On our own on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Jul 19, 2017
|Another beautiful day! The weather has been gorgeous since we left home. Sunny and mild here on Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Hopefully it will coninue for thr rest of the trip. However, it does get cold at night. Around 5:00 this morning, Jean got up and turned on the heat.
We went to breakfast later today at 9:00. Bad idea. We were practically the only ones there, and they were already out of scrambled eggs and sausages. Jean approached the waitress and asked for more eggs. The waitress had the cook make eggs, but he placed them into individual bowls, one for Jean and one for myself. Way too many eggs, but we had to eat them since he made them special for us. I ended up helping Jean finish hers.
After breakfast we were on our own, no scheduled guided tour today, just whatever we wanted to do. Our first stop in Hanga Roa was at the post office. Maitu told us back on Monday as we passed the post office that they will place a Rapa Nui stamp in your passport, even though it is not an offical seperate country, but a division of Chile. I also bought a stamp to mail Nora's post card. Plus, I bought two for myself.
We then walked over to the Catholic church, the only church on the island. It was open so we entered. A nicely Polynesian decorated church. The native wood statues of Mary and others were beautiful. The church is in need of repairs. In the back we saw that they want to build a new church in the shape of a turtle, which is important in Polynesian culture. There was no organ or piano, so either they sing a capella, or use guitars and other instruments. Outside the church next to the entrance were several graves. One we recognized as the missionary that Maitu discussed with us at the quarry stop on our tour yesterday. He had placed numbers on the back of the moai and had died in 1969.
After we were done at the church, we walked across the street to the craft market, a nice sized building, separated into three sections. After walking around the sections and comparision shopping, Jean and I made our purchases. Jean had wanted a polo shirt with a moai logo which we found there and she also purchased some other souvenirs. I purchased a small moai statue for myself.
Now we headed north out of Hanga Roa past the Catholic cemetery, which was interesting in itself to see the various items used as tombstones to mark the graves. A couple of graves had a 4-5 foot tall moai as their tombstone.
Just up the hill was another moai platform called Tahai. This is the location of the only statue that has the eyes on the statue. We walked around the area, taking pictures and resting. As we approached the platform, there was a couple in native island garb having their picture taken with the moai in the background. I couldn't figure if it was a tourist couple, or for an advertisement. The photographer was posing them together and seperately for quite a while.
We then continued north to the Arthropological museum. It had been recommended by Maitu as a means of reinforcing what we had learned on the tour with her yesterday. I was hot and weary from all the hiking, so I skipped some of the exhibits which either I was not interested in, or already knew about having read a couple of books before the trip. I sat on the bench near the exit while Jean toured the museum at her pace. We both commented on the display about the various theories about how the moai were moved from the quarry to the platforms. Many of the theories were discussed yesterday with Maitu.
My belief is that they are all right to some degree. I think it depended on the size of the moai as to how it was moved. The smaller ones could be "walked", while the larger ones were placed on sleds. We will never know for sure until the time travel macine is built.
We walked around the museum grounds a little before heading back along the shore to our hotel. We walked back through Tahai, behind the cemetery, and along Policarpo Toro street. Along the way we passed the Te Moana restaurant, which is where we decided to have our dinner later.
Back in the room we relaxed, refreshed and changed shoes to head down to the hotel restaurant for our free welcome drink. We each had a pisco sour and the wairess also provided a small bowl of peanuts. We sat on the veranda across from the restaurant and enjoyed the quiet peaceful atmosphere as we gazed out over the Pacific Ocean. We then returned to the room to relax, read, etc., until it was time to go pickup our laundry. At 4:00 we walked over to acquire our laundry and quickly back to the room to do a quick inventory to see that all the laundry had been returned. It was. So back out of the room to head over to our restaurant of choice.
We arrived at the Te Moana restaurant and were given a choice of a table by the window (too much sun and I have had enough sun in my eyes for the day) so I asked for a table for two in the next row away from the window. The menu was pretty extensive with a nice variety of items from which to choose. The restaurant had been recommended by two different people, one the Goway rep, and the other our guide Maitu. We both had drinks, and entrees. I had a vegetarian risotto, and Jean had a nice t-bone steak with fries. We shared a nice Chilean flan dessert which was tasty.
On the way back to the hotel, Jean wished to walk along the main street and find a market to get a Coke, and I wanted a water for the room. Back at the room, we relaxed while waiting to walk over to the cultural show at 8:30 for the 9:00 performance. We left at 8:30 (we were told to arrive by 8:45) and walked along the surprisingly well lit streets of Hanga Roa.
We got to the show early (a quick 7 minute walk from the hotel) and were seated in our reserved seats. To our surprise, we were on an aisle in the third row near the center, score! The band was doing sound checks. There were 7 guys in the band performing on various instruments, drums, guitars, ukes, and other percussion instruments. As the people were sitting, one of the female dancers in her island garb came out and began to paint island symbols on children's faces. Then she started on the adults. She eventually got around to us.
The show began at 8:00. Thebhostess of cermonies gave an introduction in Spanish, French, German and English. Then six female dancers in colorful native garb appeared on stage and performed two dances before being joined by six guys. I was exhausted watching these kids dance. The guys were sweating and had a sheen on their bodies from all of the exertion. Everyone on stage was getting a good workout. Boy, could the ladies swing those hips. It was a nice cultural experience. I thought as they were performing, are they authentic dances handed down, or just good choreography by locals? They did two numbers that were audience participation. The dancers would go into the audience and pull people on stage. Near the end they also did birthdays for two people.
At the end you had a chance to go on stage and take pictures with the performers, which we skipped to return to the room. We were back at the hotel around 10:45, the latest I have been up on the island! A quick change into bed clothes, brush the teeth and hop into bed under the warm covers, it was already getting cold in the room.