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  • Uncle Tavo

Viva Espana & Vive le Tour de France

Famili, malo e fai fatongia mei homou ngaahi feitu'u takitaha! Fakatauange pe 'oku tau ma'u kotoa ha mo'ui lelei.

Just want to say hi to you all from the old continent (Europe). The news this time from here is anything but serious. But then, life is probably too short to be overly serious.

The World Cup has come to an end and probably Spain deserved to win it in that ill-tempered final. At least, we don't have to put up with that annoying vuvuzela anymore! You know the northern part of Belgium bordering Holland is called 'Flanders' and hence the adjective 'Flemish'. That is where I am writing from. We have the same language and culture as those crazy orange-glad Dutch fans you see on television. The southern part of Belgium bordering France is called Wallonia and they have the same language and culture as the French. And given the perennial squabbling between these two tribes which now make up Belgium, you can only wonder as to why they were brought together in the first place as one country - the burden of history I suppose. But to come back to the World Cup, out of a sense of neighbourly solidarity, we here in Flanders were all rooting for Holland which also felt a bit strange because it's a bit like Tongans rooting for Samoa to win. lol. Anyway, Spain is much liked here in Europe at least as a holiday destination, so many including me were happy for them. The tournament also showed the strength of football here in Europe which boasts the toughest and richest football leagues in the world with super-rich clubs such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, etc.

You would be mistaken though to think Europeans are really crazy about football. The real sport everyone's crazy about here is actually cycling! There are roads everywhere made for bicycles only, which makes it pretty safe to go out cycling. That's the only thing that was missing in Florida! Everyone here has a bicycle including me and Kara. I have two - one normal bicycle and one racing bicycle shown here in the photo which is as expensive as a second-hand vehicle in Tonga, the ones that Lance Armstrong and company ride in the Tour de France which is taking place right now here in Europe. I have just counted the number of kilometers I have cycled so far this year (mostly in weekends) and it's about 2800 kilometers - that's like cycling from Tonga to Australia's east coast! And if you think that's impressive, I am still training to qualify for the cycling club of the local village! Anyway, I have gotten two bicycles ready for Mele and Clare who have announced their arrival here for a week's visit at the end of next month. Safe journey to Europe and Vive le Tour!

'Ofa atu kiate kimoutolu hono kotoa,

Uncle Tavo

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