Today is perfect. The weather couldn’t be better: cool, breezy and the sun shines between fringes of palm fronds and glossy, green banana leaves. A light stream of smoke wafts through the air, but it is pleasant. Like a cozy fire at Thanksgiving. All around me, neighbors pound their wooden clubs on paper mulberry bark, making the renowned Tapa cloth — a craft that is slowly dying in the South Pacific.
Tong, tong, tong, tong.
That sound has pounded on for eight hours now. Without stopping.
This is Tonga Time, where days are spent under the shade of a mango tree, where music comes from Tapa clubs, where the sunlight makes even the pigs running along the streets of town look clean. It’s where hours while away on a single email attachment that refuses to download. And it’s where the freshest fish, the biggest taro and the sweetest papayas all cascade into your senses until you forget how much you miss those clean, well-stocked isles of your grocery store back home. Mostly, because it all just seems so far away.