18.06.10 – Rapa Nui a.k.a. Isla de Pascua a.k.a. Easter Island

After flying over half the expanse of the Pacific ocean, I landed in this isolated but world-famous Easter Island (Isla de Pascua in Spanish) or Rapa Nui as the locals call it, with a plane full of people, some returning home while most are tourists like me. The size of the airport is roughly that of Kota Kinabalu’s budget terminal.

Greeted by Pat from the inn with a garland of flowers! I noticed at the airport that returning people get flower garlands from their family members too. What a cool polynesian tradition.

After settling down at the inn (beautiful place with several cabanas), was very tempted to take a nap on the comfy bed. But given the sun was shining when weather forecast said it would rain, decided to check out the nearest moai and the museum.

I chose this inn simply because of its proximity to the ocean and some moais, which are the famous big-headed statues. The inn has a lovely garden, overlooks the ocean and the cabana I got was spacious and comfortable. Right in front of the inn is a cementery facing away from the ocean, but it is so quaint and beautifully decorated with flowers.

At the first moai, Ahu Tahai, met a chinese girl from London. There we met a park ranger who tried to get us to give written feedback about the park – of course our feedback was very positive and in exchange, we got precious maps of Rapa Nui that are notoriously difficult to get. Thereafter, we went to the museum together. If ever you go to Rapa Nui, I would recommend you to visit the museum first as the information provided about the origins of the moais and the island’s traditional culture are pretty comprehensive. The signs are in Spanish, but booklets in various languages (including japanese) are provided.

Thereafter, decided to walk further up along the north west coast to check out the next moai. There is an unpaved main road, but decided to take the semi-definitive trail along the coast, amidst low-lying shrubs, grazing horses and lava rocks, with the view of the pacific ocean. But after walking for more than an hour and a half, there was no moai in sight! We were of course worried that the sun may set soon, and the other girl didn’t bring a torch.

So we decided to turn back and this time, walked on the road instead, which was obviously a lot quicker. Before sundown, we reached town and went for dinner.

The inn is about a 10 minute walk from town, and part of the area doesn’t have streetlights. But the moon was shining high under the star-dotted sky.

Back at the cabana, I was immediately lulled to sleep to the sounds of chirping cricket and crashing ocean waves. It has been an exciting and tiring day.

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