Big Heads and G-strings

Trip Start Nov 06, 2005
Trip End May 09, 2006

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Flag of French Polynesia  ,
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Well Easter Island has certainly been a fantastic place (if a little remote!). Arriving to see people being greeted with flower necklaces was like something out of Magnum PI.

We arrived for the annual Tapati festival and were able to witness many interesting "cultural" events. We discovered that traditional dress for local men is a G-string and that as a test of bravery you fling yourself down a volcano slope, practically naked and on a banana tree trunk?

The music was fantastic and each night there was some sort of event at the town platform (not unlike the platform at the Ballinamore festival!).

The people here are really genuinely friendly and helpful. The prices are also generous but it was worth it. The Island is about 30km in circumferance, with about 4000 inhabitants excluding tourists. Including tourists the population must be about 4 000 000. No it's really not that bad but the local economy is basically tourism. Its pretty flat with mostly eucalyptus groves and loads of extinct volcanoes.

The best way to get around is by hiring some sort of transportation, and we got to sample many different types (photos included). This is the best way to see the Moai (Big Heads) which are scattered all over the island. Even though we spent 4 days looking at them we never grew bored of them, and the volcano from which they were carved was a special place....anyways you can enjoy the photos.

We did try to get into the backpacker mindset, to try to kerb our ever decreasing budget, and had one night of camping on the sea front, but the ants brought back too many bad memories of the amazon, and the dog attack was the final straw! So we had to stay in a lovely family hotel, where Eliana, the owner gave us (very hippy) shell necklaces on our departure (a tradition by all accounts).

All in all we really liked Rapa Nui (local name for the island) but I guess it's really a once in a lifetime place to visit.

On to our next south pacific island, Rarotonga, speak to you from there,

D & S

PS Easter Island is actually governed by Chile, not French Polynesia but it's the only way I could get the map pin to work out (before We get any educated comments on our lack of geographical knowledge)
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