How to Make Fresh Coconut Cream

This is a follow-up to the previous post where Toni showed us how to climb a coconut tree. Here we’ll learn how to make coconut cream from scratch, so without further ado:  STEP ONE: Hoka Niu (Husk the Coconut)   Toni said a sharp stick, jutting from the ground, is normally used, but for convenience…

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Kilisimasi Fiefia! (Or a Very Merry Tongan Christmas)

Christmas in Tonga is refreshingly un-materialistic   Sure, there are the simultaneously bizarre, yet amusing store fronts dotting the dusty strip of downtown Nuku’alofa, and families often shop for a gift or two for the children, but otherwise, Christmas is all about family, church and community (and a little Christmas Eve bingo, natch).   An interesting addition to…

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Two Days (and a little history) in Ha’apai

Often overlooked, Tonga’s mid-island group, Ha’apai, comprises 62 islands (only 20 are inhabited), hides some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world, and cradles famous tales of nautical misadventures in its unassuming waters. Ha’apai, a History For instance, the mutiny, as in the Mutiny on the Bounty, occurred  in 1789, just between the…

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Darwin Awards

Tonga can be a hard place for dogs, and presumably for this reason, our adopted dog-who-still-won’t-let-us-pet-her, A/K/A “Ibu”, has been hiding her brood of two puppies deep under our back porch.  One of the puppies came out earlier yesterday and played with Sam a little during lunch time, but the other had yet to make an…

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How to Climb a Coconut Tree

  This is Toni: holder of (almost!) two Masters degrees, Tongan civil servant, husband to one excessively fit and pregnant young lady otherwise known as Amy (featured here, dutifully warming him up) and … coconut-tree-climber extraordinaire! Today, Toni will show us Palangis how to make fresh coconut cream, an ingredient staple of the South Pacific…

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Shell Diggers at Low Tide

This is the view Sam and I encounter every day, after walking or riding up a side road from our house for about one third of a mile. Our road ends here, at Vuna, which is the main road going along the coast of Nuku’alofa, Tonga’s capital city.  Not too shabby! The island you see…

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Thanksgiving in Tonga

Thanksgiving is a big holiday for most Americans, but when you’re an American in Tonga, it gets even bigger.  For starters, that over-priced frozen turkey you speculate over at your local grocery store?  Well, it’s a sacred acquisition here.  If you’re lucky enough to spot one in Tonga, you abscond with it immediately, regardless of…

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