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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Horst Berger's 16th Anniversary

Self (left) and Horst at the Mariner's Café in Pangai on Lifuka Island

 

In September 2006, I visited the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific where on the remote island of Lifuka in the Ha'apai Group I met Horst Berger from Austria (not Australia but Austria, that little country in Central Europe where they speak German with a funny accent), who had settled there eleven years earlier - click here.

He'd come to Tonga in 1995 at the ripe old age of 39, following a workplace accident in Vienna which gave him a small pension to live on. Today, sixteen years later, he has fully succumbed to the siren song of these remote and soporific islands which is that on this small and human-sized stage your life will count for more and even your smallest accomplishments will be remembered.

He doesn't seem to be ever struck by homesickness. And why would he want to leave? He subscribes to Louis Becke's sentiments - of whom he knows nothing - who once wrote about life in the South Seas, "Return? not they! Why should they go back? Here they had all things which are wont to satisfy man here below. A paradise of Eden-like beauty, amid which they wandered day by day all unheeding of the morrow. Why - why, indeed, should they leave the land of magical delights for the cold climate and still more glacial moral atmosphere of their native land, miscalled home?"

If you would like to contact Horst, write to this address

Horst Berger
Felemea, Uiha Island
Ha'apai
Kingdom of Tonga
South Pacific


but be patient as mail to and from the islands is very slow!

Oh, and by the way, when I write to Horst, I always enclose a small (and sometimes not so small) dollar-note to help him with the return postage and let him share a beer with me ☺