Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tonga Part 3: Getting Home

The rest of Sunday was relatively uneventful.  We had a nice dinner on Sunday night and then woke up on Monday morning to take a bike ride to the blow holes.  The blow holes occur on several of the islands in the South Pacific where water shoots up through holes in the cliffs as the waves come crashing against them.  If the tides are right and the waves are big it can look like a small geyser.  

Janine and Amanda enjoying a slush
The five us used old school bikes (the kind that don't even have hand brakes) to ride 45 minutes to the blow holes ala a new age Von Trapp family.  We traversed the Tongan roads avoiding pot holes, chickens, pigs, dogs and people.  Finally, we arrived at the blow holes which were cool but the ride itself was easily the most fun.  We stopped along the way back at a roadside shop for what we had hoped was a fruit slush, what we got wasn't really what we were expecting but at least it was cold and refreshing.

Like the rest of my experiences over the last few months, we met people everywhere in Tonga.  We became friends with our host, Sven from Germany, and his wife, Calolina from Tonga.  We met Calolina's brothers who worked on the property during the day.  We got to know the other people staying at the lodge too - a family from New Zealand, two German backpackers, and a Canadian woman who sailed up from New Zealand among others.  So it's not really a surprise that we met a few Tongan guys too - Toni and Teveta.

Teveta showing us how to climb a palm
On Monday afternoon, after cleaning up and packing up our things, we went back to Bill Fish to kill some time before our flight left (it was an 11:40p flight so we had plenty of time).  Teveta came to meet us.  After a bit of time he said he needed to go to the airport and he could take one person with him...I was the lucky nominee.

We made a few stops along the way before arriving at his family's house.  As it turned out it was two of his relatives that were flying out so the entire family was going to the airport to say farewell.  He introduced me to about 8 kids (all under the age of 17), and a few of them followed me around a bit.  Teveta explained that they hadn't really interacted with a palangi (white person) before.

Teveta and I along with his nana and aunt got into an SUV and followed a pick up truck packed with the rest of his relatives, the kids were all sitting in the back loudly chattering as we pulled out.  After about five minutes (driving at 40kph the whole way), we started to hear synchronized yelling from the back of the truck - the kids were singing at the top of their lungs.  What were they singing?  None other than Justin Bieber.

We got to the airport and a few of the kids rushed up to my door to greet me.  Then the cameras came out and they wanted pictures and to ask me questions: "How are you?" "How did you like Tonga?" "How did you meet Teveta?"  "Where are you from?" "When are you coming back?"

Just proves what I already knew, people are the same the world around, and most of them are pretty wonderful.  Maybe I will go back to Tonga...afterall, I was invited for Christmas.

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