Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sio and his pool

Sio is Sesi's brother.
One day while in Tonga,
he took us to the seaside to enjoy a BBQ feast.

We started with freshly caught crab.
Yes Sesi is sitting on a roof.
The roof is of the wee house Kelemani has built by the bay
where the fishermen base themselves.

Base means they hang out until they see the fish jumping out in the bay
then they wade out to where they are can catch them in nets,
then wade back to shore.
It's pretty relaxed.

Sometimes there are lots and sometimes there isn't.
Such is fishing.
They fish primarily to feed their families,
but when there is a surplus they take them down to the Vava'u harbour
and sell them under a tree by the market.
I kind of wish I'd bought some fish when we were at the market
cause life can be hard when you live in a subsistence economy
with little cash in circulation.
But on the other hand, everyone is very generous and gives what they have,
 knowing when they are in need they will be helped.

But back to the eating...

This fishy was delicious.
Thrown onto the hot tin roof* until cooked perfectly.
Then on a taro leaf,
peal back the skin with that middle sized knife,
(there are only large knives in Tonga - it's a guy thing)
and hot, white fish flesh gobbled down quickly.
I seriously considered using the middle sized knife to fight Sesi for the fish.

BBQing in Tonga is a snazzy thing.
*Corrugated iron is put on the ground,
you light a fire with what ever is around,
then you can either just chuck what ever you are eating into the fire,
well those things with a skin you need to peal away
to get to the yummy morsel inside.

you can get another piece of iron,
shape it a little then angle it to made a cooking plate,
like a giant frying pan with no temperature gauge.

We also had beef that came from the funeral
(still to post about that!).
Sio just sliced off some beef fat,
threw it on the iron,
when it sizzled up, threw on some sliced up beef
and Bob's your uncle!
Surf and turf BBQ Tongan style.
Works for me.

What didn't work for me was raw fish.
When Sio mentioned it earlier,
I thought he meant marinated raw fish,
which I love but he didn't.
He mean actual raw fishy fish,
just caught fish,
only just stopped flipping out fresh fish,
snap its head off,
squish out it's guts,
fresh, raw fishy fish.

Sio with a fish who has just lost it's head
that he is about to squish it's guts out onto the ground and devour.
I thought he was going to start chasing me with it.
Which would have totally unfair cause he plays semi pro rugby in Australia
and I don't...
play rugby, get paid for it or live in Australia, or run or play with my food.

This is Sio's pool.
Well it's on the family land,
(land is a whole complex structure of 'ownership' but is much more straight forward
and honest than the Western version of a very similar structure but still complex).

It is the King's pool,
where the King, I guess of Vava'u would go to bathe.
The Queen too,
actually probably the Queen mostly.
I could easily see the Queen and all the women hanging out in the cool water
washing their hair and gossipping about the men.
That's what I'd do.

It's a fresh water stream of the most purest water,
that flows from under the rocks out into the bay.
It pools here naturally but has been helped by
Sio building a wee dam that allows the water to flow out under the dam wall.
Sio was rightly proud with his slice of land on the bay.
It's yet another slice of paradise in Tonga.
The pool was bliss after a walk in the hot sun,
it was a gem that reveled itself in it's cooling freshness.

And I'm not going to tell you where it is.

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