TONGA – TONGA

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi- Mapua'a Vaea Blowholes

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi- Mapua’a Vaea Blowholes

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi-Mapua'a Vaea Blowholes

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi-Mapua’a Vaea Blowholes

Tradicionalni dugi slamnati pojas tupenu-The traditional long wrapped garment-tupenu

Tradicionalni dugi slamnati pojas tupenu-The traditional long wrapped garment-tupenu

Ulica u glavnom gradu-A street in the capital

Ulica u glavnom gradu-A street in the capital

Zalazak sunca na ostrvu Fafa-Sunset on Fafa island

Zalazak sunca na ostrvu Fafa-Sunset on Fafa island

Zalazak sunca na Tongi-Sunset in Tonga

Zalazak sunca na Tongi-Sunset in Tonga

Centennial Free Wesleyan Church

Centennial Free Wesleyan Church

Crkva u glavnom gradu-Free Church of Tonga, Nuku'Alofa

Crkva u glavnom gradu-Free Church of Tonga, Nuku’Alofa

Devojacki hor na nedeljnoj misi-Girls' choir during Sunday mass

Devojacki hor na nedeljnoj misi-Girls’ choir during Sunday mass

Grobovi starih kraljeva-Ancient kings' graves

Grobovi starih kraljeva-Ancient kings’ graves

Kancelarija Premijera-Prime Minister's Office

Kancelarija Premijera-Prime Minister’s Office

Kralj Dzorz V-King George Tupou V

Kralj Dzorz V-King George Tupou V

Kraljevska palata-The Royal Palace

Kraljevska palata-The Royal Palace

Lokalni Stounhendz-Local Stonehenge

Lokalni Stounhendz-Local Stonehenge

Luka u glavnom gradu-Capital's port

Luka u glavnom gradu-Capital’s port

Mormonski hram-A Mormon Temple

Mormonski hram-A Mormon Temple

Nedeljom pre podne ispred crkve-In ftont of the church on Sunday morning

Nedeljom pre podne ispred crkve-In ftont of the church on Sunday morning

Oda kralju-Ode to the King

Oda kralju-Ode to the King

Odlazak u crkvu-Going to the church

Odlazak u crkvu-Going to the church

Parlament Tonge-The Tongan Parliament

Parlament Tonge-The Tongan Parliament

Prirodni luk-Natural arch Li'angahuo 'a Maui, 'Eua

Prirodni luk-Natural arch Li’angahuo ‘a Maui, ‘Eua

Nekada davno beogradskom čaršijom kružila je priča o dvorskoj dami koja se između dva svetska rata školovala u Švajcarskoj i, kao u bajci, tamo upoznala princa iz neke daleke i nepoznate zemlje koja se zvala Tonga. U toj priči ona se, naravno, udala za princa i potom postala kraljica. I pored krajnje romantičnog prizvuka i očekivanja, to je, ipak, bilo nemoguće jer je Tongom u to vreme vladala nadaleko čuvena i voljena kraljica Sālote, i to punih pedeset godina, sve do svoje smrti 1967. godine. Ostala je upamćena u svetu po tome što je po jakoj kiši prošla u otvorenim kočijama ulicama Londona, na ceremoniji krunisanja engleske kraljice Elizabete. Želela je da kisne zajedno sa narodom koji je posmatrao povorku i tako postala popularna širom sveta. Dama bez kišobrana, Kraljica južnih mora, ušla je tako u srca hladnih Engleza, dok joj se kiša slivala niz lice i u baricama ispunjavala skute njene tradicionalne odore.
Tonga je jedina zvanična kraljevina Polinezije, nastala u vreme dolaska prvih misionara na njeno tle početkom XIX veka, mada su lokalni kraljevi brojnih ostrva postojali stotinama godina unazad, ali bez pisanih tragova. Jedino su ogromne kamene grobnice ukazivale na postojanje starog plemstva. Feudalno uređenje i danas je veoma na snazi u toj dalekoj polinežanskoj monarhiji. Kralj je neprikosnoveni vladar, a članovima njegove porodice pripada najviši rang. Posle njih dolaze plemići, a na kraju – obični smrtnici. Prethodni kralj, sin kraljice Salote, težio je trista kilograma, ali to je odlika nacije. Sledeći kralj Siaosi (George) Tupou V bio je manje korpulentan, čak je smršao sedamdeset kilograma i tako narodu dao primer zdravog života. Trebalo je samo da se oženi, iako je već bio u poznim godinama, ali je, nažalost, umro 19. marta 2012. godine, upravo u trenutku kada sam redigovao ovaj tekst. Na svečanoj nedeljnoj misi, u crkvi pored njega sedela bi kraljica majka. Hor devojčica u belom peva duhovne pesme, koje na trenutak podsećaju na operske arije.
Poseta nedeljnim misama pravi je doživljaj u zemljama Polinezije. Tada se žene, kao i muškarci, lepo obuku u belo, i skoro svi oko struka nose tradicionalni dugi pojas od slame (tupenu). Kao najkonzervativnijem društvu u regionu, narodu Tonge su način odevanja i norme ponašanja veoma važni. Odnosi među ljudima različitog ranga strogo su regulisani, a čak ni brak između pripadnika plemstva i običnih ljudi nije dozvoljen bez posebnog odobrenja kralja i saveta ministara. Neposlušnost se može kazniti oduzimanjem titule.
Jelo je takođe poseban ritual, a nedeljni ručak u tipičnoj porodici sadrži sve lokalne specijalitete: mahe-mahe ribu, tapioku, slatki krompir, dimljeno meso uvijeno u zelene listove, kao i obavezno prasence.
Glavni gradić na ostrvu Tongatapu naziva se Nuku`alofa i nije mnogo zanimljiv za obilazak, osim nekoliko crkvi, kraljevske palatice koja se renovira, i male, ali veoma stare, belo ofarbane, drvene kuće koja predstavlja Parlament, mada više liči na crkvu. Lepota Tonge je i u ostalim, udaljenim ostrvima koja joj pripadaju, sa belim peščanim plažama, koralnim grebenima idealnim za ronjenje, kao i putevima kitova koji vode pored tih ostrva, odakle se oni, u svojoj veseloj igri, mogu posmatrati sa paluba jedrenjaka koji prolaze kraj njih. Jedno od takvih je ostrvce Fafá, naš privatni raj.
Kralj Džordž me nije primio, iako je obećao, a nosio sam mu potpisanu sliku srpskog prestolonaslednika. U mentalitetu ovog naroda je da vam uvek kažu ono što želite da čujete, a da li će zaista tako i biti, veoma je neizvesno.
Možda bi nas malo zbližila dvorska dama sa početka priče. Ili sam ja samo verovao da ona postoji.

Septembar 2010.
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Once upon a time a story went around Belgrade about a court lady who went for schooling to Switzerland between the two World Wars. Like in a fairytale, there she met a prince from a faraway, unknown land called Tonga. In this story, of course she gets married to this prince and becomes a queen. Despite the very romantic outlook of the story and the expectations it raised, that was still impossible because at the time Tonga was ruled by the well-known and beloved Queen Sālote. She ruled for the full 50 years until her death in 1967. She was well remembered around the world because, during the crowning ceremony of the British Queen Elizabeth II, she passed through the streets of London in an open carriage in heavy rain. She wanted to be rained on just like the people watching the procession and so gained popularity around the world. A lady without an umbrella, the Queen of the South Seas, thus entered the hearts of the reserved English people, while rain trickled down her face and puddles formed in the creases of her traditional gown.
Tonga is the only official kingdom in Polynesia; it came into existence during the visits of the first missionaries at the beginning of the 19th century, even though local kings existed for centuries on many islands, but without written records. Only vast stone tombs indicate the existence of the ancient nobility. A feudal system is still very much in power in this faraway Polynesian kingdom. The king is the supreme leader and his entire family hold the highest ranks. After them comes nobility and at the bottom of the hierarchy are the commoners.
The previous king, son of Queen Sālote, weighted 300 kilograms, but that is pretty much a national trait. The next king, Siaosi (George) Tupou V, was not as big, and he even lost 70 kilograms, thus leading by example with a healthy lifestyle. He just needed to get married, as he was already of an advanced age, but unfortunately he died on 19 March 2012, just as I was editing this text. Normally, during the official Sunday mass in the church, his mother would sit next to him. A girls choir, all dressed in white, would sing church songs, sometimes resembling opera arias.
Visiting a Sunday mass in Polynesian countries is a real treat. Women as well as men dress in white and they all wear around the waist tupenu – a traditional long belt made of straw. The people of Tonga are the most conservative in the region, and as such, dress code and rules of behaviour are very important to them. Relationships between people of different ranks are strictly regulated and marriage between nobility and commoners is not permitted without a special consent from the King and the Council of Ministers. Disobedience can be penalised by taking the title away.
Meals are also a special ritual, while a typical Sunday family lunch contains all the local delicacies: mahe-mahe fish, tapioca, sweet potato, smoked meat wrapped in green leaves, as well as the customary piglet.
The capital city on the island of Tongatapu is called Nuku`alofa and is not particularly interesting for sightseeing, apart from a few churches, the smallish Royal palace  that is being renovated, and a small and very old wooden house, painted in white, which is the Parliament, even though it resembles a church.
The beauty of Tonga is also in other faraway islands which belong to it; they boast white sandy beaches, coral reefs ideal for diving, as well as whale routes which are close to these islands; whales can be observed in a joyful play from the sailing boats passing by. One such island is Fafá, our private paradise.
King George did not recieve me, even though he promised to, and even though I had for him a signed picture of the Serbian Crown Prince. The mentality of these people is such that they always tell you what you want to hear, but whether it is really going to happen is a different matter.
Perhaps the lady from the beginning of this story would have brought us together. Or maybe I just liked to believe that she was there once upon a time.

September 2010

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