We ended up at this luau & Tongan food fest put on by a local entrepreneur in an Oceanside cave. Just getting there reminded Greg of one of hazards of land bound life outside America…
Seriously, either there’s something in the North American water supply or all those growth hormones we keep feeding our cows and plants are rubbing off because back home Greg is able to pass though most passageways without being actively molested by the ceiling. A feat he has a much more difficult time with everywhere else in the world.
Remember how in Vava’u we noticed that the men’s dances had a lot more movement than the women’s? Yeah that’s because the men’s dances in Tonga were actually used for the teaching and practice of armed and unarmed combat.
We should remind you that whole “friendly island” nickname thing was a big misunderstanding surrounding an assassination attempt of the first European explorers gone wrong at where again? One of their dances.
What was really awesome about this luau and what differentiated it from the others was the owner / MC. Not only was he Tongan, he was extremely proud to be so and had some great perspective on the history of his culture and the dance. To run into someone who is knowledgably about their culture, proud of their history and wants to share it with others is always a wonderful educational experience.
Oh wait, we almost forgot. They also had this guy who played the ukulele for us…with his TEETH!
You probably noticed the people walking up to the performers and putting money on them. In the States, handing dollar bills to performers is indicative of either exotic dancing or street performances, not professional artists working in a paid show. Here it is considered courteous to reward a good performance, even one in a professional venue, by giving the performer some money on the spot. Yet another lesson in the weird and varied world of tipping.
We also got to spend some time walking along the beach watching the whales play offshore.
Now you may be thinking that “hey, it’s so hot there that Greg went wading in the water and got his pants wet.” While yes it was in fact that hot, Greg had not gone wading (notice he was wearing boots on the beach, which should give you a hint at what’s coming…). See, when we set out on this trip, Greg bought a pair of zip off pants that convert from pants to shorts by zipping off. Versatile clothes = Great idea right? No so much. Cuz when you wear the shorts in the sun without the pant bottoms for a few months you end up with faded, two tone, permanent high water pants when you reattach the bottoms. Ok then, simple solution right? It’s hot out anyway Greg, just don’t wear the freaking pants and you won’t look like flood victim all the time. Bit of a difficultly with that philosophy on land, considering Greg’s blood type and all…
So between the swarms of blood sucking insects, awkward social situation where one person’s tip is another person’s insult, the low clearance hazards and the dancers that are actually training to kill while providing the evening’s entertainment…land can be a scary place.
For more on our run-ins with the social practice of tipping and how we’ve bumbled across its many faces click on “Tipping – Should we or shouldn’t we?”
About the authors
Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures. If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at www.CoastGuardCouple.com!