One morning Peter and the kids rented bikes to go to another beach, and I decided to relax down the local beach from the Hideaway Resort in 'Eua with a coconut. To reach the beach is just a 5 minutes walk though the bush, and very few people go there (mostly locals at low tide to collect seafood). This morning it was empty, all for me, and my coconut! What a treat!
It isn't easy to be a vegetarian in Tonga, so I am grateful for coconuts! After drinking the juice you can cut the coconut and scoop the flesh (or jelly, if the coconut is very young and fresh) with a spoon.
The coconut is really the tree of life!
We didn't have any problems in Nuku'alofa, the capital, since we stayed at the Little Italy hotel, plenty of Italian food, including pizza, pasta and very nice gnocchi. Breakfast was the usual hotel fare, with the addition of coconut buns.
One evening we visited the Oholei Beach Resort (in Tongatapu) for a traditional feast, followed by dances in the Hina caves (it was too dark to take good photos with my iPhone, sorry!).
It was very interesting, but sadly for vegetarians the only food on the buffet were the side vegetables (and the potato salad had eggs, ok for me, but I though of mentioning it if you don't eat eggs!). Then salad, taro, sweet potatoes and an interesting seaweed (the green bubbly thing in the centre), which was tasty and very salty.
We did much better with the traditional umu (tradition underground oven) dinner at the Hideaway, this too is quite meaty and fishy, but knowing that we were vegetarian they cooked the taro leaves staffed with vegetables in coconut milk separately, and I really appreciated this. Taro leaves in coconut are good!
It was also good to see the umu being lowered, and the coconut being scraped to make the milk.
At the Hideaway they let me use their kitchen: it is a very low key and relaxed place, and the menu had a vegetarian dish, but only one, and then salad or eggs and rice, so I brought over some food from NZ and cooked it there every second night.
And now for some highlights in 'Eua: one of my favourite was the gigantic Banyan Tree in the forest, it looked like something out of a story book!
And then the beaches, coral, birds, whales, butterflies and most importantly, lovely people.
In Nuku'alofa I liked the Talamahu market best, and behind the market there is a little Indian stall selling vegetarian curry and yummy vegetarian samosas, a life saver for lunch! We also went to the Friends Cafe (where all the tourist go) and this offers a typical Kiwi fare. The market samosa were better and much cheaper!
|Markets could be good to stock up in fruit and veggies, but unfortunately you need to buy a whole basket at once. Road side stalls are better for buying small bunches of bananas and papayas. Mangos are available around December.|
Tonga has plenty of churches, just pick one for Sunday service to listen so some amazing singing!
... but I regret that I cannot show you a photo of my top tourist spot and swimming experience in Tongatapu: the Anahulu Cave. Better to have a torch to enter, then they put some lights on (not very bright, but it is quite cool dark!) and you walk down an underground fresh water swimming pool. Highly recommended!
'Alu A Tonga!
Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©