Red volcanic dust is on everything I own.

It is on my clothes, in my bag, under my fingernails, and unfortunately, it is in my camera.

Easter Island wants to come with me on the rest of my trip.

As I walk now through the crowded, cracked and dog happy streets of Santiago, my mind goes back to my home of the past two weeks; blue Pacific, clear sky, carved rocks and beautiful people.

They are back over there, thousands of kilometres to the east; men who ride horses, women with flowers in their hair and people who say ‘iorana or hola to strangers in the street.

Here’s a singular Rapa Nui gift I witnessed on my last day. Two men passed on this enormous lobster they had just caught.

It frantically flapped a tail that would soon be someone’s dinner.

As for the gift I got earlier on, I can smell my reed bracelet that Moa gave me. It has dried out now, but it still pulses out its musty grass scent after a shower.

There are just over five thousand people living on this remote speck in the Pacific. Roughly half are Rapa Nui, while most of the rest are Chilean. The flow of people from mainland Chile is a great concern to the islanders who are trying to preserve their way of life.

I heard the Rapa Nui language often during my stay, but it seems it is something for the older generations. I am told it usually takes the experience of going to Chile for education that makes young Rapanuis realise how good they have it and return to older ways.

Easter Island has only one radio station and two television channels. One channel is from Chile. The local people have resisted cable television and are hoping to keep it that way.

There is a feral population of horses on the island, a legacy of the wool company that exploited the island last century.

They are not going to get worked anytime soon. People are using 4WDs and scooters more and riding horses less. Easter Island is not that big, but it has a lot of cars that have to be shipped from Chile.

I am proud to say I saw most of the island over two weeks. I walked up Maunga Terevaka solo, I cycled around all of the roads, I went on a dive and I swam at both Anakena and Ovahe beaches.

I also rode scooters at night, clubbed till 5 am, ate fish for the first time in 17 years and just hung out for a bit.

Now, for me here on mainland, my path is heading down towards Tierra del Fuego.

I am with my friend Sharon and we have a lot of road to cover.

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  1. March 4, 2012

    Thanks for keeping us in touch with your trip to unique Easter Island. How did you manage communication via Twitter and your blog? Did you take a laptop? Did you use wifi or have a Chilean connection to the internet. Sorry for the questions – but am currently planning for a trip there in June. Wondering if an IPad would be useful.
    Enjoy Patagonia!

    Regards
    Jill

    • March 4, 2012

      I have taken my laptop (which I hope I don’t regret). Wifi has so far been fine, but I am expecting it will be more difficult as I go south. Sharon and I are taking a boat trip for three days and there will be no internet.

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