Posted by: Larzizou | September 4, 2008

Easter Island, Chile

An angel… Lovely and so lively. It took me 5 minutes to pronounce her name correctly. The niece of Oskar, the owner of the house I am staying at.

Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui (in Polynesian, because these are the roots of most of its inhabitants) or Isla de Pascua (in Spanish, because it belongs to Chile) is like not other place you have ever been to. Would it only be because it’s far from everything. Some people advance it is the most remote inhabited place on earth. It is not really the one but one of them. Only five hours flying from Santiago in Chile (3600km) and likewise from Tahiti. These are the two only aerial access points.

Evidence I was there. And that it belongs to Chile. Fact : no income tax is levied here.

I have been traveling for months but have never seen anything quite like this, landscape-wise…

… and atmosphere-wise. Feeling serenity.

The Rano Kau volcano at the South Western tip of the island. Easter Island is a volcanic island of course. I highly recommend clicking on most of the pictures below for high resolution views.

I warned you, you have never seen such a scenery.

Now, the video.

The Motu Nui islet. The Birdman legend says that throne claimers competed to swim to Motu Nui to get first the first egg left by the divine bird on the island. Not a piece of cake considering the distance and the raging waves.

People used to live in these caves facing the sea.

Moais ? No. Wait.

I cannot get enough of Rano Kau.

Thank g.od I could fix my camera in Santiago before coming here.

A Moai’s hat…

Experimental photography.

I have never seen such violent waves.

You don’t see many people on the pictures. It is because the island is barely inhabited. Only 4,000. At one point in time, the population rose up to slightly above 15,000 but the island resources could not sustain everyone, so it went down quickly through famines and slaughters.

As moais are emblematic figure of the island, local artisans sell small scaled replicas. The white sweater girl looks at me like she is going to punch me in the face. Still a mystery to me.

Sorrow and desperation, even in a gorgeous environment. That sick skinny horse could barely walk. Heart-breaking sight. He was probably thinking of all these wasted years galloping in the island for fun while he could have trained for race and be given proper medical attention. Such is life.

Fierce !

Or not…

Me. Hello mum.

Ahu Tongariki counts 15 moais standing, turning their back to the sea (as most of the moais do on the island) and as such is the biggest alignment of moais in the whole island.

A hell of a moai. I believe 14 meters high, maybe the highest standing.

I take the picture there because we are not allowed to get closer. The guards fear something may happen, something due to the stupidity of tourists. And they are right : tourists are stupid and things happen – although rarely. The story of one extremely stupid Scandinavian tourist down this page.

Some moais have hats, most don’t. I don’t know why. Notice the facial structure. Four can be differentiated.

Still Ahu Tongariki, from the side. Honing my photographic skills (and probably boring you).

The full alignment, what many postcards from here look like. It should be noted that the costly renovation of Ahu Tongariki has been offered by Japan. Seeing the number of Japanese tourists, it is not a surprise.

This one solo moai faced the precedent alignment. It is believed the carvers did not have time to bring him from the hill to the pedestal.

Our guide, singing Polynesian songs with a mandolin-like instrument.

The actual song.

“Do not step on Moais, even dead” could be a transliteration of this graphic. I know transliteration is not the correct word, but cannot find it right now. Any help ?

For you all French people (and other), who does this (Moai) profile makes you think of ? Think hard, give yourself a few seconds.

Call me crazy, but I see former president Jacques Chirac. No ?

Now, moais facing the sea. There aren’t that many of them. One explanation is that they are very close to the carving zone and were being brought to the shore – but never to completion.

Locals fishing.

A magnetic/magic/electric stone (supposedly), above which you should place your hands without touching. Unlike most other participants, I did not feel anything.

Although the island is tiny (about 10km by 15km), there is the pristine Anakena beach.

White sand, palm trees, quietness, Polynesians…

… and tourists.

Not too many though. Only LAN is operating a daily flight from Santiago and one from Tahiti. Last year, 50,000 tourists, meaning no more than 150 on any given day, on average. The price of the flight (from 600USD return) also justifies the exclusiveness.

More locals and bended trees.

Moais sunbathing at the beach. How cool is that ? You see the third one from the right ? There is a story about it that will be revealed in the next post, also about Rapa Nui. Yeah, the story about the stupid Scandinavian tourist. Sorry, not this time.

Surfers struggling against the forceful beach before sunset. With all these rocks, it takes more foolishness than bravery or skills. Or maybe an equal amount of the three.

I like Swedish girls. I mean I LOVE Swedish girls, in general. I have met (met only) plenty of them in Africa and South America. What does this have to do with Johan, humming and smelling chew-able tobacco (eeewww!) in the picture below ?

Well, he’s Swedish and so is Jacob on the right. Both have been in Chile for a month studying dental health (they are dentist) and made the trip to Easter Island before going back home. Left is Scott the Scottish, staying at Oskar with me. Center right is a dark and mysterious, gorgeous up-and-coming model going by the name Larzizou.

On the way back home, after a less than succulent seafood dinner, we meet this drunk horserider (left, with the beard). He offers us marijuana and then let us mount his (tired) horse. Then makes him drink beer. And insults him. And rides away. And comes back, too drunk to remember that we already met two minutes before.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. very cool! what an amazing trip!! you lucky bastard.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: