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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Nuku'alofa

TONGA | Tuesday, 26 August 2008 | Views [874]

Today was my sixth day of my Pacific island travels. I got up at 8:15, washed up and made a cup of tea. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do today. I walked over to Toni’s house and used my phone card to call Teressa, but I only had like a minute left so it hung up before I could say goodbye. Afterward I went back over to the lounge and relaxed. Toni’s is made up of a few buildings: the green house, which is where the shared rooms are, the blue house, where the single and double rooms are, and then there’s Toni’s house. I’m very strapped financially on this trip because I’m heading to New Zealand on a working holiday visa, and I have to have the equivalent of NZ$4,200 in my possession when I get there. I sat for a bit and played some solitaire on my laptop and then decided to head into town. There were no drivers at the moment, so I began walking. At the main road I hitched a ride with a local who’s a personal trainer. He dropped me off across the street from the Royal Tombs. I stopped at a Western Union place and exchanged $20 before walking toward the supermarket. I just couldn’t remember where it was, so I was asking people and I kept being led in all different directions. It was very humid today so it made walking quite uncomfortable. When I asked one person where the supermarket was, he thought I was talking about the Talamahu Market, so I walked up there only to find out it was the wrong place. I walked another ¼ mile past the Royal Tombs and I finally found it. I just got a Red Bull and a water bottle and started walking back toward town. I hopped on a bus, which only cost 50 seniti. It was my first time riding a bus in Tonga. Buses are almost unnecessary here because you can hitch just about anywhere. I stopped at the Friend’s Café and got my usual vanilla French toast. Their bacon is also very, very good. After breakfast I decided I wanted to get my haircut. As I was looking around, I met a Peace Corps volunteer named Shannon. When she said she was American I kind of figured she’d be part of the Peace Corps because there aren’t many Americans in Tonga. I asked her if she knew “Enrique Lozano,” who is a Peace Corps volunteer that I met on CouchSurfing. She knew him and called him up for me, and he said we could grab lunch tomorrow at around noon. I said goodbye to Shannon and I was focused on finding a barber shop. I visited one place, but the lady only cuts women’s hair. There was a hut I was directed to, but she was dealing with two customers. I stopped at another place, and I was directed to another one a few blocks over. For only T$10 I got my haircut. It is more advantageous to have short hair while traveling because it is easier to maintain. I’ve done so much walking today and it was very muggy. Earlier when I was looking for the supermarket, I saw an internet café in which you could go online for only T$2 an hour, compared to T$5.50 an hour at the Friend’s Café. I was hoping Teressa would sign on to AOL Instant Messenger, but she didn’t so I thought I’d call her later. I was online for two hours just sitting back and surfing the net. For most of this trip I’ve just been sitting back; most others I’m running around all the time. Therefore, this trip has been more of a vacation rather than “travel” as I put it. In regards to Tonga getting few tourists, I was talking about last night about how there is no “tourist anonymity” here, meaning there is a high likelihood of seeing the same tourists in a few different places, or more than once. In Iceland last year, I saw several of the same tourists in various places because few people visit there. Afterward, I walked up to the Friend’s Café and got a postcard and stamp so I could write to Teressa. I sure miss her! I picked up a phone card and called her; she is the only person I’ve called on this trip because of the high costs involved. I was hanging out with Mateaki for a few minutes. On this trip I’ve had several people ask me if I could help them find a husband or wife in the U.S. There isn’t much of a reason to because the U.S. is not such a good place to live. Toni picked us up at about 4:30 and we headed back to the guesthouse. I met a pretty girl named Diamond. She is Tongan but was born in New Zealand and lives in Australia. It started to rain, and is the first good rain I’ve seen here. Diamond wanted to go to the store so she could get ingredients to make mushroom pasta, so we got ready and walked up the dirt road. Michael saw us and picked us up so we could go to the supermarket. We picked up some backpackers at the post office before going to the market. I got some body wash and a bottle of ginger beer and Diamond got a bottle of wine and said we could share it later. Michael left us and dropped off the other guys at Toni’s before coming back to get us. I went in and took a shower and washed up really well. I’ve gotten kind of accustomed to taking cool showers. I washed my shirt and hung it up to dry. For dinner I cooked a can of spaghetti, which was really good. Miia was headed to the Ha’apai island group tonight. I definitely have to come back to Tonga, and I will! I really want to visit the Niuas in the way north. I hung out with Diamond and had some wine, listened to music, and shared travel photos. I’ve been to 15 countries now, yet I have many more to go! As far as traveling goes, I’ve only got my feet wet. Diamond went and visited some relatives for about a half hour and then came back and decided she was going to go to bed. She said we can go to the beach tomorrow. I’ll sure miss the crystal blue water when I leave. Only a week or so ago was the king’s coronation; that would have been exciting to be in Tonga for event like that. Diamond told me earlier that she’s been in the same church as the king and it was exciting for her. She is here for work and works as a recruiter for an industrial relations company. She was bored out of her mind tonight and was making it clear. Anyways I just sat and relaxed for a good while. I haven’t been in Nuku’alofa at night yet on this trip, so I should do that tomorrow night in addition to lunch with Enrique and the beach with Diamond. I’m slightly sunburned from yesterday’s outing at Panga’imotu. I’m going to get to sleep. Good Night!

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