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Tonga – Days 178 to 208 cont… Umus and markets

12 Sep

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.

the group


This little piggy came to dinner

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.

Our Host


Dancers

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.

mmmm pig, thats whats for dinner


Mote the chef


Food glorious food!

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

from traditional to modern


all you need or don't need


these somehow disturb me


Lovely people


Jolly jumper with your lawn mower???

Market 2 – along water front, known as “the fair”

Fur coat in 90C weather anyone?

when it rained...it poured


what can I say...


A vital part of any Tongan wardrobe

Fish section of The Fair

All the colours of the rainbow


Got crabs?

not quite sure... but its meant to be edible

Market 3 – Fruit and Crafts

Fruit and veggies


peanuts!


tables and tables of produce


Tapa Handbag anyone?


beautiful people


Market street


negotiating for Tapa


Sita painting Tapa

To follow: Adventures on the Island of ‘Eua, getting my flirt on and woodcarvings!

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2 Comments

Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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2 responses to “Tonga – Days 178 to 208 cont… Umus and markets

  1. Barb

    September 12, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Loved seeing the market photos! Those very large T-shirts brought back memories of a trip to Hawaii. My girlfriends & I had gone to a show at the Polynesian Village (similar to the performance you saw) & when we came out our rental car would not start. So, as we stood there looking under the hood (without a clue) three HUGE guys came towards us. We were shaking in our shoes. Turns out they were Tongans attending college in Hawaii & they kindly fixed our car.

     

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