Easter Island #4: Starting My Easter Island Tour
When my Hareswiss host Peter had recommended his friend Paul as a guide, I was a little wary. I only had a one full day and I was very interested in seeing what I wanted to, and not at all interested in being dragged along the tourist trail.
But he assured me I could see just the places I wanted to so I agreed. At 10 Paul showed up and I hopped into the old, but comfortable green Dodge Truck he drove (quite fitting for a man from Laramie, Wyoming.
Peter had told me a little bit about Paul and on the drive to the first site I learned a little more. At 16, he’d been a part of Dr. Mulloy’s party to resurrect the moai (statues) and had helped survey/canvas most of the island at that time. Before moving back to the island about a few years ago he’d been involved with some of the earliest software and other technological advances among other endeavors. So he was probably going to know what he was talking about, the question was whether I was going to be smart enough to truly appreciate it.
But I digress. The first place we went was Tahai, which was a little disappointing to me since I’d visited it the night before and was anxious to get to the places I couldn’t walk to. However, it wound up being very interesting as I learned more about the excavation process and started to hear how the stories in A Companion To Easter Island (Guide To Rapa Nui) and the natives’ accounts differed as well as Paul’s own take based on his experience.
Getting such a candid perspective on history and current island politics was going to be fun 🙂 And it was a great opportunity get pictures of myself next to the statues that were more than a self-portrait head shot.
From Tahai, we went to Vinapu, also not on my list. The Easter Island book I’d read had talked about it’s value as an example of platform building and how it shows there were probably Peruvian as well as French Polynesian influences.
Since what I’d really wanted to do before arriving was to gaze rapturously at statues and wander the quarry, I didn’t expect this to be up my alley, but wound interested in spite of myself.
I learned about the lore surrounding one of the few female statues (turns out it was probably just an early iteration of the usual statues).
Learned about the burial customs and saw where later generations had made a cave home among the bones.
Fortunately Vinapu is right in the airport landing path so I got a great view of the LAN plane coming in. Paul needed to briefly meet some people at the airport before continuing the tour, so that was our signal to head over (10 min away).
So far we’d gone to places not on my list and I’d been fascinated the whole time, I couldn’t imagine how amazing the next part of the tour was going to be!!
Next Post: Sheer Joy Among the Moaii
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