Friday 9 August
Gina gets the prize for best Tongan culinary innovation. Our landlady Saane delivered us a big fruit ‘pod’ freshly plucked from the salsa tree in our garden. It looks like a big prickly custard apple and tastes quite pineapple-ish with a creamy texture. It was very mushy and probably wouldn’t have lasted another day. Enter Gina – who’s kitchen rules: we took out the seeds and popped the mush into ice trays and shoved them into the freezer. Now we have a supply of tropical heaven that can be popped into drinks or savoured as an ice block treat when we feel the need to cool down from the humidity.
Only in Tonga could you go to a Korean restaurant and be served lasagne. No it was not on the menu! We had run into Marco the owner of the Pizza place we frequent. He told us that a specialty lasagne was on the menu for tonight. We assured him we would be heading to his place soon but not tonight and continued on our way.
Food ordered we sat back before in marched Marco with a serving of lasagne on a plate for us to share! Love it!
Great having my mini portable ipad too!
Culture does not stand still. I learned today at my language class that by 2020 The Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) is predicted to overtake the Wesleyans as the most popular religious faith here in Tonga. We sat chatting about what this will mean for the Tongan culture over time. The influx of missionaries in the 1800s had a HUGE impact with the still evident Christian traditions, the Tongan laws and even influencing the constitution. Mormons don’t drink coffee, tea or alcohol so perhaps something as ingrained as kava drinking circles could be phased out if the balance of power shifts… and what about the internet (If the fibre optic cable ever comes)… perhaps that too will have a huge impact on family, community and political values. As we have seen in our own society, many have become addicted to being able to plug into whatever they want whenever they want with a similar religious zealotry.
Saturday 10 August
A stroll around the flea marketed delivered me with a few new tops, a pair of board shorts and some colourful junk jewellery… I do love this open air op-shop where you can buy a jar or jam, a packet of washing powder, a pair of second hand shorts and a chicken kebab all at the one stall. Gina and Kotoni were over it in half an hour and sat drinking coffee but I soldiered on!
Afternoon siesta was disturbed by the dreadfully loud Pentecostal band practice next door… as Saane keeps telling us “God is NOT deaf”… but goo that Gina is having the full Tongan experience.
Had seven people over for a little dinner gig tonight. This is pretty much our limit due to chair, plate, cup numbers etc. We started with drinks on the front lawn as it was cooler outside. Along with we three there was 20 something Stephanie who is about to head back to Australia after spending 18 months working with Tonga Netball and has achieved fabulous things getting the association up and running and spreading the health messages of sport. Twenty something Tajeen is a newby graphic designer who is working with an NGO and here for the year while her husband has stayed back in Australia. Thirty something Sally is the volunteer who lives next door and forty something Latou is Sally ‘friend’ from the island of Eua. So a very eclectic crowd and an interesting evening full of diverse conversations.
Sunday 11 August
The amp is firing, the electric guitar strumming a monotonous hum. I can hear hallelujah and praise the lord intermittently and the singing voices need a lot of work. Tin Tin is in yoga position 27 at our back door. Kotoni is ironing, Q&A is on the TV and I am trying to get online… Ah it must be Sunday in Pili.
We can’t win. Kotoni had made pancakes yesterday for breakfast and taken across a plate to Saane’s house only to have the plate returned laden with food for our lunch: lamb flap liu, tomatoey chicken and some type of root veg.