Today we wake to the sounds of waves breaking on the beach, chickens clucking, pigs snorting and one especially hoarse sounding rooster yelling his head off. I for one would like to ring his cock-a-doodle neck. After getting to the restaurant we find out it is actually 9:00am already but neither of us has a watch nor anywhere to go so who cares? We decide to sit at a table out on the beach and Fu'naki is right there with a plate of fruit, tea, coffee and toast. One can actually have hot or cold meals served almost any time anywhere at the resort, in your room, on the beach, at the bar or in the restaurant. This suits me just fine, put the food down and I'll find it!
On our first full day, all we want to do is lay about, read a book and soak up the sun; so that's exactly what we do. After saying goodbye to Marla and Jim, the American couple we met yesterday, we both decide to lie on chaise lounges on the beach and read the books we have brought with us from New Zealand.
All this peace and serenity lasts about five minutes, until I realize I can read a book anywhere. We brought a small, hand held, fishing line with us (don't ask me why) so I decide I'm going to do some fishing off the small boat-dock at the end of the stone pier in front of the resort. I mention my plans to Fu'naki and she has a large frozen bait-fish sent out from the kitchen. An hour later I have nothing to show for my efforts except sunburn and the sun-bleached skeleton of a bait-fish. I think I would have had more luck if I tried to hit the fish on the head with the sinker.
Later in the afternoon we get to resume our friendship with Marla and Jim as they return having missed the only plane off the island that day. Apparently Marla wanted to change some money at the bank, got caught in a long line, and ended up late getting to the airport. The plane was actually still there but the door was closed and the engines running. Marla and Jim thought they would surely shut down the one engine and open the door. They thought that even as they watched it roll out on to the runway and lift into the sky waving its wings goodbye.
Poor Matthew was driving them and now he gets in trouble for letting them miss the plane. It really wasn't his fault as Marla insisted on going into the bank to exchange her Tongan money. They will now also miss their plane to Hawaii and there won't be another for two days. They will catch tomorrow's plane to Nuku'alofa but they will have to spend the night there… if they can find a place to stay.
Marla is quite upset but since it didn't happen to us, I take the news quite calmly, have another 'Tonga Sunset' and ponder the situation. I finally decide, we are so far from anywhere, it you miss the plane, you can't get there from here any more! You have to go somewhere else first. 'Tonga Sunsets' seem to clarify the thought process.
After the American's had left Murray said he was going to serve lobster for dinner. I had suspected he waited until they were gone, thinking they would miss the plane on purpose just to enjoy the dinner. Although I don't want to mention it, I am convinced, more than ever, that they knew the dinner menu before they left! Again, 'Tonga Sunset' logic proves itself infallible.
This night, we experience what has to be the most memorable time of our entire journey. A long wooden dinner table and chairs are set up in the sand on the beach, just inches from the water and under the stars. Hurricane lamps on the tables and tiki-torches stuck in the sand are provided for atmosphere lighting. Waves lapping on the beach, almost under our feet, provide the background music. All the guests sit together at the table, exchanging stories, drinking fine wine and enjoying a wonderful lobster meal. I don't think any of us want these moments to end.
Eventually, out of the darkness behind the cabins, comes the plaintive cry of my favourite rooster, the one with a bellowing voice and sore throat. Reluctantly, we say goodnight to our fellow travellers, return to our cabin, wash the sand from our feet in the steel pan and lock ourselves in behind a piece of string wrapped around a metal hook. Wow, what a day.
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