Monday, December 14, 2009

Tourism Festival in Tonga

Today was the tourism festival here in Ha'apai, and since I now work for the tourism bureau I took lots of photos for them and for the new website. I also got roped into being a judge for the English speech competition on the importance of tourism here in Ha'apai. It was supposed to be a tourism week, but was cut down to only one day-long event of a float parade, arts and crafts display, speech competition, and lots of dances and singing competitions. It is a little odd that they have the tourism festival in December, when there are absolutely no tourists around in the off-season, but they do have more overseas Tongans back in Tonga for the holidays. Some of the highlights - one of the floats had actual running power tools on it (pretty sure that wouldn't be allowed in the US for safety reasons!), another had a live fire pit going that they were feeding with leaves from the bush, it was the float for the local restaurant and they were pretending to cook! I was really impressed with how decked out all the trucks and cars were for the parade, and how many there were for our small town - about 25! In attendence we had the Ambassador of China as guest of honor, Miss Tonga and Miss Tonga Tourism. Another highlight - judging the English speeches by high school kids, I realized one of the speeches I had actually helped edit and write - the Governor's office had asked for my help for a speech I'd assumed one of them was giving, but actually it was for this high school kids' speech competition! It was pretty obvious that other adults had written many of these speeches when the kids couldn't pronounce many of the words. And there were still many mispellings, my favorite was "scooper diving" instead of scuba diving. It seemed like a few of the kids had written their own speeches, so I tried to judge those with higher scores. I'm not sure who ended up winning, we left before the prize-giving since we'd already been there over 5 hours and just couldn't sit through anymore singing and dancing.
We also heard today that there's a cyclone category 2 in Fiji, heading our way maybe on Wednesday or so. We'll see what happens, the waves have been pretty big so we'll probably get some kind of storm here. I think we're pretty used to the natural disasters now so we're not too worried about this one.
*Update on Cyclone Mick, it's heading farther south now so will probably miss Tonga and we'll just get strong winds and rain here.

1 comment:

Cristine said...

Great blog. very interesting