Today, I came across a quote by the late American food writer, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, who was famous for her wisdom and beautiful prose. She once wrote something like this:
“… every life has at least one fairy palace in its span. Usually these miracles happen when a person is young, but still wide-eyed enough to catch the magic that older people have forgotten or pushed away…Sometimes people can know two palaces before Lady Luck calls it quits, but of course they are never of equal enchantment…”
Tonga, located in the South Pacific region, is the easternmost country in the world. I have no idea if this is my fairy palace to be, but I am entranced. I have been traipsing in this somewhat beautiful Kingdom for a week and my stay is almost coming to an end. Mixed emotions that seem difficult to be put into words welled within me. After all, things are not always what they appear to be. Various conversations with different groups of the local population somewhat confuses me, as I try to figure them out. Tonga, with its unique and sometimes controversial culture, has a way of doing that.
In many Polynesian languages (including Tongan), the word “Tonga” means “South”. This may be attributed to the fact that this archipelago is the southernmost group of islands of central Polynesia. Blessed with a yearlong tropical climate, the weather is somewhat similar to Singapore, albeit a drier and windier one. And that’s where the similarity ends.
She is not your typical tourist destination, but Tonga has great potential. Beyond poorly paved roads, abundant insects/rodents and limited data network, this kingdom has lots to offer for those who can overlook modern convenience keep an open mind. Step back in time, to a life of raw nature and kampong spirit.
Unspoiled beaches with beautiful corals and colourful fishes line the coast, while coconut trees among other greenery, grow in abundance within this small state. Tonga’s strategic location also allows her people to enjoy the first sunrise in the world (if one is able to crawl out of bed).
But there are more to Tonga than these. Amid my short stay, my observations may be inadequate, so do not take my words for it. This is a place full of myths, legends and stories (sometimes a fantasy, sometimes true).
I am still trying to figure it out.
~To be continued~
The above information has been complied based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. Check out http://www.thekingdomoftonga.com/ for more information on the Kingdom of Tonga.