A Travellerspoint blog

Day 8

Palangi in the city

overcast 24 °C

Turned out grey again today, and I wasn’t in the mood to swim, so caught a ride in Heilala’s van into Nuku’alofa.

A couple of houses on the way to town - contrasting lifestyles

These friendly boys posed for me as I took the photo out the van window

It really is another world, another Tonga, that doesn’t quite gel with the villages along the way. There were times when I wasn’t so sure I was totally safe there on my own, though I have nothing at all to base that feeling upon. The people are not as friendly, and in the markets they have learned the ways of other developing nations, meaning you have to haggle if you want a good price. The town’s persona is definitely more influenced by the fact that a lot of the younger people, in particular, have been to Auckland or Australian cities and come back with different expectations of life, some less savoury than their parents and grandparents would have liked.

I was sucked in to giving these guys $5 for "bus fare", but they were funny & sweet and let me take their photo so I didn't mind

I walked around town for a while, including the waterfront again, trying to find a positive side to the place, but there really isn’t anything that stands out, except for two little boys having fun in the water, being watched over by their Dad.

Not sure the young fella on the left is too happy, but the wee one on the right is having a ball!

I had to take one arty shot...

Nuku'alofa has a character all its own - if you can call it that - cobbled together from the Chinese money that’s paying for the upgrade to the waterfront, the kids in (and out of) uniform, the people who are just hanging around leaning on fences and walls with nothing to do, and the government buildings & workers in business wear, Tongan style.

Interesting display for a 'meat shop'

I had lunch at Friends Café again – a very un-Tongan meal of French toast & bacon, though there was a nod to Tonga with the fried banana & vanilla syrup (vanilla is grown in Tonga)! It was delicious too. I usually lose weight when I go away on holiday, but I have a feeling that may not be the case here… there’s a lot of starchy food (potatoes, kumara, breadfruit, taro, bread), and little in the way of veges, certainly in restaurant meals – just a tiny salad if you’re lucky.

Took the bus back to Heilala. That is an interesting experience! People just squeeze in, the door stays open & they call out when their stop is coming up. And you pay when you get off. The driver today didn’t just stop at our stop, but drove us right up our side road to the gate – how’s that for service?

Sitting here typing this up at 5pm, it feels fairly cool with the breeze blowing, though my temperature app tells me it’s 24 °C – which I don’t believe. Expecting better weather tomorrow, and definitely on Wednesday before I head home. Not sure there will be much of interest to write about, but at the very least I hope to get some more lovely photos.

Posted by judesbucketlist 21:04 Archived in Tonga Tagged waterfront tonga pacific_island nuku'alofa

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