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A tour of Tonga

rain 25 °C
View Australia March 2009 on Bada Bing's travel map.

March 29

Where do I start? Perhaps at the beginning of the day, I guess! Yesterday was our day trip around the island. Our lodge owner arranged it and all we had to do was jump in the van. Was great to find something to do on a Sunday in Tonga because Sunday is a holy day and everything closes, no one does anything except go to church which could be several times a day (according to Tony, our tour guide) cause usually there is food involved with church and Tongans love food!

We toured with a group of people from our lodge and a neighboring lodge. Little did we realize until striking up a conversation with a couple that she was from Canada, living in New Zealand with her Kiwi boyfriend. Not only was she from Canada, she was from Red Deer! Her father is from New Zealand and the family moved to Canada many years ago. It's a small world!

Our tour guide, Tony was a cantankerous old British hippy! He seemed to know his stuff although who knows what is folklore and what is bs! I snapped a pic of him having a swim...he just dropped his pants and floated in his underwear.
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The roads in Tonga are somewhat paved although are much in need of some patching and so we had a pretty spine tinkling ride throughout the day. Initially we thought we had a flat tire and then we realized that it was just Tony's audio system. He had a microphone which he talked into and when he wasn't talking, he just laid it on the dash and therefore we were broadcast all the bumps on the roads.

We started off with a view of the two headed coconut tree which he claimed was the only one in the world...well, perhaps Tonga.
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We stopped at a viewpoint where someone (perhaps an explorer) came ashore..nothing too spectacular. Soon, it was lunchtime and we went to another resort on the island where we could swim in the lagoon (cemented off area of calm water from the shoreline) or go in the ocean. Obviously, none of us were too keen to go into the seaweedy water so we sat around the restaurant and chatted with one another. We found that we had some very interesting people staying at our lodge, an grey, long haired, long bearded marine biologist who makes his home somewhere near Sicily; a widowed, retired asparagus researcher, born in Holland and migrated to New Zealand, who has a daughter in South Africa and a son in New Zealand;a 50ish German woman who is travelling the world for a year solo; two British young girls (30ish) who are in their last year of medicine and will be doctors soon; an American couple who really didn't mix with our group. It only took 2 hours to prepare fish and chips for 10 people and they came out of the kitchen 2 at a time, approximately 20 minutes apart. The fish was great but the fries tasted a day old and were cold. I overheard Tony complaining to the young waiter that the preparation time was totally unacceptable and that he needed to pass the complaint along to the appropriate people. Can you believe that we found somewhere slower than Mexico? Good thing that we found interesting conversation!

After our 2 hour lunch, we continued with the tour. Over to the blowholes, there were amazing, it is where the under carriage of the rocks has been eroded way and when the waves hit it, the water with air compresses and blows up through the crevices in the rocks. A giant "whew" with a fountain to go with it.

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Then it was on to the underground cave created by the ocean waves. After walking through head high grass, we arrived at a specular view.
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On past a graveyard where obviously this young lad had many friends and family and was well known. At this graveyard, the graves are decorated with bottles, but his had seashells and was the hugest in the yard. Unlike Samoans, Tongans do not bury their family in the front yard, here property is sometimes sold and who wants a piece of property with someone's great grandma buried in the front yard! Samoan houses are generally passed down through the generations while Tongans appear to be more nomads!
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On to the Trilithon. What is a trilithon, well, here's the explanation (from Wikipedia): Constructed from three limestone slabs, and is about 5m high, 2m wide, 6m long. Ha'amonga 'a Maui was built at the beginning of the 13th century under the 11th Tuʻi Tonga Tuʻitātui (king strike the knee), most likely as a gateway to his royal compound Heketā. One can pass through the portal and walk the short distance towards the ʻesi maka faakinanga (stone to lean against), which served as the king's throne. Sitting with his back to that stone he was safe from assassins from behind and with his long stick he could hit every potential foe from the front on his knees.

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In popular myths the Haʻamonga is believed to have been made by the demigod Maui, as the stones would be too huge for mortals to handle. The word haʻamonga means: a stick with loads on both ends, carried over the shoulder. Maui was supposed to have the stones obtained from ʻUvea (Wallis Island) and carried on to Tonga. In reality the stones are of coralrock, which structure matches that of old quarries along the neighbouring coasts.

That was your history lesson for today all my faithful readers!

At this stop, we got to enjoy the wild pig entertainment, watching a too fat pig squeeze himself through an entry that his friends had walked through. It was pretty funny actually! Pigs roam wild here and you have to watch for them on the roads or damage your vehicle!

Over to the Bay of the Fishing Pigs...huh! Sounded weird to us! This bay has wild pigs who live here. They apparently are eating the clams in the sand. Quite interesting.

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On to the site of Captain Cook's Landing...another view point, not too exciting.

Arriving home we were in time for our preordered dinner. We have a choice of two meals, one usually fish (snapper or tuna) and usually a german dish. The owner is german and his mother is the cook. And she is one fantastic cook, we have homemade soup with every dinner, they are native soups and some of the tasty we have ever had.

The reason for this lengthy blog is that we awoke today, March 30th to light rain and cloud. We have been lucky with the weather cause this is the rainy season here and we have had two days of fantastic sun and humidity. We have nothing planned, other than book reading, internet surfing, a few cocktails and generally having a relaxing day before tomorrow....our planned return to the dreaded snow and cold!! Only joking, it is time to go home and we are now ready!

Posted by Bada Bing 07:44 Archived in Tonga Tagged backpacking

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