Kotoni’s 2014 slant on shopping

Downtown marketi in Nuku’alofa… On a Sunday!

7 Sanuli Tuseite
This week is Wesleyan prayer week so most people attend church twice a day. It is basically a week of eat, pray, sleep. The bells have been pealing every morning at 5.00am to remind worshippers to get thee to church. Unfortunately our little Pentecostal next door neighbours have joined in the spirit and rev up the amplifier every night. Not happy Jan. Luckily for us we have been out most nights entertaining our two visitors as they are still singing flat as a tack!

A lovely east coast church
A lovely east coast church

Did the East Coast tour drive this morning with Mum and Emily followed by a splurge on some cocktails at Billfish bar and dinner at the Waterfront restaurant in the evening.

8 Sanuli Pulelulu
Had a wee morning ‘shopette’ at the town marketi for some Tongan goodies before having lunch with Larnie the sewing teacher from ‘Ahopanilolo.

Some habits never die... Kotoni couldn't believ it when he saw a shopping trolley... And just had to return it to the supermarket!
Some habits never die… Kotoni couldn’t believe it when he saw an errant shopping trolley… And just had to return it to the supermarket!

A little guest blog shopping aside from Kotoni:
“Shopping…a fabulous social pastime that has been an engrossing hobby of mine for many many years. I can still feel the tingle of excitement, the buzz and the vibe of the annual Boxing Day sales where I can take fellowship with tens of thousands of other retail therapists. Together we share the thrill of cruising the aisles and perusing endless items. I love the seducing displays that urge us to purchase overflowing bags of ‘things’ we don’t want or need!! Yum yum. Well that is how it was for me PT (pre Tonga)… Have I changed? Maybe? Maybe not!
Shopping in Tonga has proved to be a bit more of a challenge this year and parting with my pa’anga (Tongan dollars) over hours of endless strolling was over in less than 30 minutes. You see my kind of retail options are a tad limited and those much-loved air conditioned shopper mausoleums have been reduced to a couple of small 1950ish department stores, the outdoor Saturday fair and ‘pop-up shops’ that appear on people’s front gardens or along the side of the road after they receive a shipping container of goodies sent by overseas relatives. Sonia however is in seventh heaven having always loved a good op shop rummage.

Mum and I having a good rummage at a pop up shop... Nice location eh!!
Mum and I having a good rummage at a pop up shop… Nice location eh!!

But back to me… As my sense of desperation grew I fleetingly contemplated online surfing then remembered where I was! With our limited internet (OK a gross understatement) unreliable parcel service that can take up to five months for something to arrive from Australia, our credit card balance was looking safer by the minute.
Actually while I am sharing all things postal. Last week I went to post a postcard and discovered the post office (including the coffee post cafe) had moved to an outer CBD location. No warning… Just up sticks and relocated while a big renovation has started. We are not even sure whether the Post Office will return to its more convenient central location. Ahhh gotta love Tonga.
With all the ‘fun’ of Christmas shopping now put to bed until Mid 2014 (I am a very organised person) this once professional shopper can now look at a semi retirement role. But don’t fret, I have been exploring other options including a stop over in Abu Dhabi on my next trip to Scotland… where I hear Rolls Royces are walking out the door… please don’t tell my wife!

Island of Eua in the distance
east coast at high tide

Kotoni had a chick free afternoon of trying to get our internet dongle to work on the computer while Mum, Emily and I went for a swim at Ha’atafu beach on the west coast. We didn’t get out of the water until about 5pm it was just too damn nice. Mum did a little beach comb but Emily and I just bobbed and floated until our fingers became wrinkled and we succumbed to the need for a beverage. Did a detour via Likualofa ‘resort’ to wet our tonsils and watch the reef emerge on the horizon as the sun gracefully slipped down the sky and the tide pulled out.
Dinner was at the one table Curry Hut restaurant.. A must do on our visitor itinerary if the timing is right. It is only open three days each week and is run by the Attorney General’s wife as a hobby. She makes amazingly tasty Fijian style curries with mainly a takeaway clientele… but we like to sit in her little garden under the pink canopy and eat in and last night the evening was divine so sitting outdoors to catch the cool breeze was a must.

9 Sanuli Tu’apulelulu
Morning tea at our house with Malatina (‘Ahopanilolo Deputy) her husband Tevita and their four lovely children who have the longest eyelashes I have seen in Tonga! Sister Kieoma also arrived with a tray of tasty cupcakes and beautiful painted tapa bags for Mum and Emily… once again the generosity of this amazing woman is overwhelming.
Our Tongan friend Leni and her baby son (she is Kotoni’s counterpart at ‘Ahopanilolo) took the trek out to the airport to say goodbye to ‘Queen Mama’ (Leni and I have a joke that I am a queen, she is a princess so that makes Mum the queen mother by default!) her son loved giving mum umas (kisses)

Leni's son really took to Mum
Leni’s son really took to Mum












After popping into our Austraining office we caught an update on Cyclone Ian which has again turned around and heading for the northern parts of Tonga. I was phoned by the Australian consul to check we were prepared. It again feels surreal as outside there is nothing but blue sky, sunshine and gentle breezes. We have been told don’t get a false sense of security so we are trying to take it all seriously and stocked up on a few food supplies… I mean we wouldn’t want to starve would we!!! There are loads of tins of peanuts in case our protein is looking low. We forgot to get eggs while we had the car but reckon trying to balance an open tray of 30 eggs (that is how they come here) on Bas the moped may be a tad reckless.

A nice view of Eua island
A nice view of Eua island in the distance from Oheleli beach

The police were called yet again because the yelling next door just got a bit out of hand and unbearable. Kotoni didn’t even have to give directions as they know exactly where to come. With the amplifier unplugged we are able to now hear ourselves think and talk without shouting. We did get an apology from the pastor’s son at about 9.00 pm so this could be a breakthrough!

Still having issues with church next door!
Still having issues with church next door. Kotoni didn’t even have to give directions they knew exactly where we lived!Still no sign of a cyclone?! But apparently it is hovering somewhere off Fiji and Vava’u but keeps changing course. We have been told to have our supplies ready, phones charged and torches handy. Feels surreal as the sun has been shining and the skies a brilliant blue. Is it calm before the storm??

Still no sign of a cyclone?! But apparently it is hovering somewhere off Fiji and Vava’u but keeps changing course. We have been told to have our supplies ready, phones charged and torches handy. Feels surreal as the sun has been shining and the skies a brilliant blue. Is it calm before the storm??


Keleti beach (my favourite)
Keleti beach (my favourite)
Categories Tonga

7 thoughts on “Kotoni’s 2014 slant on shopping

  1. Glad to hear that the Auz consul is keeping you in the picture That is very reassuring and make some feel that should your passports not arrive in the nick of time …. then perhaps someone does in fact have a finger on the pulse !!!! with only scant news over the past few days, while we have had Barry’s sister visiting I am pleased to gather that you are out of danger but sorry to hear of devastation up north in Tonga. Devastating for their tourist season as well…..
    A wonderful collection of stories. Love Gordon with the police car and the kisses for Veronica, just beautiful…. and girls is that a “playtex bra sale” type frenzy !!!!!


  2. Been away at jervis bay camping so out of the loop about the cyclone news, I hope you are safe and Ian blew over without causing any drama but noisy enough to drown out the neighbours!!! for an hour or two. Sue xxx


  3. Again, be safe. Mother Nature can be a right bitch at times. Love to you both. Perhaps you could rename it Iain and tell it to go away.


  4. ABC News has just reported that catastrophic cyclone Ian ( level 4) is to hit Tonga tonight or tomorrow morning….Stay safe😁

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Thanks Gina…off to get pringles for kotoni… We will be fine…


  5. I think you need to stay another year…I want to come back…and I want more of your travel blogs! Hope the cyclone proves another fun experience. Gina

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Not sure cyclones qualify as ‘fun’ Gina!!!


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