Well as this internet cafe is the worlds most expensive I have to say something quick on Tahiti as well as Easter Island, it is very built up, but it is still fairly nice.
So on Tuesday I had a lazy morning at my accommodation before heading to the Ahu Vinaphu on my Bike. Unlike the day before when I didn’t use the bike I’d rented at all, simply taking it to and from my accommodation and the internet cafe. The Ahu Vinaphu is located behind the island’s oil storage facility so I went the wrong way down the road at first not realising that the road to the oil storage sneakly cut off to the side along the fence of the refinery. According to my hotel oil is the only thing brought to the island by ship rather than plane and this means petrol is comparitavely cheap (I think there is an occassional cargo ship to bring cars and stuff as well).
Anyhow I wanted to go to this particular Ahu as although it has no standing Moai it has an inca wall like Cusco and that is unlike any of the other walls on the island which are made of rough stones. Maybe the incas boated out here at some point. After that I went back to town and went for an early supper (as seemed to be a theme I met some more people from my full day tour of the island at supper) to catch the sunset at Tahai which was surrounded by the most tourists I’ve seen in one place on the island. Even so it was spectacular.
Then on Wednesday it was fairly cold and cloudy first thing in the morning. Fortunately by the time I had checked my email and finished my packing it had started to clear up. By 12 noon I headed off for a walk to the highest point on the island, this was fun as the path wasn’t great but that did make it slow going. Unfortunately at one point the path dried up so I had to turn back but I still got some good views. On the way back I took the coast road which was much slower than the island route I took out, taking about an hour longer to get back. In the evening I headed to a restaurant for what will probably be my final Pisco sour of the trip.
To understand everything here and so I don’t have to write masses of background you should read some of the basic history of the island, for example on the Wikipedia Page for the island.
So I’ve been in Easter Island for a few days now. On Friday when I arrived I had a late lunch after my flight and explored the village. I also headed to the excellent Easter Island museum where I learnt some more about the history of the island (but actually quite a bit of it was already in the Rough Guide’s context sections on Easter Island) telling me about the fighting on the island and the petroglyphs and the theories for moving the statues and the top knots.
Then on Saturday I took the short loop around by bike near the village. As usual the seat wasn’t that comfy, and the chain came off when I went into the highest gear but otherwise it was fine. First I headed to the topknot quarry which was very interesting and showed some topknots that weren’t completed, it is worth noting that now very few of the statues actually have topknots due to erosion and the fact that all of the statues were toppled from their platforms in the 18th century. Then after that I cycled further down the gravel road to a site called Ahu Akivi which is the only set of statues on the island which look out to sea, as even though they are almost all located around the coast all of the others look into the land. After that I found two sets of caves which people lived in during the violence in the later part of the pre-European time on the island. Finally I headed to some more caves overlooking the sea very impressively, the entrances was also very narrow and you needed are torch.
The on Sunday I headed on a full day guided tour of the island to see some more platforms, the quarry where the statues themselves were carved including the largest statue on the island (that is still in the quarry), the only thing unexpected about the quarry was that it was grassed over much more than I expected. We also saw the 15 moai that stand up in one place just below the quarry. Then after lunch we saw the largest statue outside the quarry which hadn’t been re-stood up and a 200% genuine beach on the island (the sand went back in a big square) and I went swimming in the fairly cold sea on the beach. I was also told about the maoi in the British musuem which apparently has a lot of detail on it that is unique (as the others have been outside probably) although it is well kept it is apparently excellently located near the toilets which is a bit sad, I’m going to check it out when I get back to the UK in the spring.
Then today I walked up to Orongo which is a restored village. This village was only occupied for a few weeks a year during the birdman ceremony and had been reconstructed in the 1970’s. This was really interesting and it was really windy up there as well. On the surprisingly long walk up I also saw some gardens of native plants but a lot of them were sadly overgrown. I also saw the amazing volcanic crater Ranu Kao which was amazingly green inside as it was protected from the elements (a lot of plants are grown in this way on Easter Island, though obviously on a smaller scale with a 50cm wall rather than a giant crater).
Tonight I’m going to try and see the sunset so I need to get off and have my supper now. Tomorrow I’m probably going to do some snorkelling.
I’ve just landed into Easter Island, I even have the traditional band of flowers given on arrival. We arrived into what appears to be gate 1 at the massive airport and I definitely wasn’t sure which belt to get my bag from as there was no monitor for the flights.
I was picked up by my very cool accommodation at the airport and they gave me a tour of the town. If the “Americas” awards included Easter Island they’d be getting best accommodation for sure.
This is only brief as I want to get off and explore the island.