last days of your stay to avoid any aggravation.
I see... Now do you have any tips on avoiding the aggravation my mum's going to give me when I get home and she sees my tattoo?
Sorry, can't help you there...
Body art basics: