Lorana ( hello in Rapa Nui) from Easter Island
Now I must be perfectly frank and say that Easter Island has never been on my list of must see destinations. It floats around in my mind but never seems to land on my list. Now I know I was so wrong. It is a fascinating and eerily beautiful island. With only 3,000 inhabitants, the landscape is a prominent feature and a reason to visit in itself. I was never able to get a photo of some of the 4,000 cocoa brown wild horses so please imagine them in the picture below that was taken from a bus but hopefully will give you an idea. I will have to suggest a photo stop for their next visitors.
Now let’s talk about the major reason why so many tourists visit the island…the moai statues of volcanic stone.
The statues are considered standardized representations of important personalities who were deified after death. Eye cavities, inlaid with white coral and a dark stone disk as a pupil and topknots , were added after the monument was erected always facing inland.
It is thought that the statues began their life in the Rano Raraku quarry that is the home to an estimated 400 stautes in all stages of completion. There are many conflicting theories as to how the statues were moved to their homes. One of them is that they walked! We had a beautiful sunny day for our visit after a forecast of rain. Gratefully, we have been very lucky not to have had any rain yet.
The highlight of our moai experience was a visit to Tonariki, the iconic site of the famous 15 reconstructed statues. Why were these any different? It was the fact that we had a lecture from the field director of the actual project; one example of the quality of our National Geographic Expedition. Claudio gave us the real story of how they recreated these 15 statues from what they lovingly referred to as “The Mess” . I think they put the pieces of “Humpty Dumpty” back together again quite succesfully!
I am now off to Samoa and will arrive after a 9 hour flight. For as much as I was concerned about the number of hours we would be on the plane, it is actually a welcome break from the daily pace at a destination. It gives me time to reflect on the past destination, read the destination information for our next experience while also giving me some well needed R&R. I am a traveler who likes some down time to be sure my memories will get into my memory bank. One reason to travel is to fill the memory bank for future withdrawals.
All is running smoothly thanks to the efforts of our Expedition staff. Being in the business I am very aware of the little elves who are working at night! We are all struggling with the organizational part of the trip. Who has my passport? What should I pack in my small suitcase for overnights? What pocket did I place my money in? Speaking of money, National Geographic gives us the equivalent of $10USD in the local currency of each destination. If we don’t use it all, we give it back to be donated to a local charity. I am keeping some of it for a future show and tell for my grandsons! They also give us a gift in our hotel room upon arrival. How special is that?
This is being written on the plane to Samoa and will be sent upon arrival at our hotel and access to wifi.
Go for the experience,