We had rented a cabin and were about to spend a week on an uninhabited island, Uoleva Island, in the Haap’ai Group of Tonga. It was an island we would have all to ourselves with absolutely breathtaking white powder beaches and crystal clear turquoise water (perfect for skinny dipping). There were no roads, no cars, no shops on the island. Flying Over the Dozens of Islands of Tonga As we flew over the islands of Tonga, the clear, blue atolls were amazing! We flew over island after island, atoll after atoll, with miles of white sand and the most brilliant … More… →
The Women of Tonga The women in the Kingdom of Tonga are beautiful and large. Many are over six feet all and well over two hundred pounds. In fact, the bigger you are in Tonga, the more respect you have. That’s a hard concept for people in North America – a place where slim and skinny are preferred by both men and women – to grasp. Fat people have little prestige in North America, the exact opposite of the cultural norm in Tonga. Even in beauty contests in Tonga, slim women are not considered to possess … More… →
I have always been afraid of spiders – I’m not sure why, but they just seem creepy. There are no dangerous wild animals in Tonga, and not many bugs, but they do have harmless spiders. Ouleva Island, Tonga We were on an uninhabited island, Ouleva, in the Haap’ai Group, an absolutely breathtaking island with white powder beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. We had this gorgeous Tongan island all to ourselves. Tonga – Ouleva Island Tonga – Ouleva Island I had read that there is only a big centipede (“molokau”), that had a painful bite, and a few … More… →
Tonga: Going to Ouleva Island We were flying from the Vava’u Group in Tonga to the Haap’ai Group, where we had arrangements to take a boat to an uninhabited island, Ouleva. At the airport, as we walked out to our small 8-seater plane, I noticed the pilot was actually leaning out over the nose cone of the plane cleaning the windshield! Tonga Pilot Tongan plane But I’m Not a Pilot A few minutes later, I was standing outside waiting my turn to go up the stairs into the plane, when the pilot came over, pulled me aside, and … More… →
Tonga is probably our favourite place in the world; a gorgeous chain of South Pacific islands with crystal clear turquoise water, white sand beaches, and sweet people. It’s the kind of place that is in your travel dreams. Tonga: Vava’u Group of Islands The second island we stayed on was in the Vava’u Group of islands, at Talihau Beach, at Lucky’s Beach Cabins. In Vava’u it was unusually hot, but we had a lovely fale (small house) at the end of a peninsula where there was the perfect cool breeze blowing off the point, and a gorgeous blue lagoon. Talihau’s … More… →
Our taxi driver from town was hilarious. “How do you know when a Tongan has had enough to eat?” he says, grinning. Since the larger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, we were curious to hear the answer. “When he only has enough room for… one more plateful!!!” He laughs heartily. We laugh with him. Tongan Sense of Humour All of the Tongans we met had a big broad smile and laughed easily. We thoroughly enjoyed their easy sense of humour. How much fun it is to be … More… →
Ever since taking an anthropology class at university, and reading about the Kingdom of Tonga, I had longed to go there. Kingdom of Tonga Anthropology of the Kingdom of Tonga Reading that the bigger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, shocked me. There was also something about cultural sexual norms hundreds of years ago that included encouraging teenagers to experiment with both sexes. Interesting. And many many years ago – cannibalism was the norm in Tonga. The people were family oriented, gentle and super friendly! Then there was the intrigue of pristine, crowd-less and peaceful Polynesian … More… →
First of all, there is something I need to explain. What you are about to discover is that in this country…. … the bigger and the broader you are, the more prestige you have! Quite a reversal from the cultural expectations in North America! Every time I tell someone about the big men and women on this South Pacific Island nation, especially women, they say, “I want to move there!” And well anyone might want to just that. It is jaw-dropping beautiful! This is Tonga. People in Tonga are enormous, often over six feet tall, and well … More… →
<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14946963/?claim=p7xrnf7smrm”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a> We all want to go to a beautiful, fascinating, relaxing place, but wouldn’t it be great if that could be one of the cheapest places as well? There are such places – more than you might think. The only reason we can afford to travel at least once a year is because we find the cheapest places. Since we live in Canada, we tend to travel during the long cold winter and we look for the best and cheapest places to go. Even on those years that I have said to my husband that … More… →
Explore the Elements is a Photo Contest from Thomas Cook that has invited writers and photographers to showcase the images they’ve captured on their travels. The challenge is to submit photos that capture the essence of each of the elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. I have accepted that challenge. Although it is not a voting contest, please let me know if you think my images are worthy of consideration by the judges. The judges will choose the best photos in each category. The top prize is a 5000 pounds travel fund! We could really use that to bring you stories of our … More… →
We’ve travelled to over 30 countries, and each one had something special, unforgettable and memorable. But upon careful review, do we have any travel regrets? Have we travelled to any places that we wish we had not gone to? There are a few that stand out above others as the best with no regrets whatsoever, like Tonga, New Zealand, Uruguay and Venice, but then there was also China, and Ireland… oh, and Croatia, and Scotland… and France and Mexico and Hungary… there are so many incredible memories, and so many fantastic places! So… ummm… let me … More… →
Our dear friends survived a major cyclone in Tonga this spring. Their beautiful private island, Uoleva, and their amazing cabins on an absolutely perfect South Pacific beach were destroyed. Their entire resort was smashed and they were were lucky to withstand the cyclone alive. First, here are some photos of what Serenity Beaches looked like when we visited: Arriving at Uoleva Island, Tonga… notice the lush and green jungle… Our beautiful cabin home made of imported Indonesian hardwood… Our spa bathroom with outdoor shower… Solar lights line thick jungle path to gazebo restaurant… The perfect … More… →
Lost luggage is a fact of life for most travellers. It has rarely happened to me but it did once, at the worst possible time. Travel misfortunes are just to be expected. Ireland We had just arrived in Ireland, and I was given assurance that they would find my bags any day, and that they would be delivered to me. We moved on to stay in a perfectly enchanting castle (this is one of very few package deals I like – flight, car, and castle stay package for Ireland). It was bad enough making do with the few … More… →
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Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.
— Paul Theroux
Shirley and Mr. T
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