14 Novema Tu’apulelulu
Vicki visited Mike the magic masseuse while Kotoni and I scurried around town getting his citizenship paperwork signed off with the helpful immigration officer at the High Commission. Looks like everything is in order and even better they will send his papers directly to their office here in Tonga.
After downing a quick lunch of coleslaw, pawpaw and fresh buns Vicki was deposited at the airport as we raced back to pick up Kotoni’s grad ball gold and orange vest and matching bow tie before popping into the Dateline Hotel to help transform the tatty, once grand ballroom into a glittering starry starry night ballroom thanks to the creative vision of Rabi – the one art student who graduated yesterday.
Kotoni and I arrived at the ball unfashionably on time at 7.00pm and planted ourselves at the front bar so we could have a ringside seat and capture the students arrive adorned in a brilliant array of outfits… most within the theme of gold, silver and white. I picked up my frock and wedgy shoes at the Saturday fair… so total outfit less than $20AUS including the orange boa to match Kotoni’s gorgeous find of those spiffy orange shoes!
It was nothing short of a stunningly spectacular sight as these gorgeous young Tongan strutted in wearing formal gowns and novelty ‘suits’ … home made in the last few days (or hours!) with love and creativity.
Stilletos ruled for those in frocks (whether she’s or he’s!). The thongs were left at the back door at home on this special night of nights.
The evening program was presided over by VIP guests seated in two rows of chairs on the stage where they were treated to silver service drinks and munchies while we plebs graced the tables around the perimeter of the dance floor.
The MCs kept the dance cards full as we worked through an array of jigs that included folk dancing, waltzing, line dancing and disco bopping. It felt a little like a surreal time-warped novelette written by Jane Austen if she ever penned one set in the South Pacific. Women were seated along one side on red velvet King Tupou chairs while the blokes took the short trek across the floor to extend a hand and ask for a dance. Some even wore white gloves. I so, enjoyed the pageantry and the antics of the more gregarious graduates whose dancing styles or attire were well… unique.
Kotoni delighted the religious community represented on stage by inviting Sr Margalita onto the floor. He has enchanted the convent dwellers who flirt with him at every chance they get. It is has become a humorous conversation point and the nuns giggle and turn a little crimson when I point out to them that Kotoni is married!!