12 Jun, 2013
Society - Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

Some of you might know this story from facebook already, here it is for everybody again, because it is a good example for a different lifestyle, an alternative to what a lot of us would call necessaries in our life in the modern world:

We were once visiting a little Kingdom in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is called Tonga. We picked it, because it is the least touristy out of say Hawaii, Fidji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu ... Anyway, Tonga also happens to be the only one out of whole Oceania not to be ever colonialised by any of the Western countries. The king is driven in an old London cab, just because he likes the space he got in it! Well, we lived in a little ecoresort constisting of 3 beach huts (we were the only guests at the time) run by an Australian couple living in Tonga for a long time, they chose to stay because they fell in love. How come? Well, it's paradise. But that's not the point or not the whole. The island is pretty laid back, there was NO single foreign industry to be found on the island, but Shane and Chris told us, some people where interested to come ... See if that ever happens, not so long as we were there. We also saw maybe 2 or 3 other tourists during our one week stay. One day we were on the market buying food, actually I never ate better Mangos before, you could literally pick them up from aside the street and eat them straight. I wanted to buy some chilis, the people on the market where super cool, I haven't experienced this before. They were just chatting, no one really took notice of us. That was astounding. We were so used to people trying to sell you something from those places like Hongkong, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos was a bit more relaxed and Thailand is just fun … Anyway, I wanted only two chilis for our dinner, the woman looked at me and laughed, she gave me a bunch of say 10 or 15 chilis. She could not speak English but she laughed and made me go away without having to pay anything. It reminded me of a book called "Don't sleep, there are snakes" by Daniel Everett, it's about a tribe called the Pirahã, in Brasil. A white American once came to visit them and to missionize them. He ended up living together with them, living their lifestyle. They are said to be one of the happiest people in the world, they don't know numbers, they only know 1 or many. When I walked away with the chilis I thought this is a good way of seeing it …

Anyway, we also experienced the craziest thing ever. A really strong cyclone called Rene hit Tonga the last day we were there, it was massive and we needed to spend the whole night inside the concrete house of our hosts instead of our beach hut. Rene blew away most everything, but nobody died or anything really bad happend. But the most amazing thing was Rene hit Tongatapu the way that we 4 and other people around the island where inside Rene's Eye, it was fantastic and something you could never plan to experience, it's pure randomness. This meant the wind was blowing from mainland first, then there was a one and a half hour pause with absolute calm. We went to the beach, it was really quite spooky. Then the wind started picking up and increased to the same strength again now blowing from the sea. We got literally drowned by salt water. The next day all the leaves where dead because of the salt. That was the most special thing I experienced in my life so far …

But there was another really interesting thing. We visited the church on Sunday as Chris and Shane told us it was really interesting to see the people dress up. And we were amazed by the precious and colourful dresses the women were wearing. They sang wonderfully, kind of Gospel … They don't care about a special religion, you can believe whatever you like and come to church and listened to the pastor. He welcomed us by handshake, there were no other tourists and I didn't take any photos, that would have been inappropriate. So we just enjoyed his speech. And boy, he whipped the audience, he was angry. We couldn't understand what he was saying but he really had something important to say to his people … They seemed to believe him. If he was talking about any of the things we experienced during our visit to this special country he must have been right …

… we truly thought about staying in Tonga as we spent the whole year travelling and this was the best place we have seen, but we decided to move on to California and we loved it …




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