Jumped on the pushie for a running around day doing jobs before ending with the biweekly cooking class. Carrot fritters, chicken soup, chocolate patty cakes and slow roasted tomatoes. Helmets are not compulsory here so as long as you are extra careful not having to deal with helmet head is a nice change. My hair is gettIng longer and more wild. Gordon made a tasty chicken soup that we ate Tongan style with boiled green bananas. Hmmmmmmm
Jackpot at the markets this morning… Bought some ultra fresh dark chocolate scorched almonds for $2TOP a bag… Yum yum bargain! Picked up hire car, trip to west coast, picnic, blow holes, swim and snorkel before house warming BBQ at Steve, Rei and Stefan’s… newest volunteers to arrive from Australia. I managed to drive over a car tyre in their backyard with everyone watching… Without having had one drink… Mama mia!
Sunday 16 June
Church with the King (as one does). Queen Salote school boarders sang magnificently as we took our pew. After the hour and a half service we took a side trip to the bakery before heading east for more sightseeing. today’s a picnic (really a bun with salad from a bag I had mixed at home) was consumed overlooking the wild cliffs and raging waves along the southern coast. After driving all over Tongatapu (main island) we fell onto the lounge for wee siesta and rebuild the appetite before an evening Korean feast at a local favourite restaurant. I am the one with a Tongan licence so do all the driving… Even though the distances are not great driving on average of 40kph does become tiring.
Monday 17 June
Collected John from his guest house, Dropped hire car off and headed down to the boat bound for Atata island. Can’t quite believe I am sitting under a fan with the sun streaming into our beachside fale and it is the middle of winter. I mean where else would one rather be in June than T.O.N.G.A!!! Tonight there was a Tongan feast and musical kava circle… Love the men’s gentle singing but have given the kava bowl a wide berth… Especially after two cocktails watching the sun slip behind the horizon was enough for me. Had a little Facetime with Mum which is always a bonus.
Tuesday 18 June
The most strenuous things I did all day was go snorkelling, decide what to have for lunch and take the short walk to the island village (only a couple of hundred people). Wandering back along the beach we bumped into some locals cooking up fish with NZ/Tongan visitors here for a funeral and visiting family. Being Tonga we were automatically invited to have a feed. The fish had been caught that morning and barbecued – scales, guts and all on a grill over an open fire. The flesh tasted sensational but you had to pick your way around the bones etc before tossing any leftovers to the waiting dogs who seem to eat ANYTHING. As always hard to leave Atata with the sun streaming through a cloud speckled watery horizon. In fact John decided to stay an extra night so we left him on the pier and waved farewell. Lovely long chat with Jann in Maitland and grateful we are escaping the cold snap there.