This will be a long one because I haven’t had decent access to the internet for ddddddddaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyssssssss
11 July 2013
Harri the young enthusiastic Áhopanilolo art teacher came over for a green curry last night and Timm took him through a quick overview of the myriad of art programs installed on the donated Apple computer… after a couple of mind boggling hours surfing the apps Harri happily wandered home with his new ‘toy’ under his arm and his mind swarming with creative possibilities. We feel grateful that at least that wasn’t stolen.
Friday 12 July
Friday morning we gave Timm a walking town orientation’’ which included revisiting the simply wonderful Tapa exhibition at the NZ High Commission and chatting with Ruha Fifita – one of the young Tongan artists involved in the project.
The evening was spent strolling to the Alliance Francaise building to watch a film and eat crepes for Bastille Day.
Saturday 13 July
Whoever said Tongas are always late doesn’t know Tevita our angel taxi driver/mechanic. Tevita had saved us a few weeks ago when we were lost and drenched on a dark and dismal Saturday night so knew where we lived. I called and booked his ’taxi service’ to the airport for 6.00am and he was there at 5.40am!
No key was needed for this vehicle as he hit some mystery switch to start us up. Later, as we stopped to get some fuel (engine still running by the way) Tevita proudly told us he had bought the car for $100TOP ($60Aus) at a Police auction. We were very pleased he drove incredibly slowly just in case something fell off… but to be honest the car was in pretty good nick by Tongan standards. Timm even gave him an extra tip for being such a safe driver.
The flight to the island of Eua just off the East Coast of the main Tongatapu island is one of the shortest commercial flights in the world. The 10 minute taxi exceeded the seven minute flight time in the air where we crossed the second deepest trench on the globe. I even spied a whale in the blue waters below.
I feel like I am in a tree house/sauna. We are staying at Deep Blue Lodge just above the little Eua harbour where the community-owned and run ferry docks daily (unless it is sacred Sunday or too rough). The entire accommodation complex is hewn from Eua grown red cedar sawmilled on site and is run by Wolfgang a very interesting fellow hailing from the former East Germany. It is quite amazing what he has done in the three years he has been a resident on Eua.
EVERYTHING is wood… right down to the window shutters and breakfast toast plates. We suspect he is probably in his early 60s although one can never be sure. He has an interesting tale to tell of his early life in the former socialist state and how he ended up in the pacific as a diving instructor come guest house operator after traversing the world.
Wolfgang uses local produce and we munched on a breakfast of homemade bread/toast with island honey and guava jam – a lovely introduction to our little weekend away. The guests included an Argentinean couple, a Russian, a German and a Swiss guy so very cosmopolitan. We all eat together in a semi outdoor dining room – wooden of course. He told me there is an abundance of wood on Eua so great to see it being put to such good use.
Timm and I went off to explore a little of the coastline and ‘town’ while Kotoni caught a few zzzzzzzzs. He has not slept well since our ‘invasion’. After a simple lunch of soup and more wood -fired bread we slept and read (the pace we are keeping warrants constant resting).
A walk around the village provoked a good appetite for the vegetarian pasta and braised taro leaves. Wolfgang cooks everything in his rustic kitchen on a wood-fired stove adjoining a pizza oven… all made by him.
Sunday 14 July
Savoury and sweet coconut pancakes for breakfast with homemade jams or salad… yum yum. Had planned to do a day tour/hike but the pouring rain kept us inside watching ‘Blade Runner’ on Timm’s ipad. We looked like a couple of old grannies rug up under the doona… as it was a little fresh.
The skies cleared at three … well enough for a 4wd trip to a brilliant cliff top lookout, a short walk to see a huge 500 year-old Banyan tree and a 100+ metre waterfall drop into a very dark sinkhole/abyss somewhere in the middle of the island. We are glad we could see something more than the thriving ‘shopping centre’ and ubiquitous pigs and dogs roaming the streets.
We actually passed one dog that resembled a canine hotrod with front legs distinctly shorter than the back ones… quite amusing.
The guide was a Swiss guy we have nicknamed ‘Bear Gryllis’. He has been living on some isolated Tongan island by himself for months and relies on foraging or catching his food. He is there to get in tune with nature and write a book about the human race while residing in a grass hut and living frugally… as you can imagine a bit of an ‘character’.
Kotoni thought Eua a bit too ‘rustic’ for him but enjoyed the change of scenery. Having no wifi made us feel a little cut off but have got used to this in Tonga.
Monday 15 July
The ever intrepid adventure seeking Timm decided to give us a good much needed chuckle by doing an introduction to diving course with Wolfgang. He was surprisingly a natural water babe and we are now calling him Timm Costeau. The pictures tell it better than I can.
The 2.5hr ferry trip home was nice and smooth and we even got to see a few whale spurts. After docking safely back on Tongatpu we headed for a quick Korean dinner before commencing the walk home dragging our cases when we were stopped by two friendly policemen cruising along the waterfront. They kindly drove us right to our front door. It helps to fade unpleasant memories when there are so many wonderful Tongans doing random acts of kindness.