Arriving in Nuku Alofa by Ferry.

The Port.

Nuku Alofa Seafront.


The giant "Rain tree" (Monkey pod tree), downtown.

Some kine religious procession in front of
the famous "Friend's cafe", which is frequented by Gringos mainly.

Same street; the main strip.


TongaTapu could probably compete with Nauru, Guam, or Easter Island,
for the "Ugliest and least interesting Pacific Island" prize.
Not a nice thing to say, but unfortunately, 'tis the cold, hard, naked TRUTH !

TongaTapu is a pancake, with some Coconut and Cassava plantations.
There is NO interesting plant life or scenery around....

...with the mind boggling exception of this bizarre Coconut palm
that has decided to ignore it's own DNA !!!

On an Island tour, courtesy of Tony (in the mirror).

That's about as interesting as it gets....sorry.

A Mormon (moron?) church, and the entrance to the King's mansion.

A Tui burying mound/pyramid.
The ancient Tui were half human, half gods.

The Maui Trilithon.

A beach on one side of the Island and the breaking wave lookout
(forgot what it's called) on the other side.

TongaTapu can have some good waves occasionally.
I got this photo from a friend who was out with some Brazilian surfers.
Not bad......not bad at all.

Another OK stop on the Island tour.
A run down kine resort, with nice Ocean scenery.

Here's yet another stop at...

"The Arch"

Tony's guest house.

Kava night at Tony's.

Students coming home from School.

Brando shopping for trinkets with his girlfriends.

Corned Beef, the main local food ingredient =
Tonga is a HARSH culinary experience.

OK let's go ! To Fiji !

Below, please find scribbles of an enlightened man's first impressions of Tongan culture.

The Scoop: Tonga seems to be a country of heavy peer pressure and indoctrination, where individuals have little choice but to CONFORM.
You'll be arrested if you speak un-kind words or insults about the nobles, or the King. The whole thing kind of smacks of totalitarian dictatorship.
Not withstanding the heavy rioting that occurred a few years ago, this totalitarian dictatorship is a sheep in wolf's clothing, goofy rather than sinister,
but it IS an extremely conservative country. It is illegal to be seen in public without a shirt on, and swim wear on the beach is out of the question, of course.
Tongans, like most Asians, swim in their street clothes, shocking but true; 'tis one of the fascinating and bewildering cultural experiences the unsuspecting
western traveller will encounter whilst backpacking in the Orient. I'm now having fascinating visions in my minds eye of a lost Tongan ending up on a
nudist beach while on holiday in a more normal part of the World, and the complete mental meltdown that inevitably would follow....hehehe, Culture...Clash !

No school exists in T that doesn't have intricate very "dressy" uniforms to identify it's alumni. All schools belong to a dozen or so flavors of
Christianity that are in charge of brainwashing the Nation's children to conform to the religious delirium that is gripping the Nation.
Most Tongan homes seem to have at least half a dozen portraits of a very gay hippie looking Jesus, sporting golden combed hair, with aura.
They REALLY, really, like this guy, almost as much as they like Pigs ! This is very strange indeed, because being gay is also illegal in Tonga.
Their fanatic devotion to Christianity started a century or so ago and put an end to the Tongans' cannibalistic ways,
and has seemingly substituted strong tribalism with the above mentioned many denominations of Christianity
that now compete for souls. Tribalism itself, of course, is mankind's common, ancient, fear based mentality which
has a predisposition to murder and overall genocidal tendencies that inspire the tribe to wipe out "the others",
perfectly embodied in modern sports !
It is indeed VERY hard to exorcise tribalism from the human psyche !

The only good thing with this Jesus-tribalism is that it might keep the crime rate down somewhat if they really think that a god is watching, although this theory is
quite flawed, as all one has to do after a Week of robbing, raping, and stealing, is go to Church on Sunday and beg for forgiveness (which is inevitably given as there
is nobody on the other end to say "No!"). This dynamic is all too evident in Jesus-freak laden latin America... ultraviolent indeed.
Christianity is now the only religion allowed by law and, I believe, is written into the constitution. It is illegal to work on Sundays, Hallelujah !
Sunday is when everyone is in Church and the air is filled with fabulous singing emanating from the hundreds of churches around the tiny Jesus obsessed Nation
(about one church per block ! Scaaary ! Even creepier than latin America !).
This theocracy is about as hardcore as it gets anywhere outside the Muslim world, a kind of Christian version of Saudi Arabia, with State mandated religion.
This institutionalized superstition amounts to little more than government sanctioned child abuse, in regards to the schools, and this medieval mindset will obviously
be a major obstacle to realizing Tonga's aspirations to become a modern, advanced Nation. The Kingdom of Tonga is a fabulously beautiful country, with friendly hospitable
people who are proud to never have been officially "colonized" by a Western Nation, BUT ironically it has been steamrolled by white man's religion and white man's bureaucracy.
The whole system of government is a banana republic carbon copy of Great Britain, with Lords n all. The king was even called King George and the nation has adopted English law
overseen by English judges. This is a nation where the nobles still rule the land with the King, but one cannot escape the goofiness factor no matter how much one tries,
especially when witnessing a traditional dance performed for the King's birthday, by his Majesty himself and the Princess, in front of gifts brought to him by his subjects:
a handsome collection of cans of CORNED BEEF !? (the national dish). Tonga is only outdone in the crackpot category by its neighbor Vanuatu with its cargo cults that worship
some WW2 soldier called John Frum, who brought them "cargo"; a character whom no sober man has ever seen and who may or may not have existed (kinda like his colleague Jesus).
I'm not sure if fanatically worshipping J.C. (& Cans of corned beef) is any less goofy, you decide. I guess they're still Can-ibals....hehehe, and...of course Christians pretending
to eat JC's flesh and drink his blood during the eucarist, while extolling the virtues of pain & suffering, like some sadomasochistic death Cult, is of course, a mere coincidence...?
hehe...You don't think so ? Me neither; the fanatical devotion to Sundays is just toooo big a coincidence my frieeend. No wonder they love J.C.!

Now you ask yourself the million $$$ question; Can you invest and live in such a place ? Ignore, and try to avoid, the inquisition...?
probably not, despite the fantastic Ocean environment and friendly people (and Corned Beef). Although conservative, Fiji seems a better bet, apparently on the path to distancing
itself from corruption and "the old boys network", as well as from religious influence in politics (separation of Church and State), and become a modern, advanced, tolerant Nation.
Fiji has the same fabulous Ocean environment, with even more places to go (at sea and on land), and, possibly?, has less "weird shit" going on as well as having even friendlier people
who, I'm told, speak even better English than Tongans. Fiji is also larger and more cosmopolitan, and is easily accessible (non-stop flight) from Asia or N America.
It is also possible to invest in freehold land in Fiji ! Halleeluuujah ! Heading over to check it out right now (2010)!
I suspect I will swap ALOOOHAA for NI SA BULA ! instead of MALO E LELEI. Pacific man I am.