Day 29–Thurs., Feb. 3, 2011–Nuku Alofa, Tonga

     Yes, I skipped Wednesday because we crossed the International Dateline.  We were lucky enough to dock today, so we don’t have to take tenders.  Strict religious mores dictate attire – fines can be imposed for violation of the code by anyone (including palangi [foreigners]).  Shorts and bathing suits are OK at the beach and poolside, but should not be worn elsewhere.  We were told our knees and shoulders should be covered.  The Kingdom of Tonga, although protected by Western powers, has never been ruled by them.  This is evident on the island as traditional Polynesian culture continues to be the way of life, even with the dawn of the modern era.  Although Tonga is the poorest of all the Polynesian islands, its rich culture, history and beauty are sure to make up for its economic shortcomings.

     We took the shuttle bus (a crowded little van) into town.  It was around 85 degrees but felt like 95.  Street signs were hard to come by so following the map was really useless.  We did see some lovely flowers. 

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We did find the pharmacy and bought some pills.  We missed the market but found some local shops and bought a couple of T-shirts.  We went into the Internet Café and the the woman said it was slow, but I could never get on. 

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We noticed quite a few people traditional clothing, grass skirts, men in sarongs and women wearing reed woven items.  Everyone was friendly and it was a peaceful little place.  We passed a place that was roasting an awful lot of chickens.  There were many under a tent with computers that almost looked like a school of sorts.

     Back on the ship we had lunch in the dining room.  Ray tried an Indian dish and didn’t like it.  I didn’t like it either.  We did a couple of loads of wash and relaxed.  Dinner tonight had a Dutch theme.  We all received hats.  At 11 they served Dim Sum in the Crow’s Nest for the Chinese New Year.

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Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth. –Martin H. Fischer-

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