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Two Thoughts on Tonga

May 07, 2000

I thoroughly enjoyed Susan Spano's article on Tonga ("Tonga: Outpost of the South Seas," April 23) because it brought back fond memories of a recent trip there. The pristine beach with readily accessible coral reefs and the friendly hospitality made the Sandy Beach Resort a highlight of the trip.

Dinner at the Seaview restaurant in Nuku'alofa was excellent. Outstanding restaurants are not plentiful in the Pacific, so it turned out to be a pleasant experience.

RALPH MILLER

Manhattan Beach

*

Contrary to what Susan Spano writes in her article on Tonga, I have never seen dog served at a Tongan feast. I was served, however, the largest lobster I have ever seen at the 80th birthday party of King Tupou IV in 1998. Tongan society is extremely complex and not primitive by any standards; the nuances are not available by staying in resort hotels.

Travelers need to show respect for Tongan culture by dressing appropriately in public places. This includes men wearing shirts and women wearing clothes that cover shoulders and thighs. There is nothing more offensive than seeing tourists walk around Nuku'alofa bare chested or in short shorts and a bikini top, ignoring Tongan social practices.

HILARY L. SCOTHORN

North Hollywood

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