Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island)
Easter Island Travel Blog› entry 12 of 34 › view all entries
Santiago to Rapa Nui:
Ok, so the plane ride was very cool! Lan Airlines is completely hip with the times. We only wish we could have sat in (real) First Class where the seats lay flat, you get linens, and etc etc on on the great service. But, we were in economy, which was much better than any other airlines. We had individual tv's which played movies, tv shows, games (chess, battleship etc), taught other languages, and had an external camera you could view of what you where flying over! Very cool. I watched movies the whole ride.. (finally, something in English!) Ben played 'CaveMan' - some game you go around smacking stuff with a club. Go figure! It was awesome!
We had reserved a hostel prior to arriving and we were picked up by the owner.
We were excited to start exploring right away, so off we when to see the closest Moai's.
We walked around the town, which didn't take long ;) and found the local swimming hole. There are plenty of local holes to take a dip in and in each one you find plenty of people relaxing in the water at all times of day.. So, if they are all swimming in the ocean in the am.. in the afternoon... and in the pm... when do they work? Hmm.. maybe that is the real secret of the island- the work does its self and you get to play all day.
So, since we are young and buff (well... ben, not me- im more fluff) we decided we were going to go conquer one of the volcanos. So, bright and early-island time (10am) we head to the hills to hike. So, I think I made it MAYBE 10 minutes before the whining set in. IT WAS SOOOO HOT! The heat and the humidity and the blazing sun (that burns in 8 minutes mind you) was intense. It completely brought me down to reality and I know realize I can't just go hike around the world and up and down any mountain including Everest at will.. That I am not superwoman and the elements are a factor! So, of course once we start something I want to complete it.
Well, that is what we did the next day. We shelled out the cash for a car for 24 hours. IT WAS WELL WORTH IT! You have to love AC! Well, we cruised around the island for the next 24 hours and saw everything! We headed up the volcano for the sunset and woke early to head to the north of the island for the sunrise.
Our last day on the island we decided to go by horse. We hooked up with a local guide and off we went to find the best fishing hole. On the way we passed a traditional village area that had the remnants of their old 'boat houses'. After originally landing on the island the first nights, the people flipped their boats over and used them as shelter. They then realized that the structure was good for the wind and other conditions of the island, so they build their houses in the shape of boats. We also saw the traditional birthing pools where the woman would come to a specific area around the time of the birth and would give birth in these specific stones that were carved in a bowl-type shape to catch the baby. The priest/midwive (woman religious person) would deliever the baby and the cord was cut and left in the bowl for the rains to return it to the land as a offering to 'mother earth'.
So, we fished (Ben caught 3) using a traditional reel (don't use poles) and had a fire, played in the swimming holes made by the lava rocks and ALMOST missed our flight. We realized how late it was and had to trot and gallop (SCARY) the horses back to town. We made it back though and had another great flight on Lan to Tahiti.
Some Information on Rapa Nui:
What we were told by the local guide we went horseback riding with was- the Moais were basically grave stones for rich individuals who hired the entire process done by professional engineers and carvers. So, when a family member died, if they could afford it, they would have a moai carved in that family members likeness and set up over their grave and the local families still know which ones belong to their ancestors.
The mystery is- how they got them to each place from the quarry they were ALL carved from and why they quite building them including the ones that are built but abondoned and the ones half carved still in the quarry (about 400).
It is assumed the people used Palm trees to move them because the island was COMPLETELY stripped of all trees when white people arrived.
THIS WAS ONE LOCAL RAPA NUI GUYS STATEMENT- we have heard sooo many different statements on the Moais. Of course, no one really knows the facts.
The one picture of the heads sticking out of the ground are actually full sized Moais that were buried in a land slide. It was taken at the Quarry where their are 400 Moais carved are in the process of being carved.
The place with 7 Moais were said to be sent from a god to protect the island. They are found more interior than most. They are the ONLY ones that look towards the sea.
The 15 Moais were knocked down by tribal warfare and then a tsunami and were later restored to their upright position by the Japanesse.