Rapa Nui

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
Trip End May 30, 2007

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Flag of French Polynesia  ,
Sunday, April 16, 2006

Rapa Nui. Isla de Pascua. Easter Island.

Land of mystery, intrigue, ancient cultures and fascinating history. An island of beauty dropped in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from the nearest inhabited land.

If there is one part of my trip that seems to be bringing out the green tinge in the eyes of my fellow travellers it is this.

Unfortunately, after touching down on the island, and managing to get a place at which to stay, I spend my entire first day here tucked up in bed. I had begun to feel unwell on the 5 hour flight over, which for the time being I am putting down to the fish I had yesterday in a Santiago market. Feeling tired and sick, it is all I can manage to get up a couple of times in order to go in search of water in this suddenly oppressive heat (I was down in Patagonia wearing four layers 4 days ago).

Of course I canīt keep this up though, and since I only have a few days with which to explore a land many dream of visiting, I force myself out the following day on a tour of the island and the highlights of its Moai statues.

Though I do not feel well for much of the time I am here, I find the island to be both beautiful and intriguing. Though it is technically classed as part of Chile, it is instantly clear that this is a purely political tie. This without doubt is Polynesia. The people have an exotic dark skin, are friendly and relaxed. This is the pace of life that my family would say I could fit into all too easily.

On the streets, it is as common to see people riding horses around as it is cars. And thanks to the islanders insistance that property is not for sale and purchase, only to be handed down through the generations, there are no western hotels what-so-ever. The island is inhabited by just 4,000 locals (plus tourists) who all live in the single town, Hanga Roa.

The culture of the Moai is also fascinating, and since the original Rapa Nui people who made it were all wiped out, and thus the island is now populated by a mix of Polynesian decendants, there is much that is unknown about how they were made and transported, adding to the mystery which surrounds this place.

It will probably not surprise you, given my prior run of luck, that I found on my arrival I had a camera with no battery in - It seems I left it in Santiago! This is why there are no pictures to accompany this entry, though I am hoping I may have one e-mailed to me by a guy I took the tour with. We shall have to wait and see.

For now I hope my effort at giving a flavour of the place may suffice.

[Easter Island isnīt part of French Polynesia but it doesnīt fit on the Chile map!]
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