Got into the plane, ticket number 21D (hadnt managed to get a place near the window) when an audio anoucement, in spanish, which I didnt fully understand, requested that I contact a member of staff. SHIT what have I done I thought.... I shyly brushed past all the entering people towards the front of the plane and presented myself with very little confidence. The stuardess points me towards the headstuardess, who hands me a ticket whilst blaberring something in Spanish - I was too nervous to catch what she was saying. I looked at the ticket which resembled my ticket in as much as my name and flight number where the same but the place number had changed -1J (first class), I ask what it is all about but she just smiled and answered "compliments of the company "(in spanish still), I smiled back, with sighs of relief, got my stuff from the economic class and installed myself at the front of the plane
. The service and confort here was impecable - before the plane even took off I got offered a glass of fresh orange juice. Infront of me was 2m of space and stuck to the wall was a 17inch wide screen, one for every person. On the armrest was an array of buttons allowing different inclinaisons of different parts of the chair (the chair itself could incline itself 180 degrees) and also a "massage" button, which I quite happily abused. One could continue talking indefenitly about the various luxuries but Ill just finish plainly by saying it was a good flight.
Arrived at the airport, where we were the only plane, walked around all the hotel stands present in the airport to get the best price and then was off to the hotel. Beautiful hotel with one storey high buildings (the size of the rooms), with coconut, banana, papaye and other trees secluding most of the buildings. Met a japanese guy, Toru, and went off to the beach to have a swim, showed me around "town", bought some groceries (which were grossely expensive) and went back to eat and just chill.
Next day managed to get a ride with a german girl who rented a car and we went to the beaches at the north of the island, as I asked her for the ride, she paused weighing her possibilities in her mind but finally accepted to take me in but quickly added that she would not take me back and once we were at the beach she would want to be alone, abit surprised I confirmed what she said and we were off
. Got to a mangificent crystal clear beach with overarching cliffs behind with no more than 5 other people there. Had a quick swim, then layed on the beach a while admiring the sea when all of a sudden a troop of 10 wild horses galloped onto the beach, slowed down into a pack and then just looked around, some relieveing themselves, and within 20 seconds of there arrival they galloped away as quickly and swiftly as they had come. Talked abit with the German girl and then I went off to explore the moutain behind and eventually the beach that was on the other side of the moutain. Climbed up to the top of the cliff, following a narrow path and as I got higher I started to be attacked by birds that were nesting on the cliff face. Protecting their offspring they swooped down at me, sometimes three at a time, they werent that big maybe 1 meter wingspan but they were birds of prey and Im sure if I had really come too close they wouldnt have hesitated to stick there claws in me, so I deviated from the cliff and sure enough they stopped taking notice of me. Got to the other beach, which was alot more touristic, there were some restored Maori creating an attraction along with a beautiful white, silky beach. Played some Cahon and diabolo on the beach for a while, got stuck behind 15 Tchecs who wanted to buy food and beer for everyone of their group, but pay separtly with euros or dollars, and did not speak a word of spanish - took me 15 min to get my beer, but it wasnt the end of the world. On the beach I asked a chiliean guy on his own how he was planning on getting back to town, and said he had a taxi coming to pick him up at 19h, I proposed to share the Taxi and he agreed (he had negociated 12000 for the fare there and back so I was to pay 3000)
. The taxi arrived on time and off we went. Arrived at his hotel and the Taxi driver demands that the guy pays the 12000 and then turns to me and says 7000. I protested but thinking I was just a normal tourist who did not care about money or just did not want to have any trouble he just stubbornly repeats 7000. The other chilean just pays the 12000 and with a quick nod of the head leaves me to fend for myself. I start arguing with the taxi driving in spanish, astonished that he was making us pay per person and not for the ride. He wouldnt budge, so I told him to take me back into town (the luxury hotel of the chilean was out of town) and we would see from there. As we got there, and after continous negociation I managed to get my fare back down to 3000 which I happily paid as it was what I had planned to pay to the chilean. Got back made myself a beautiful fish dinner and again just chilled at the hotel.
Next day I rented a Quad, I had been postponning this as I was trying to get some money out from the bank but the machines dont accept Visa here only Mastercard and the queues in the banks had always discouraged me to wait, but I finally decided to pay the rental by card even if it meant an extra 10 percent. Took the quad and went around the island in a 7hr journey which took me accross most of the archaeological sites. The island is magnificient with most contructions limited to the islands one and only town and the rest being wilderness and archeological sites with wild horses roaming freely
. Today I met alot of the locals. I spoke to some women selling souvenirs at a site and after 20min of discussion ( in spanish) they offered there lunch (ham sandwich), and water to me as I had told them I had planned not to eat during the day (due to the prices). I tried to refuse but they insisted. A bit further down the island I arrived to a 4 house fisherman incampement where they were having a small party, they waved me over and I spent 2hrs, discussing and laughing, allowing myself to accept freshly caught fish off the BBQ, Beer and smokes that was presented to me. After lunch (at 15h) we had a swim and then they started preparing the evenings feast which was going to be prepared in the old traditional oven of the islanders - a whole in the ground filed, bordered by large volcanic rocks, with large logs of wood inside and covered by loads of small volcanic rocks, which are sqattered all over the island. I watched them prepare it and then rod off. I went to the quarry where most of the Moais were carved. It is a volcano with all of its outer sides cut into to make the grand statues. There are nearly 400 statues more or lessed finished all over the volcano. Inside he volcano is a beautiful lake with wild horses all around and the same birds that attacked me on the cliff side the day before. Climbed to a peak and admired the view with the only noise being occasional shreeks from the birds or neighs from the horses accompanied by the constant near hypnotic sound of the crashing pacific waves on the volcanic shores 2/3km away
. Got home in time for a feast organised for one of the hotel guests whos birthday it was with the husband of the hotel manageress providing a good 30fish for the occassion. Ate alot that day and all for free but after the meal I soon went to bed to digest it all.
Last day I went around the few statues I didnt see, managed to get los a few times (pretty hard to do so on such a small island but hey!!!! Then I pupped into a sculpteur friend who was with the fishmerna the day before and told me they were having a massive BBQ again and invited me over. I happil accepeted the offer and went off to buy a pack of beers before coming over. Arrived at te fishermans campment and they explained o me that it was teh birthday of one of them which explained wy they had stacks of fish and meat stuck on a massive BBQ. Everyone could jsut go and serve themselve at the BBQ by cutting pieces of meat off the huge chunks n the BBQ. Spent most of the afternoon and early evening there talking about. When dusk was falling some fishermen going off to sea tried to get me to go fishing with them but comparing the size of the wave with the size of their boats and decided not to go. hehe.
Got back latish at the hotel and then went out for a drink with some of the guest, a french researcher and a french policewomen, lol. Had a nice evening but only ahd two drinks seeing htat one cocktail was over 5euros
Next day walked up the volcano south of the city. Nice walk up and on the way back a local kindly offered to talk me to town with his car. Then prepared to ge the plane in the evening. With my newly met japaness friend from teh hostel we were taking the same plane so we set off from teh hotel together bt seeing we were oth 'broke' we walked half an hour with all our stuff to the airport and didnt take a taxi. This is the first time I have walked to an airport, but this must also be the first time where it is possible because in places like Paris it just not possible to walk to the airport.
P.S. internet is soo slow I cnat even upload one foto. Hopefully I will be able to do this in Tahiti
In the airport chilling in the VIP lounge which costs a total of 3euros (probably the only inexpensive thing in this country). Leaving soon for Easter island. More news there.