Having trouble remembering the name of this blog?
Simply type into your browser tiny.cc/riverbend


If you find the text too small to read on this website, press the CTRL button and,
without taking your finger off, press the + button, which will enlarge the text.
Keep doing it until you have a comfortable reading size.
(Use the - button to reduce the size)

Today's quote:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another day in Paradise?

Ha'apai Holiday from finsnflukes on Vimeo.


Well, maybe not! Although the sun is shining again, the damage caused by Cyclone Ian will take many months, if not years, to repair. This video is from Fins'n'Flukes, operated by Brian and Sabine.

Horst has no email address but he pops in at Fins'n'Flukes when he comes to Lifuka once a month for his mail and other essentials. So I thought I email to Brian and Sabine the two WESTERN UNION Money Transfer Control Numbers, without which Horst cannot draw out the money so kindly donated by caring souls for the rebuilding of his 'fale Tonga'.

Their automated email reply was prompt: "Sorry but we are in Europe." I hope when they return they will find their whale-watching and beach house accommodation business still in one piece. Shortly after my visit in 2006, they had turned the old and grandly-named Niua'Kalo Beach Hotel into a charming little hostelry which now competes with the only other guesthouse and eatery in town for the limited number of people who find their way to this remote island group.

(For more on this, click here)

Yours truly at the entrance to the old Niua'Kalo Hotel in 2006

Well, that leaves me no choice but to email Craig and Magda at the Mariner's Café. I am on dangerous grounds here as the Irishman Brian and his German partner Sabine don't talk to the South African Craig and his Polish partner Magda, and vice versa (so much for there being no vice [versa] in Paradise!).

I don't know whether this is because of old rugby rivalries between South Africa and Ireland or because Germany invaded Poland, or simply a case of 'Business Competition in Paradise'.

Let Horst sort it out: as neutral Austrian he talks to all of them! ☺


P.S. There are three other "resorts" nearby: Sandy Beach Resort and Matafonua Lodge, both on Foa Island, which is north of Lifuka Island and linked to it by causeway, and Serenity Beaches Resort on Uoleva Island in the south. I wonder if they survived the recent cyclone unscathed. And then there is Villa Mamana on tiny Telekivava'u Island, some 37 miles south of Lifuka. It's been boarded up for years and nobody lives there anymore.

P.P.S. Meantime, I received this email from Serenity Beaches Resort: "I am writing on behalf of Patti Ernst of Serenity Beaches Tonga. I am her daughter, Laura. They recently took a direct hit from Category 5 Cyclone Ian. They passed right through the eye of the storm. Thankfully, both she and Semi made it through safely and without injury. They did have some property damage, though it appears that they fared much better than the developments on the surrounding islands. They are currently in the process of clean up and repair. They do not currently have internet and probably will not for at least a few weeks. She will be in the United States in a few weeks and will be able to contact you herself at that time. Until then, I am trying to help with communications."