Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A moment on land

The four-day port call in Tonga has turned my thoughts back to solid
ground. It's sort of a mixed blessing, getting off the ship for a few
days -- on the one hand, if I didn't have a chance to sit out on the
beach and sleep for a few hours before the next leg, I would probably
lose my mind; on the other, walking under trees and riding around in
taxis makes for a potent reminder of what's waiting for me back home.
My roommate Carrie just wrote to tell me that my hops are eighteen
feet tall. Imagine that! They were two-inch little twigs when I left.

Here in Tonga, Roxie and I took a cab up the coast to a nice little
beach resort for a day. I hit the sand hard, and stayed there. Roused
myself a couple times to go for a swim, get a bite to eat, and talk to
interesting strangers; but mostly I spent my 24 hours of freedom
laying on my towel and reading.

Then it was back to the boat. When we got to where we were supposed to
meet our professor for a nice bite to eat and final wrap-up
conversation before he flew home, we found not Pete, but a message
that something had gone wrong in the van, and we needed to head back
to the wharf instead. You could hear our stomachs hitting the floor.

Fortunately, it wasn't a huge deal, and we still got to go out to
dinner. It was one of those 'cultural dance' nights at a local hotel,
the third I've been to on this trip -- and, incidentally, the third at
which I've been selected to be the foolish tourist invited up on stage
in the middle of the performance. You'd think I had a sign on my
forehead that read "mock me" or something (and the tattoo artist
_assured_ me that it means "dignity"). Fortunately, this time I wasn't
the only one, and could thus avoid the epic antics demanded by the
previous occasion.

But now I'm back on board, and have but a brief foray into town
tomorrow to acquire supplies (including, gods willing, tofu) between
me and the open ocean. Ah, well. It's not often you get a chance to
implement all those improvements you thought of right away...

More blogging should hopefully be one of those improvements, through a
combination of more sleep (the #1 goal of the second leg!) and my
discovery that I can post via email. Miraculous!

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