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Travel: PART 1 The Secrets of the Islands Beyond Nukalofa Fafa Island Resort
by al armiger

tonga_8
tonga_8
A long slow strictly adhered to 40 kph taxi ride across the island finally had us at the wharf. Here, we along with two other couples transferred to the big open cockpit of a flat bottom motor-sailor. The two large Tongan boys who boarded us and stowed our luggage, then eased the boat into the bay like smugglers in the dead of night.

With the sails up and the motor labouring below, we edged our way toward the island of Fafa; the final approach over the coral reef making it very apparent why a flat bottom boat was the vessel of choice.

A cigarette glow was the only indication of the approaching mobile pontoon that would transfer us to the sandy shore. Villiís presence emerged from the darkness standing on the beach, silhouetted like the proverbial brick toilet block, but with the elegance of a butterfly. He was epitome of pacific hospitality, ensuring that we all were sufficiently replete before signing us in and escorting to our respective fales.


tonga_9
tonga_9
By default we had been allocated the honeymoon fale and it was! Down a white sand path through the trees and plants was a traditional styled house set in its own private Eden. Access to the sandy beach was just through a gap in the hedge of hibiscus and the like.

The interior was simple but elegant in traditional furnishings and with a large double bed, duplicated again on the mezzanine loft and both enveloped in cascading white netting. An en suite was on the open rear garden deck, discreetly screened for privacy.
Almost continuous French windows surrounded the living area, allowing one to be as open to the garden as one pleased. Security was not an issue; in fact we had not even been given a key.

In the morning on the large deck surrounding the waterside bar, we would meet Renate and Josef, two of the proprietors. Their Germanic disposition in combination with their warm and friendly nature had them operating the place efficiently but with a relaxed ambience. They were unobtrusive yet available. Indeed Villi and the girls seemed to work well without undue supervision and they had the confidence to engage the customers with their island charm.


tonga_7
tonga_7
But the real display of island talent was one night after an island buffet feast of baked fish, marinated fish, fish in taro leaves with coconut milk, even crayfish and of course chicken and steak as well all served with crisp salads and vegetables. The staff decided to do an impromptu concert. With Villi as mc, they and some of their children, paraded one after the other to dance whilst smeared with coconut oil, the purpose of which was originally to stick pieces of tapa cloth, the practice now superseded by bank notes. I did notice however, some of the boys tucking notes into the coconut bra of one of the many fakalaiti (she-males) much to her titillation.


tonga18
tonga18
Some would dance to the rhythms of the kava driven musicians in the corner, and others opted for more upbeat tunes of the electrically driven, but poorly cued CD player.


tonga_6
tonga_6
Fafa Resort was an idyllic place, good for a wind down and just kicking back, perhaps snorkelling in the lagoon or kayaking before the tide got too low. It has just 16 fales and you could walk around the exclusive island in just 20 minutes, tide permitting. Guests there tended to keep to themselves and the whole set up of the resort lent itself to that.

It was now time to move on. Because only two of us required a transfer, the smaller speed boat was used. It had us hastily back to the wharf, only to embark once again on the sedentary 40 kph taxi ride back to the airport.