Bates Family South Seas Sabbatical travel blog

Visiting the Sleeping Giant gardens

Local Fijian school

Total culture shock- back in the real world, of proper airports, cars without sellotape holding them togather, a radio in our room and playing "pop muzak" amittedly some early 80's rubbish, but Tonga only has one radio station that plays wall to wall religious music. Now up in the foothills above Nadi having flown in via Suva and some immigration proceedures very reminiscent of India (well, we are nearly in civilisation and there are a lot of Hindu people here) and it's all very beautiful, not flat as a pancake and feels distinctly normal. We are all struggling with this and are rather sad to have left the very lovable easy going, no problems desperately simple lifestyle that was Tonga.

Also the women here are wearing next to nothing- knees showing, sleeveless tops- shameful!!! And it seems that things will happen on a Sunday.

A couple of funnies, as I haven't really got even time at the moment to ramble on, but the first is that Tongans are big, very big. Not fat, just big. They have some great patterned shirts and we went shopping for some yesterday in the 1 street back water that is the capital city. Bought a couple for the boys, but Gordon was looking and couldn't find anything less than an XXXL size. So he asked and was helpfully redirected to where the assistant thought his size would be- in the childrens department!!!!!!

The other is that we arrived here, put our stuff in our room and pulled out our still damp swimming stuff to go swimming. Each time we arrive somewhere the bags seem to explode all over the room with, mostly, dirty clothes. Anyway, the staff had to put an extra bed in the room while we were in the pool and later when I asked if anything at all happened on a sunday and specifically asked about laundry saying we had some washing, all 3 staff started nodding vigorously and agreeing with me, so clearly our luggage (and probably we) are minging!!

Having seen the state it has come back from the laundry in, however, can't imagine much will be coming home, so no need for my washing machine to start panicking!

Slightly worrying what we will be wearing on the very upmarket cruise next week, just hope the Peru contingent will show some solidarity and look as rough as us!!

Tongan school was brilliant- the boys won't forget that one in a hurry.

More from a proper Internet cafe on Monday, I hope, as am currently in the hotel managers office as the other computers are defunct- so it isn't that civilised here!!

Lots of love Ness xx

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