Easter Island #4: Am I Smart Enough For This Tour?

#1: Beginning the Trip of a Lifetime
#2: Making the Most of an Afternoon
#3: Perfect Dining
#4: Am I Smart Enough for This 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.

Ahu Tahai Easter Island

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.

Copy of SAM_2334

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.

Vinapu platform

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.

Keri at Vinapu

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).

Vinapu female statue

Learned about the burial customs and saw where later generations had made a cave home among the bones.

cave dwelling at VinapuAnd checked out a fallen top-knot that had been carved out to catch water.

top knot at Vinapu

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).

Rapa Nui Airport

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: Up Close & Personal with the Statues

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discuss this post

  • British Airways Executive Club charges just 12,500 Avios for Santiago de Chile to Easter Island one-way in Economy (25,000 for the return trip).

    LAN also has a flight from PPT to IPC for the same price. So if you find yourself on vacation in PPT or South America and need some cultural exploration don’t miss the opportunity to go to Easter Island, it’s very worthwhile. I’m already looking forward to go back!

    • Keri Anderson

      Wow, that’s really good to know. I didn’t realize it was so few miles. I guess I’ve only priced US direct to Easter Island.

 
 

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