Fishing and Phone Numbers

Fishing in Tonga

I went fishing Saturday with two Tongan friends.  Both have a lot more experience fishing than I have and I was keen to get out and enjoy the day.    As it turns out, I caught the only fish of the day, a small grouper which I landed shortly after we threw our lines in the water.

However the trip was a great Tongan experience.   My two friends, like most Tongans don't have rods and reels.  They have fishing line, some fish hooks and some weights.  My weight was a small piece of rebar with the hook tied about 12 inches above it.   We used pieces of smaller fish as bait.

I felt a tug on my line, but didn't really think I had a fish, but when I pulled it up, there was the fish in the photo above.   Six hours later and it was still the only fish we had caught but we did do a great job of feeding the fish underneath us because they kept eating the bait.

The fish weren't the only ones eating.   When we first got out on the water, my friends pulled out a big container of sandwiches, probably 20 sandwiches for the three of us.    Then once we got to the spot where we dropped anchor, out came more food.  A big can of fatty meat and a huge bowl of root crops.   Tongans love to eat and even when fishing, we had more food than the three of us could eat.

As we headed back to shore, we ran out of gas.   We were near the shore, but still a good distance from where the car was parked.   We ended up spending more than an hour swimming the boat back.

New Phone Number

I now have a new phone number.  It is 12566.   I had to switch after Digicell customers were shut off from being able to call TCC cell phones and land lines.  Since most of the people I know have TCC, I finally made the switch.   Digicell launced here in May with a huge fanfare and a great marketing campaign.  Unfortunately, their marketing has not lived up to its hype.  

Because of the problems, the Peace Corps has had to issue Digicell phones to its key staff because in the event of an emergency, we would be unable to call Peace Corps or even the police from our Digicell phones.     There has also been another annoying problem here in Vava'u.  If a Digicell customer sends a text message to a TCC customer, the TCC customer will get the message 25-30 times.    I didn't really want to give up my phone number but finally realized it wasn't worth the hassle to keep the Digicell phone.   

Now here's a funny story about my new phone number, compliments of my friend Alice, who also switched from Digicell to TCC.   The last four digits of both our new phone numbers are 66.  If you say the number 66 fast in Tonga, you are actually saying a slang term.  So unless I'm careful, when I give out my new phone number, I'll be saying my number is "125 Bend Over".

Empty Shelves in Vava'u

It's been three weeks since a boat brought supplies to Vava'u.  All of our groceries, supplies, mail etc come up on one of two boats that usually arrive on Wednesday each week.   Both boats have been out of service and you can tell it by walking into any store in Vava'u.   A small boat did show up on Saturday with some chicken, other food and some mail, but there still is not a lot in the stores.  But don't worry, we are not going hungry.   Tongans grow a lot of their own crops and there is still plenty to eat, just not the stuff (like chicken and milk) which are imported from New Zealand.

We are expecting a boat this week.   

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