Tongan Welcome

Sun 8 Jun 2014 01:14
6th June 2014
All the ARC boats gathered for another rendezvous this time in Neiafu, Port of Refuge here in Vava'u.


Local sign post …...

It had been a while since we had all got together, so lots of gossip. The Tongans garlanded us with lays and plied us with various concoctions including Kava….actually I didn't get to sample it but the young had a few bowls on their table….it's made from a pepper plant that's chewed by pre-pubescent boys and other revolting liquids added….it anaesthetises your mouth causing slurred speech and dribbling followed by euphoria…..I guess its used a lot in childbirth!  I think our lads had watered down versions as they seemed relatively sober.  Its highly addictive and after a while you imagine it's delicious. 

The lovely ladies and girls danced for us, unlike Tahiti where dancing is sexy and focussed on the hips which jiggle in a blur, here the girls cover their hands and arms in oil and gracefully use their deft hand movements presumably telling stories of welcome, love and family. The oil is so you can stick money on the ones you fancy.
They wear tapa dresses made of beaten bark. They look dreadfully stiff and uncomfortable but they wear them with grace. 


Tongans cover up, even the men wear long skirts. Alice and I went shopping in shorts and had to apologise for the amount of flesh on display. Never mind said a toothless old lady called Betty, we understand you come from the boats.
We had to buy something from every stall so as not to upset anyone. 


Church and family are more important than anything material. Of the Methodist tradition they attend services 3 times a week and for 2-3 hours on Sunday and raise the roof with their glorious singing. 

There was the usual ARC prize giving and Hebe came second (Haven't a clue how that happened - Ed) and all the winners were given a carved Kava bowl, beautiful.  
BUT the highlight of the evening was the joyous news that our wonderful Rally Controllers Paul had asked Susannah for her hand in marriage and she had said YES…Woo Hoo three cheers from Hebe Jeebies and every happiness to a wonderful couple. xxxxx

Janie Lax 
hebe {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com  
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