11 Tisema Pulelulu
Woke up to a wet morning by a rooster strutting around the backyard. Did some shopping and went for a stroll down the street only to run head-long into the Commonwealth torch relay on its way through Tonga. Being the sporty couple that we are we joined the posse and did the last few blocks with a couple of high commissioners, pin up rugby boys, gold medalists, netballers, boxers, a Minister and a Prince at the final palace office destination.
Made a stovetop satay and eggplant pizza to see how it would go… Works well Thanks Ofa for the inspiration!
12 Tisema Tu’apulelulu
Kotoni busy cooking wattle seed shortbread and a batch of banana jam. So lovely to have access to a kitchen with nice facilities and an oven with a temperature gauge!!! It is the little things that make a big difference! Thanks Tristan and Amanda your home is in good hands! Took NZ volunteer Paige to the airport… And so the volunteer numbers dwindle even further.
13 Tisema Falaite
Sunshine again yipee. Out to White Sands resort on the west coast to do our second staff cookery training for Gloria and her staff. It was lots of fun and they seemed to enjoy the learning experience. We made shortbread, starfish pastries (windmills) and a range of sauces for chicken and fish. We stayed the night and before retiring to cool off we plopped into the pool gliding and chatting with Gloria under a beaming moon until well after 8pm… A simply superb way to end a great day.
14 Tisema Tokanacki
We we woken at 8.00am with knock at the door – Bessie delivering us some warm freshly made pancakes, pineapple slices and pawpaw. Not a bad way to start a day in the Pacific with the sound of waves crashing in the foreground.
We motored back into town to ‘do’ the Saturday Fair routine followed by lunch in some air con and an attempt to surf the internet. Very sluggish as usual so we slobbed on the lounge and watched a quaint little Pacific edu-drama series called ‘Love Patrol’ which is set in Vanuatu but could just as easily be Tonga as it covered a myriad of issues such as religion, HIV, relationships, rape, ethics, community and workplace dramas. A very useful resource we shall be recommending to ‘Ahopanilolo. The production was funded by NZ and Australian Aid agencies.
Visited the Christmas tree square to try for some free internet time… Hoping to get lucky… Oh well as Marie Antoinette would have said if she was in Tonga… let them eat pineapple…better than cake!!!
15 Tisema Sapate
Left Bas under a flowering tree behind the convent and caught the 35 minute sail boat for two glorious nights on Fafa… Our christmas treat to each other.
We BOTH went snorkelling til 5.30pm in the warm waters as the tide reached it peak…a good opportunity to christen my brand new black and red trimmed one piece Swimsuit I picked up at the fair for $10TOP… I do love a bargain.
I keep pinching myself that we actually live in Tonga and have easy access to such a wonderful island paradise just off Nuku’alofa. It makes the lack of internet seem a bit trivial and I need to constantly remind myself that this is a developing country and NOT Australia so get over it and look at the positives!
I think it is the outdoor bathrooms, the hammocks and the colourful fish a stones throw from the shoreline that gives Fafa a magnetic pull.
As I write I am sitting on a recliner in the moonlight listening to the island chamber orchestra gently caressing my ears. There is a bass gurgle of geckos, a soprano rustle of leaves tinkling as they dance in a light breeze. The air is still and I can just make out a distance breaking of tidal waves gently creeping along the shore in front of our fale. Occasionally there is a thump of a coconut falling to earth to break the solitude or another guests laughter muffled in a neighbouring ‘yard’ but mostly it is a the simple soothing sounds of a tropical environment slipping into night mode.
Kotoni is inside lying on a couch reading while a circle of mosquito coil smoke twirls up around him. We have become used to this pungent smell so ubiquitous throughout the Pacific. Luckily Tonga is not on the malaria hit list so although the mozzies can give an annoying bite they are not dangerous like so many other locations.
Being back on Fafa has become like a home away from home. We know most of the staff who greet us off the floating arrival pontoon like long lost friends which adds to the congeniality of our stays and another reason why we keep coming back. There are so many beautiful islands further north but getting to these requires a lot more organisation, effort and expense in time and airport challenges that we have decided this island fits our paradisiacal weekend getaway needs perfectly.
There are very few guests at the moment so we feel like channelling Richard Branson and claiming this as our own exclusive retreat.
Some ‘Ahopanilolo students have secured jobs here and will start in January. We hope to catch them on our return visit with Mum and Emily for New Years Eve.
I finished my latest book tonight: ‘Crossing to Safety’ a literary delight by Wallace Stegner a fabulous 20th century American writer. A quote on page 319 fits perfectly with my current scenario:
It is a beauteous calm and free
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration. The broad sun
Is sinking down in his tranquility…