Only a few days after getting back from Pangai, Sione, a fellow PCV in Pangai, came to Ha’ano for New Year’s festivities. New Year’s Eve “festivities” would elicit a certain image to most Americans. Let’s not be too hasty.
Sione arrived in the afternoon, and after cooking dinner, we went to church. At 10pm. Until 12:30am. Tongans rang in the new year with a preacher shouting about something I couldn’t understand. (I heard words like “important,” “year,” and “we.” I hope Tongans understood more.)
Since my bedtime here in Tonga is generally 10pm, I was quite exhausted after the two-and-a-half hour church service. People in town, however, collected on the one road under the one streetlamp, to be talk, shout, and generally be loud. (That’s how it seemed to me, trying to go to sleep.)
At about 5:30am, Sione and I left to head to the NE-facing side of the island to be some of the first people in the world to see the sunrise in 2010. We sat on a rocky cliff ledge, had breakfast, and, despite a cloudy morning, saw a pretty cool sunrise.
Sione had expected to go home the day after, so the next morning, we got up early to check for boats.
“No problem!” I said. “There will definitely be boats!” I claimed.
I was so wrong. Just as I looked towards the dock from my porch at 6:30am-ish, I saw what turned out to be the lone boat that left that day for town. Before we realized he was stuck all that day (and since the next day was Sunday, and boats don’t run on Sunday, he was actually stuck until Monday), Sione asked some fishermen nearby what the deal was. The result was that one of them gave him an enormous fish. (I’ve lived here for several weeks, and I’ve never gotten a fish from the fishermen; he’s been here 2 days, and he gets a fish?) We spent the few extra days reading (a lot), cooking (with the minimal foodstuffs in Ha’ano – and that fish!), sitting around, kayaking, watching netball, and, on Sunday, going to church and kava.
(Continued in the next post …)