Day 64 - Off to Rapa Nui

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
1
68
105
Trip End Jan 09, 2013


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Flag of Chile  , Valparaíso,
Monday, December 3, 2012

So we left the hostel early and caught the metro and bus to the airport. It was mild chaos with the LAN check in queues stretching for miles. We had quite a bit of confusion whether we should be checking in at domestic or international and the stress was mounting as our departure time loomed. Fortunately we managed to get everything sorted out in the nick of time and boarded the plane heading for Rapa Nui or Easter Island.
The flight took over 5 hours and we drifted in and out of sleep feeling the effects of jet lag from our Oz to Chile stint.
We touched down in Rapa Nui at lunchtime. It is a really small island and flying in it felt like we may do a water landing. Luckily we made it and a pick up from the Mana Nui Inn greeted us with a lovely flower lei each.
We bounced along the very holey roads and caught our first glimpse of the beautiful sea and moai at the tiny harbour. Moai are the famous stone calved statues that are dotted around the island. They really are strange looking but represent a big part of the islands turbulent history.
Our little cabana is lovely and overlooks the sea and some distant moai. It's a perfect little self catering beach cottage really.
The owner of Mana Nui came to chat to us and explained where everything is on the island and what our options are in terms of tours, shows etc. We decided that a dinner and show would be great so booked with her straight away. We then took a walk into the little town to find out about diving. Just at the bottom of our road is the prettiest graveyard we have ever seen. Usually graveyards are a little sad and creepy but this one is covered with the brightest yellow flowers you've ever seen. Inbetween the flowers are white crosses and headstones. It's really a beautiful place overlooking the sea.
Our walk lead us to the harbour where two dive shops operate. We chatted briefly to a French guy who owns the one shop and arranged for a 9:00 dive the next day. Since we only have two days in Rapa Nui we need to dive on the first before we fly out. We then popped into the supermarket to grab some lunch goodies. We were surprised to find that the supermarket was quite expensive, probably twice as much as those in Santiago. We recon most things on the island will be expensive as it is so remote and isn't self sustaining.
We then headed back to our little house and whipped up some rolls. We sat on the veranda and felt the beach holiday vibe kick in.
Unfortunately our vibe ended quite quickly as we had to think seriously about planning our two days to get the most out of our visit. We ended up spending most of the afternoon walking between the tour office and dive shop making arrangements but once it was done we were glad. We then got ready for the dinner and show and our pick up arrived just after 8. We headed to the spot which was close to the town church. We were welcomed with a small fruit juice or local pista and then the chief and his son came around and painted our faces for us. We were seated in a semi circular boma with a cooking sand pit in the centre. A local entertained us with some guitar and singing while everyone was painted. The chief then started explaining the Rapa Nui culture, traditions and welcomed us to the feast. We even got a lesson on the hoka (their version of the haka) and a dance lesson. Great fun. Shortly afterwards the guys started removing the sand and coverings from the food cooking in the pit oven. The first layer was the fish with some veg. Underneath that were the potatoes and tarros and then below that where the chickens and pork portions. They were all covered in palm leaves and baked in the oven. We were invited in and enjoyed the deliciously fresh and tasty meal . The fish particularly was a highlight. Straight from the sea and steamed. Perfect.
During the meal we were entertained with some fun traditional expressions and music. We were served a red and white wine during the meal and a banana bread for dessert.
Then it was time for the show. Wow! It was a feast of rhythm, glistening bodies, feathers and beads. Like other Polynesian islands the dancing included a lot of hip shaking with grass skirts and of course the guys did very fierce numbers with fantastic stamping, shouting and jumping in time with the drum beat. We thoroughly enjoyed it and even got pulled up on stage to try our own dancing techniques. Not quite as elegant as the professionals, that's for sure!
The evening was quite an expensive outing and they charged us $3 each to pay by credit card but despite that we did have a super evening and found the traditions very interesting. We are looking forward to tomorrow's tour where we will learn more about the island and its people.
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Comments

Ann Braun on

Hi Tessie and Anton
Your Easter Island trip sounds amazing! It must be one of the most memorable highlights of your RTW trip. I don't think the office party today will match it! Keep blogging!
Lots of love Annie

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