Day 8

Trip Start Feb 02, 2013
Trip End Feb 26, 2013

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Today was a very long travel day. This evening we crossed the international dateline and lost a day.

Before going to the airport, we were able to spend some more time on Easter Island. We woke up this morning and had several options of itinerary to choose from. Dad and I chose to walk into town and explore a little there and have a more relaxing morning. After lunch, we visited the Orongo crater, the ceremonial center of the birdman cult, and Ranu Kau, an extinct volcano.

I enjoyed going to the crater – it was stunning. It actually has freshwater in it. One of the sides of the volcano is also much shorter than the others, and at some point in the next ten to twenty thousand years it will break open into the ocean! It was an absolutely amazing site. 

At the top of the Orongo crater is where the birdman cult also lived. There are still houses up there that they built. Similar to the Moai worshippers, the houses are short boat-like structures built from rock and dirt. We toured this site with Patricia Varga who was apart of the restoration of these houses about thirty years ago (the same woman who worked on the Moai restoration). She was very interesting to talk to and shared her extensive knowledge and expertise of the island and its history.

The birdman cult was essentially a cult of bird worshippers. Their houses were atop the crater. Right off to the edge of the crater there are several very tiny islands. During the birdman cult not everyone was a birdman. In order to become a birdman, the men would have to wait on these islands for a period of time until they found a particular birds egg. Once they got the egg, they had hats that they would put the egg in, and they would have to swim to shore (about 1.5 miles of rugged waters which took about 12 hours to swim) successfully with the egg in tact. If they were successful they were able to become a birdman. I've decided I’m going to make this a test for men I date. Can’t swim a mile and a half with an egg on your head? See ya later. 

After the Orongo crater we made one more stop and then headed to the airport. I have actually decided I really like our plane, which is both good and bad. The Good: I should like it because I’m spending a lot of time on it and we aren’t even halfway around the world yet. The Bad: I’m really going to hate any flight I take after this trip for the rest of my life.  

Our flight to Samoa was eight hours, and we luckily didn’t have to make any stops on the way as originally planned. Due to the size of the plan and the head winds, apparently they usually have to stop in Tahiti. We made it straight through.

The time zone / crossing the international dateline really screwed people up, especially Dad. He was so determined to figure out what day and time it was both in Samoa and Chicago, but just could not wrap his head around it. First he and another guy named Jim were looking at these time zone maps, but they each had different information. Then they asked Micheline, our group leader. Finally, someone thought of using our ipad world clock to demonstrate how the time zones worked. That worked for about 45 minutes. Then Dad made a profound executive decision that the world should get rid of time zones altogether. After that, we gave up explaining it and took a nap. There were about 7 people trying to explain it by the end and I’m fairly certain, he still doesn’t understand time zones.

Upon arrival to Samoa we were greeted by the friendliest people and brought to our hotel (which is beautiful).  They served us drinks and food upon arriving to the hotel. It is very humid here; I tried to take a picture and my camera fogged up! Now I’m back in my hotel room, showered and ready for bed. Tomorrow we are hanging out for a bit, but then we head to Australia! 
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