Tonga was a more relaxed location for us. The shouts of “Hey Baby” came to a near full stop other than an old guy who circled around CJ and I in a parking lot twice with his tounge literally hanging out of his mouth and a Tongan soldier on the ferry back from Pangiamato who was going to Iraq (and who I thought may just take me with him).
There are tons of Mormon churches in Tonga. One or two on every street it seems. When we met our friend Simon in Samoa, he told us was installing computers for the Mormons and when got to Tonga, he would be staying at one of the schools, and not in a hostel. Unfortunately, we never got in touch with him in Tonga, so we didn’t find out how the stay was. I’d imagine pretty tame. It’s kind of nasty though. They have signs near the schools that read “English Only Please.”
As some of you know, we both hit major money access problems on our way. We were each only allowed to get access to 100 Tongan dollars, which is about a whopping $56 US dollars. Tonga is cheaper than Samoa but not that cheap. For three days, every morning we would take the bus into town to try to get some money from the ATM with no success. On the second day, we managed to see the King’s caravan and then watch him get out at the police headquarters in full regalia. CJ demanded that I abstain from photos so I have no proof but it happened. So sad.
Also on day two, Toni, the owner of the guest house we were staying at drove us around Tongatapu on and island tour that mostly consisted of him describing how Tongans grow different fruits and vegetables, with a bit of beach time, ocean views, and a visit to the Trilithon. A guy selling jewelry claimed to have a son that plays USC football. Steph, Hector, can you confirm? They call him “The Rock?”. We met SB there and she traveled with us a bit from then on. Since it was Friday, the big night in Nuku’alofa where bars are open until 4 a.m., we headed out for drinks. In Samoa, pretty much everything closes at 10 p.m. many bars were having problems with clientele. Met a bunch of Aussies and Kiwis on the island for mostly aid work at Billfish. An awesome bunch of people. A possibly awesomer night? It ended at Roadhouse where the women were rougher than the men.
I was leaving early on the morning of the fifth day. But I had a back up and was okay. The fourth day, when we both finally got money, we were screaming like we had hit a jackpot in Vegas. Off we were to check out some churches, including the one the Royal family attend. Didn’t see the King. Guess once is enough. We didn’t do too much in Tonga in part because of our lack of financials but it was probably a good thing after Samoa. We spent a bit of time in Nuku’alofa, the main town, and took a day trip around the island of Tongatapu and a trip to Pangiamoto. We walked around Pangi in about 20 minutes but it was a great day, the island has a lot of interesting inhabitants, including those crabs that roll bits of sand into starburst designs. I can’t remember what they are called. Can someone help me with this? They are way tinier than I previously thought. They look big on Discovery Channel. They are about the size of a fingernail. Had a sundowner and back to the main island…which led to the encounter with the Tongan Iraqi War vet…I hadn’t realized that Tongans were involved at all. The photos pretty much explain what happened when his guy was celebrating his last day in Tonga. Good, no hysterical, times. There was also some famous Tongan rugby or footballer on the boat. He plays in New Zealand and he’s the bald guy on the ferry boat.