September 22, 2012

A trip along Vavau's Mahogany Ridge

MAHOGANY RIDGE, VAVA'U, Tonga - The second big event of Regatta Vava'u here was a pub crawl last night, an hours-long affair that started at one end of this small village and ended somewhere on the other side.

I can't tell you exactly where it ended up because after the first two spots, the Ovava Restaurant followed by the Aquarium Restaurant, it looked like I would have to start crawling and there is an entire week of festivities yet to be written about and photographed. Adm. Fox and I retired from the field a little early, but the pub crawl crawled on for hours.

It was a fancy dress affair with wild costumes and enough music to get everyone dancing in the streets. Quite literally dancing in the streets. And after partying at the first stop on the tour with beer, drinks and fantastic pizza, a crowd of maybe 100 revelers paraded down the street following the music blasting from a sound trailer.

I went dressed as a visiting journalist. Not that original perhaps, but then I did get a free beer for my efforts. Adm. Fox was in one of her drop-dead gorgeous Mexico outfits. She got a beer, too.

Earlier in the day Admiral Fox and I teamed up to cover a paddle boat race in the harbor. The affair was organized to kick off efforts to raise money for the Vava'u folks to purchase a traditional Tongan canoe (which cost about $18,000) to use in races against other islands.

The boat races died out some years ago when outboard motors took over all the inter-island boating. But with a little nudge, the organizers of the regatta believe they can get the competitions going again.

Today is Sunday in Tonga and everything shuts down so that people can attend church and then spend time with families. It is also a day of feasting here at Port of Refuge Villas (where we are staying for another four days). We will be feasting this afternoon with the family and other community members and the menu looks unbelievably good.

But we won't have far to crawl home afterwards.

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