Friday, August 27, 2010

Tonga! - Day 1

Hello everyone. I am in Tonga right now. I'm due to go back to Indonesia next month, but had some little time to spare, so I came to Tonga to send out some shipments. For the past year, people have been hounding me to come back here to Tonga and start something up. For those of you that don't know, I have been screwed out of lots of money and time from two different crooks here in Tonga. I vowed to return one day and start over. Perhaps this is a start to my come back.

Since I haven't posted in such a long time (not counting the last one), I will attempt to post everyday. You will be able to follow my adventures day to day.

My flight started out from San Francisco. I flew to Los Angeles and hopped on a New Zealand flight to Tonga. We stopped in Apia, Western Samoa early in the morning (still dark).

The weather was a little humid but not so hot.

Here we waited for a few hours to drop and pick up new passengers.

This cute little handbag caught my attention at the duty free shop.

Around 8 am, we were boarding again!

Here is the plane that we rode on.

This must have been kind of a new plane as the entertainment system was "off the hook"! This thing had over 30 movies, 80 TV shows, dozens of music stations - all on demand with touch screen. It even had a USB port!

Another two hours later, we arrived into Tonga - hooray!

A lab sniffing for drugs, made me miss my boxer at home!

Some alcohol at the duty free shop. The best two things you can bring to Tongan friends are booz and cigarettes!

Had to go to the bathroom and discovered the Tongan sized urinal!

Just my luck would have it, the airlines lost my luggage! It is supposed to arrive in a few days, but we will see. Here is the road out of the airport to town. No major freeways or highways, just a lonely road.

We were picked up by my diver and his cousin. We were dropped off at a car rental place, needed a car to get around. These two lovely Tongan ladies were a little shy as I took this picture.
So we got this jalopy for $25 US a day, about the same price as in Indo.

After getting gas for the rental, we stopped at this bank to exchange some money.

After getting Tongan money, I had to buy a cell phone. The store had these two Apple computers to browse the web. Five years ago, all the cell phones were being sold in street stalls!

The phones looked kind of old designs, but I wasn't picky - picked up flip Samsung for $40 US.

Technology was catching up even in Tonga as witnessed by this nice TV playing Animal Planet Channel.

After getting the phone, it was time to get grub. We decided on barbecue chicken.

Smelled amazing as we drove up. Lots of chicken were being roasted!

I made a quick video but can't upload, the internet is not fast or steady enough. I will post all the videos later when I get back to the states.

Barbecued meats are very popular in Tonga. There are many places, and some just open during lunchtime.

After picking up the food, we stopped at this "Chinese store" to pick up drinks. All through out Tonga, the Chinese have set up these little convenient stores selling everything from cigarettes to frozen chicken.

And here is my first meal in Tonga! The barbecue costs $2.50 US, so relatively cheap.

After getting the drinks, we drove around to find a good spot to eat. We drove up to a nice shady spot near the water. A hungry little mutt came up smelling the food!

Barbecue chicken over tapioca root!

Eating this food with this view - awesome!

The tide was getting low as we ate.

Just beautiful!

These rocks are actually big chunks of coral skeleton!

One of the guys that screwed me in the past went out of business. I went to check out some of my old equipment.

These are fiberglass tubs with glass windows. I used to keep fish in these tubs.

Brings back memories!

After checking out my old equipment, we walked by the boat docks.

Many of the boats were still out. We used to keep our boats here as well.

Even the this small lagoon looks nice. Seemed a lot cleaner these days than before.

These fishermen were bringing in sea cucumbers!

It was getting late in the afternoon and I checked into this hotel.

Here is a view from the side.

After checking in, we were off to the other side of the island. I wanted to go see my other diver in his home village. On the way, we stopped at another "Chinese store" for drinks.

We got to my guy's place and he was cutting up a pig!

And here I am with my two coral divers!

"You are next buddy"!

We drove back to town to talk about corals and to have dinner. The guys wanted eat pizza. We headed to the best pizza place in town!

We ordered two large pizzas and decided to go back to the hotel and eat there. These guys don't look like it, but these two are experts in corals!

Kind of a nice place, definitely for the tourists.

The owner is Italian and runs the business with his Tongan wife.

And here we are back at the hotel, talking corals and eating pizza - good times!


Ok guys, that is it for today. If the internet allows me, I will post again.



Taiteelliset eväät said...

Autumn greetings from Finland. I visited your blog. Thank you very much. Visit you to see my paintings and photographs from Finland. Markku Mäkelä

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting read! thanks for posting your journey!

Unknown said...

Hi I’m curious, how much is the alcohol in tonga?

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