Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tonga - Day 2!

Hello everyone. It seems the day goes so fast here that it has already been 24 hours since the last post. But as promised I am going to try to post everyday. My luggage is still lost and should have it soon. I need my wet suit and stuff so I can go out and look for corals.

I got up today around 9 am and headed down to the hotel lobby.

I went into the dining room and spent $10 US on a breakfast that I can make better - total waste of money and will never eat there again!

This is the view as you come out of the hotel main entrance. The view from the upper suites facing the ocean must be very nice.

After breakfast, we headed out to the New Zealand Air office.

To send shipments, first have to figure out flight schedules to the various destinations. After that, I can go collect the corals accordingly.

After running around doing various errands, it was lunchtime already. We stopped on the side of the road and bought "Lu Sipi". This is a local favorite and quite tasty. Basically it is lamb meat cooked with onions and coconut milk. It is wrapped in tarot leaves and cooked underground in heated charcoal or hot rocks. The wrapped aluminum foiled Lu Sipi is usually cooked with tapioca roots on the side and eaten together. Here in Tonga, roots like yams, potatoes, tarot, cassava, are eaten as a stable, kind of like rice in Asian countries.

After buying the food, we were off again looking for a nice shady place to eat. We pulled into a lot and walked near the water. It's a tough life for a dog here, unlike in Bali, where the dogs are well taken care of. I gave this mommy pup my leftovers!

Another nice view of the ocean from where we were eating. Note the local walking in the shallows, mostly looking for octopus.

For dessert, coconut juice!

The dude had some on ice and cost about a buck!

"Happy camper"!

With the horrible internet connection at the hotel, I decided to try an internet cafe. The owner was a foreigner and crazy looking, here he is trying to get the internet connected to my laptop.

After hours of catching up on computer work, I headed out to the fish market.

It was still early in the day and the fishermen had not all come in.

The thing on the left was and still is a mystery to me. The lady selling it couldn't describe what it was, even in Tongan language. Looked like some fish guts to me! The thing on the right was a bag of chopped up sea slugs. The looked like giant sea hares!

A cup of conch meat. I know this taste really good eaten raw with tobasco sauce!

Ok definitely weird! This bag looked like the sea hares and guts of something.

Containers of clam meats looked tasty!

Some nice looking cockles!

My wife Anne loves these!

Baskets of clams. All I could think of was "clams with black bean sauce" on a Chinese restaurant menu!

I was told that sea weed was in this banana leaf thing. I don't believe it, I think something really strange is in there!

Nothing fancy, just a table of fresh sea foods.

Octopus is a favorite among the locals. About $5 US can get you a small one. $10 could get you a really big one!

The one on the left was still alive, the pigments kept moving!

Dried octopus. I've eaten dried squid before, bet they taste similar.

Bags of assorted fish. These look like snappers of some sort.

The mouth on these looked like those of an anchovie!

The sellers using a stick and plastic to keep the flys away.

A few more boats came in and these bags of octopus and fish were among the new stuff for sale.

Small cardinal looking and rabbit fish were among in this mixed bag.

I saw giant porcupine puffers while snorkeling at night before, twice the size of these ones. I did hear my divers tell me that people eat those. Now I know they were telling the truth!

These puffers were quite large already, check out the size in relative to the bags of octopus.

A nice red coral grouper, one of the best tasting fish there is!

Parrotfish, not so colorful but taste good.
The little dock where the boats come in.

After done checking out the fish market and doing some more errands, it was dinner time again. We stopped at this little joint for some quick "fast food".

The menu is in Tongan dollars. US dollar is nearly worth twice.

My guy ordered curry lamb while I got assorted barbecue over tapioca root.

After eating we went to visit a friend. He was preparing tuna rolls at his place. Earlier in the day, he bought fresh tuna from the docks to prepare this delicacy. The ones with papaya was just awesome!

This is Larry, he lives in Tonga and has a Tongan wife and a beautiful little girl. Larry is famous in the fish world. He has run fish stations in Palua, Vanuatu, Bali, Tonga, etc.. Currently he exports fish from here. Awesome guy and awesome sushi maker!
Larry had some friends from Vanuatu visiting. They made cava that night. Cava is a local traditional drink made from cava roots from a cava tree. Taste like mud and for sure it is an acquired taste! Gives you a nice buzz. Usually cava is served by a lady in coconut cups while the men sit around in a circle. Cava is popular all through out the South Pacific islands.


Ok guys, that is it for day two in Tonga. I took a few videos and will post them when I get back to the states. Meanwhile, hopefully I can get my luggage soon so I can start looking for corals.
Stand by as I will post again tomorrow.


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