Friday, May 13, 2011

Easter Island/Isla de Pascua/Rapa Nui

In whichever language you prefer this island has captured my heart.

We stepped off the plane on the 4th of May to a humid but yet clean-air filled island. I'm not accustomed to humidity anymore so it was such a shocker at first. We picked-up up bags in an airport that could be described as an shoe box and then were greeted with beautiful tropical flower necklaces. We then headed to our hotel (finally only one hotel for the whole trip), where Rotary was really nice and allowed us to choose our own rooms - a room with 6 other of my good friends... needless to say we had the best/party room!

On our first full day of the trip we went to go Moai-spotting (Moai are the rock figures that Easter Island is known for). At our second location we were already starting to witness the bi-polar weather the island had to offer -rain, sun, rain, sun. As we were starting our small hike up to see a lagoon we got rained on hard. People were slipping, falling, getting muddy and wet. By the time we made it up it had stopped raining. But on our way back down we got poured on! A river appeared where there had not been a river before... and everyone was absolutely drenched after! I really enjoyed being soaked like that, the weather never bothered me on the island because it was warm enough and the whole atmosphere just made it fun! As we were driving to another spot we drove into rain, but it was only raining on one side of the bus and not the other! We then saw the most famous 15 Moai altogether, before it started to rain again and I ran with my camera to the bus. After we went to "el ombligo" (belly button) which is a magnetic rock, or something - when you put a compass over the middle it just spins in circles... how the Rapa Nui figured out this special spot or rock is such a mystery! After being soaked all day long we went to the sand beach on the island. The water was warm and clear, the sand was white, and there were palm trees and Moai in eyesight - such a relaxing place!

On Friday we drove-up to the Rano Kau volcano crater which was so beautiful. Again as we were walking around the crater we were rained on. But not before I was able to pick and eat a natural growing guava fruit! Also on this part of the island is a smaller island where there used to be a competition for the ruler of the island way way back in the day. I won't go into the story but it ends with the first man to swim to a small island with an egg. After lunch we went to a Jardin Infital (preschool) to play with young kids and give them balloons and snacks.

Saturday we saw things like where the buns for the moai came from (the special rock), a naturally made lava cave where there's a banana plantation, and the 7 Moai that face outwards to the ocean - all others face inland. In our free time around the small town we were picked up by our friend/bus driver in his "off-duty" truck. Driving around the island in the back of a pick-up truck, waving the the cops,waving to our Rotarians, a bunch of exchange students just singing and taking in the wind... uhh island life!

Sunday we took a 3-4 hour horseback ride up to the highest point on the island. After a very slow start with my horse we were finally able to jog and gallop with our horses out in the open rolling hills. Everything was so stunning, there's just so much greenery and untouched land on the island. At the very top of the highest volcano all you could see for 360 degrees was the ocean. Below you was the entire small island and then in the distance was just ocean, ocean and ocean! Not one spec of land in sight - you were truly far away from everything and everyone! We then finished our trip by spending the rest of the day at the beach again swimming, working on getting a tan, playing soccer/water sports, and the trip-ly cheerleading photo.

This trip was the most amazing trip I've been on, and especially out of the Rotary trips that I've gone on here. The Rotarians gave us full respect, trust, and privacy - actually treating us as real people which really improved the whole mood to the trip and actually being interested to talking with us.

Personally I think the most beautiful place in Chile is Patagonia but Easter Island had such a simple beauty to it. The endless number of green covered volcanoes and hills, the black volcanic rock at the shores, the bright blue sky, clear Pacific waters, the beautiful tropical flowers, the mystical and interesting Moai, and the overall island feel. I truly love the island, it was actually a little hard to leave as I jokingly (but I would have) ran back towards the airport away from the plane. It was for sure a trip of a life time and I would return back there in a heartbeat!


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