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Another Day in Tonga
We leave tomorrow, but we've certainly enjoyed the tiny Kingdom of Tonga. The Tongans are not as friendly as the Niueans, but they do respond to friendly overtures. A word on pronunciation: Tonga is pronounced "Tong-a" rather than "Ton-ga": there is no hard "g". I didn't know but I've been taught.
Lovely Conni strides into the daily market.
This is taro! It's a large root heavily used as the main starch by the locals.
I love the colors, but the fruits and veggies themselves were very inexpensive and of high quality. All were local, of course. The free market is held daily.
A homemade basket is a work of art and it's just for garbage!
Conni bargains with a seller for bananas.
Conni's still life with fruit purchased in the market. The basket sits on our galley counter. The green peppers were SO tasty, as were the amazingly sweet finger bananas.
The Marina Wine Bar (AKA the Dancing Rooster) is a beautiful structure.
Gunter is a dissolute ex-pat Swiss, known by his chef's coat. He richly deserves the coat since he's a chef of great talent. He came to Tonga in 1997 and hasn't departed.
Kids frolic in the harbor waters at sunset. This is at high tide and at low tide, the platform inside the last set of posts is covered in shells that cut my fingers like butter when I tried to land there later. Ouch.
Tongan sunset from the Marina Wine Bar.
The enormous steak and potatoes served by Gunter. The meat was well cooked but as tough as leather. He sells a lot of the steaks but it's hard to know if toughness was from freezing for the cow.
Homemade spaetzli and beef for Conni. Spaetzli is potato pasta rolled by hand into the shapes and then cooked. It's a German favorite that Conni ate as a child.
Not OSHA approved, but when the university needs a roof painted, students are assigned.
Two friends, one umbrella walk past the university grounds.
The grocery stores are owned by Chinese immigrant families and are bit on the disorganized side. If you think that we have a lot of Chinese-made items, imagine Tongans!
School kids in uniforms stroll at lunch in front of the school (at left).
One of our homes-away-from-home, the Cafe Tropicana. We'd stroll in to take laundry and buy an hour of Internet. We also hired them to help with our Fiji entry papers which had many pages and were complex.
On our last night in Neiafu, Vava'u, we enjoyed a feast of cooked-all-day beef and were serenaded by this Kava band. They are local musicians and they sat around a traditional Kava bowl, each dipping in a consuming Kava all night. I was invited to sample the concoction and I eagerly accepted. Wouldn't you? Licorice, not unpleasant, but not something that I can imagine drinking all night. Needed some rum....
And here is the Tonga BarBQue sandwich from the Aquarium Cafe! Monumental in size, exquisite in flavor, if was a feast for us. Combined with a few Tongan beers, it made a great meal.
We left Tonga as we had arrived, with this view of the enormous western cliffs.
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