What an amazing island nation. Third world country to be sure, but very friendly people, untouched by the Western cultures. To me this is beautiful. They are protecting their culture, their people. Given the peace and the friendliness on the islands seems that they might be doing something right. Such a great accomplishment by the Royal Family. No wars. Low crime. The needs of the locals taken care of by the king and queen as much as possible.
No wrong impressions – it is still a “poor” country – you’re not going to find the types of 5 star resorts in Fiji, Tahiti, Cook Islands and other tropical islands, but you are going to find genuinely nice people, great service and a beautiful island full of locals and just pure natural beauty.
So – here are some pics from my one day on that main island of Tonga. Just from my phone at the moment – still having trouble uploading any photos from my camera.
Tropical Drink with a Sea view 😉 It’s just a mint lemonade. Ok with rum.
A huge unknown rock. There are 2 rocks like this on the island that are unknown. There are theories around how they got there. One is that this used to be a part of a bigger thing – whatever it might be – and it got wiped out by a huge tsunami that took all the islanders with it too, which is why nobody knows where it came from. May be plausible, but then where did all the current islanders come from? 😉
Blowholes! One of the favorite places for the locals and visitors. No two momentous splash alike over the clear waters. The wait for the next blow builds up this anticipation in each spectator placing everybody in a state of pure blissful meditation. I was just very lucky on how calm this day was in the ocean. Maybe not as many blowhole activity but a view that few get to enjoy.
A point of pride for the locals is how relentlessly giving and fertile their soil is. After tourism the main industry is agriculture. They grow everything except for berries, grapes, apples and rice. They even have their own local coffee. All tropical fruits and root vegetables are found abundantly all across the island. Because they dont grow rice, their diets are heavy on potatoes and other roots – like topioca and Ufi – a cross between a potato and a white beet almost. The topioca is used to make bread and other baked goods too.
A rare sight of mango trees lining and covering the dirt road. How beautiful is that? Just a regular part of the road that Saite didnt even take notice! 🙂
The coastal view near the natural bridge. All along the coast are blowholes, just breathtaking. We saw 4 whales while standing here. 🙂 Their photos are on my other camera. This was just pure happiness.
A secluded beach below the rocks and roads for the daring. It is ‘hikeable’ for the days you’re not wearing sandals. 😉 The clarity of the water was so intense I could swear you can see starfish from the cliffside!
A traditional style Tongan home. Only a couple are left like this on the island due to storms etc. Each structure is an area of a home – bathroom is on the far back, bedroom on the right and main living including kitchen on the left. This is an ‘advanced’ version as there is electricity. Most people currently build their homes in bungalow style so they can withstand floods and high winds.
Girls walking back from school, shielding themselves from the strong sun. There are strict dress codes for every event. Most important is that girls and women should be wearing long skirts, below the knee and a shirt with sleeve – tank tops not welcome. Of course if you’re a tourist, you can get away with shorts, I preferred to follow their rules. There are also photos of school boys(I will post when I have a better connection). Men also wear long skirts here. They do. Men are also much more in touch with their feminine side, it is quite “normal” to see men wearing lipstick and/or nail polish. More on this later.
The Saturday market just by the wharf. Locals mostly sell second hand goods and also some fruits and vegetables. The second hand goods come from relatives who live overseas in Australia, New Zealand and some in the US as a form of financial aid.
A girl and mom looking for the perfect tshirt for her. Some people and families arrive early in the morning before the crowds and the heat set in. Arguably the better and more comfortable time to do some shopping.
Selling Ufi potatoes by the entrance of the market by the road. People do stop their cars to buy, even though it’s on a ‘high traffic’ road. Others just go around. Never heard any honking except for the cheery greeting ‘be-beep’ when locals see family. 🙂
Coconut, topioca and yams protected from the sun with a banana leaf woven cover. The sellers are under the umbrellas. Very colorful.
A more typical Tongan home. Complete with a fenced in yard, porch and laundry lines. Home is an important part of people’s lives, they are very proud to announce how important being clean is, make sure to leave your shoes at the door. Even IF the majority of people tend to walk the streets bare feet, they are not good with shoes in the house apparently.
Another home, on the older side, bungalow style with a yard. Use the car as reference on the size of the home. Though not big it is expensive for them to build new homes due to material prices. Most driveways are just dirt – giving it the older and local feel. This is just off the road to the airport.
Oh and an added bonus:
World’s only 3 branched coconut tree! The uniqueness is that the branches come out of a single trunk and each branch bears coconuts. Coconut!
Alright and another bonus… On popular demand – me at the natural bridge in my Tonga appropriate attire 🙂 I just might be happy here.
Please leave a comment! 🙂