Tonga, pronounced Tong-a, not Ton-ga, was the site of our travels today. This colorful photograph is our tour guide, Lava, standing in front of the royal palace. The Tongans seem very proud of their monarchy, which began in about 1867 and instituted many personal freedoms that were not given the people by previous dictators.

Tonga is a Christian nation, first introduced to Christianity by the Wesleyans. They have multiple denominations now, but all agree that everything should be closed on Sunday and the Sabbath made a day of worship. Today was Saturday; I’m not sure what would have happened if we had arrived tomorrow.

Tonga is different from all the other islands we have visited so far in that the central volcanic mountain is missing. Tonga is flat and surrounded by a coral reef. We visited a stone carving that dates to 1200 BC and seems to be a Stone Henge type structure. Markings on the stone coincide with the equinoxes. We were blessed with perfect weather, about 80 degrees and a pleasant breeze.

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