Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tongan Beauty


Most all of our days were long while working in Tonga.  We got up with the sun and were on the road by 8:00 AM.  We generally would go to two or three different family history centers during the day and then have a leadership meeting in the evening.  We usually would get back to the hotel about 8:00 or 8:30 at night and then we'd spend a few hours doing computer work putting together reports.  So by the middle of our time there, we were just plain exhausted.  The last few days we rolled through on auto-pilot.  Still, I feel really good about all we accomplished and grateful for some of the special spiritual experiences we had there.

We definitely were not there to tour points of interest, but sometimes we got to stop along the way as we traveled from one training location to another to see some special places.

One place in particular we enjoyed while in Tongatapu was the blowholes.  According to
 World Travel Guide:

One of the most impressive sights in Tonga are the Blow Holes, found along the coastline at Houma, 14.5km (9 miles) from Nuku'alofa. Waves send sea water spurting some 18m (60ft) into the air through holes in the coral reef. This stretch of coastline is known as the Mapu 'a Vaea (the Chief's Whistle) by Tongans because of the whistling sound made by the geyser-like spouts.


Another special spot was Hina cave, were we stopped to eat lunch one day.  The beach there was gorgeous and then the cave was an intriguing spot to have a picnic lunch.

Apparently the nearby resort hosts entertainment in the cave at night - various Tongan dances are demonstrated, including a fire dance.  If we ever go back to Tonga, that's something we would like to see.  For this trip, however, we were just glad we got to see the place.

Another interesting spot was the Gate of Ha'amonga a Maui.  These giant stone have various stories associated with them.  They are made of coral limestone which is speculated to weigh several tons.

UNESCO has the following information about this giant archway:

"It is said that the 11th Tu'i Tonga, Tu'itatui, built the trilithon about 1200AD whilst in power. There are many theories about this construction. It is believed that it was used as a gateway to his Royal Compound, Heketā. The two upright stones are said to have represented his two sons, Lafa and Talaiha'apepe, with the lintel uniting the columns symbolizing the bonds of brotherhood. The Tu'i Tonga was concerned his two sons might quarrel after his death and erected the monument as a reminder to stay united. It was they who decided to move the centre of government to Lapaha in Mu'a (third capital). It is also said that they preferred a more calm anchorage site for their great double hulled canoes which were the most common means of transportation for long distance voyages in those days, and Lapaha offered the ideal site.

Of recent, after research of the Ha'amonga a' Maui initiated by the late King, His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, in 1967, the Palace Office in Tonga reports that the creation and importance of the Ha'amonga ‘a Maui is based on its relation to the sun, which is extremely significant in Tongan Culture for every day activities. Notches are found carved on the top lintel that indicate (1) the longest day, (2) the shortest day and (3) when the sun is directly above the equinox. The sun rises and sets at exactly the same spot and the Ha'amonga Archway pin points those points on the horizon. The sun equinoxes are the half way points in which the sun rises in accordance with the earth moving north and south. This archway is an entry and departure to the heavens that is observed by navigators, sea going farers, farmers, harvesters, and even the planters are some of the people that utilized the sun clock to assist their existence on earth."

So even though we were not their as tourists, we did get to see some beauty and places of interest.
Tonga is a fascinating place.

No comments:

Post a Comment