13 April 2010

A trip to town in pictures

What does it look like when we go shopping for groceries? Sometimes the most menial tasks can reveal the most about a place.

We head out our door, leaving our dog behind to hang out with the cows in our yard; slipping on our black flip-flops, or silipas, we head out toward town.

In order to get to the main town, we cross a small ravine that fills up with a stream when it rains hard. Fortunately, it's been passable lately, allowing us to cut down and across and saving us 20 minutes of walking around the long way.

Looking back across the ravine in this picture, you can see the tall pines that surround my school and our house.

This dirt road starts at the end of the ravine path, which we walk up to get to several of the small shops in town. I'm carrying a trusty tote bag to carry everything back.

I'm also enjoying the luxury of wearing short sleeves and a "short" skirt (not ankle-length) because during errands, you can be more casual.

We forego one of the Chinese shops (in this picture) in favor of the only Tongan-owned shop. The door to the shop in the picture is right next to the van.

Next, we check "The American store" as we call it, because the owner gets frequent shipments of random goods from relatives overseas. We once scored real scrubber sponges, oatmeal, and unsweetened peanut butter there.

After finding what we can find at the small stores, we head to the market, but since it's not harvest season yet, all we can find are sad-looking piles of green bananas. During peak season, they have cabbage, tomatoes, and sometimes cucumbers.

Our last stop is the big Chinese store near the harbour.

Inside is a regular-sized grocery store with aisles of odd assortments of tinned fish, bags of flour, fresh bread, and laundry soap.

On our way back home, we pass by several typical in-town Tongan houses.

...and finally stop to look out across the water. The shadow in the distance is the main island of Tongatapu.


  1. Thanks for sharing your shopping trip in pictures!

  2. What a great tour! Thanks Elena and Mark!

  3. Aweome blog, this is just what I was wondering about. I can't believe how different this is from when your Mom and Dad were in the PC and we could only get letters after 3 months.

  4. Thank you for this great visual trip through town. Very cool!

    Don Watson

  5. yay! I love pictures! It helps to get a sense of day to day life for you two.


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