O’holei Resort…show and umu
One of our owners happened to run the O’holei Resort and offered us some free and discounted tickets to their show and umu feast. So after work 5 of us piled into the car and after getting lost a few times on the 2 main roads in Tonga we finally found the resort. I offered to be designated driver and we settled in for a grand evening.
The Umu is a traditional feast that is mostly cooked in the ground. This one was amazing and consisted of sweet potato, plantains, potato salad, kasava, sea cucumber, sea urchin, clams, teryaki chicken, sushimi, steamed fish and the suckling pig. For desert there was bread fruit pudding. I just barely managed to fit in a second helping, all dished up on plates made from the stems of banana palms.
Then it was time to go into the cave and have the show. The cave was a natural outcropping of rock and created the perfect stage for a truly spectacular show of Tongan dance and fire twirling. The young performers were outstanding and many said O’holei had the best show out there. Half way through our host introduced 2 members of the group that are from the far flung island of Niu. The dialect of this island is a lot faster and sound downright comical. The following exchange happened as the host pointed to me:
Host – tell her she is beautiful
Performer – I think she has husband
I shake my head
Host – see no husband, tell her she is beautiful
Performer – I am sure she has boyfriend
Again I shake my head
Host – see I told you!
Performer – mumbles something in top speed and then shyly dashes away.
I know it was all part of the show and have no idea what he actually said, but who cares, every little bit is good for the ego. They then continued with the dancing. In Tonga they often smear a sticky substance on the dancers or newly weds and encourage the audience to plaster them with money, much to the chagrin of the banks who have to have the money sent away for industrial strength cleansing.
End of clinic Umu
The ministry did an Umu for us on the last day of the clinic. Mote stayed home all day cooking for us, apparently he did everything, except the last section of turning the pig which his son did after school. The feast was amazing! Thank you so much to the Ministry of Agriculture, to Mote for cooking and Nau for organising everything.
Markets, Markets, Glorious Markets
As much as I hate shopping, definately missed out on that gene, I love exploring markets and haggling for deals. Give me a market in a 3rd world country any day. The markets in Tonga did not disappoint. You could get anything from Levis to Old Spice to a fur coat.
Market day is called “The Fair” and runs on weekends. It is the place to be and thing to do, not only because you see everyone you know but its also the best time to find the random little necessities such as shampoo or imported canned fruit. It is hard to truly describe the 3 markets so here is a photo gallery dedicated to each one:
Market 1 – along main road
Market 2 – along water front, known as “the fair”
Fish section of The Fair
Market 3 – Fruit and Crafts
To follow: Adventures on the Island of ‘Eua, getting my flirt on and woodcarvings!