Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Massage from Hell

Oh a massage, sounds like such a good thing.  Well not always.

Several months ago I twisted my ankle.  This should come as no surprise to those who know me...I did fail kindergarden because I could not 'walk and talk at the same time'.  At least that is what I was told, and I choose to believe it.  This twist was fairly bad and after unsuccessfully vomiting a few times I went ahead and just laid on my front porch waiting for the pain to go away.

Enter my landlord.  I am just hopping around my house at this point and my landlord shows up to do some yard work.  I hop out to him and he asks whats wrong.  I tell him I twisted my ankle and he asks to see it.  For future reference to anybody in Tonga...DO NOT let anybody try and 'heal' anything except a doctor.

I sit down and give my my foot and he begins to massage out the pain.  This as you can imagine does nothing but cause me large amounts of pain as this sick sadistic man continues telling me it will 'be alright'.

Well that is my story for today

Friday, January 30, 2009

Where you going?

So...where are you going? Kinda rude when you ask a random person. Right? Well not so much here. There are a lot of small cultural nuances in Tonga of which I will cover a few.

1. Where are you going?

It is entirely appropriate for anybody to ask you where you are going. This takes a little while to get used to since in the US it is almost not appropriate for people you do know to ask where you are going.

The good news is that you do not really have to tell anybody where you are going.

-=Sample Dialog=-

Random Dude: Alu ki fe? (Where are you going?)
Me: Eva pe (Around)

Success! Which brings me to my next cultural difference.

2. Liar!

It is ok to lie in Tonga. Seriously...I have not run into anybody who was not from overseas who said someone was lying in a negative way. Of course most of the lies are pretty innocent, but can be frustrating none the less. A lot of the lies actually part of what I'll mention next.

3. No means yes...wait...yes means no?

If you ask a question that someone does not know the answer to...they will give you the answer that they think you want. That can be cool for questions like 'can I have some of that food', but not so much for questions like 'is the bread store open' or 'am I dressed ok for this funeral'.

Well that is it for now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

People are watching

Living in a fishbowl.  That is PC term used for 'people all up in your business'.  Welcome to Tonga, please check your privacy to the left.

I guess it really is not that bad, but I still wish I could ride my bike around without random people yelling my name.  I kind of have this habit of turning to people when they call my name.  This does not work out so well with the whole bike/pothole thing.

So in honor of my new blog (please read the last post to figure out where to get old posts) I will try to post a cultural difference between Tonga and the US everyday for a week.  Even if I get lazy I will change the timestamps anyway, so hah :D.

For today we will discuss the Ta'ovala.  Well let me show you a picture of one first

The ta'ovala would be that yellow mat around my waist.  The Ta'ovala is used for all formal occasions (including work) and is probably most closely associated with a tie in US/European culture.  The one you see there is a little more formal and is being used for church.  The ta'ovala itself does not need to be plain.  I have worn some with feathers and varioius other colors.
There are special ta'ovala's for funerals, weddings, and even a different (although not special) kind used for day to day use (more comfortable and crochetd instead of weaved).
On a more personal note, these things can be really uncomfortable.  The one you see me wearing there cuts off any air into the lower area of the body, and it turns out to be hot in the South Pacific.  There is also the kafa which is used to tie it.  Most are made of woven coconut husk, but some are made of human hair (those really itch!).
Well hope this has been informative :D.

Older Posts?

I have decided for sanity's sake to not import my old blog to this one.  However if you wish to view my older posts (and a bunch of older photo's) then head over to http://eelozano.vox.com .  If you're wondering why I would come over from Vox to here, it is because Vox is a little resource intensive...and in a developing country that can be roughh.

So google wins again :D.