HANGA ROA - AUGUST 2004
Easter Island - Te Pito te Henua, the Navel of the World, 27º 9' South and 109º 26' West - always attracted me. First, it's an island, and the fact that I was born in an island - though I only lived there for five years - may explain the attraction; Secondly, it's the most remote island in the planet, and the idea that one is surrounded by a vast sea and that the closest inhabited land - Pitcairn, with a population of roughly fifty (50) people, descending from the Bounty mutineers - lies almost two thousand kilometres far away, makes some impact; Thirdly, the mystery of the Moai provides ample freedom for your imagination...
So, in August 2004, after reading the absolute must «An Uncommon Guide to Easter Island», by Georgia Lee (available at Amazon), we flew Lan Chile from Santiago to Hanga Roa. Five hours later we landed at the 2903 meter runway of the Mataveri Airport - which also serves as an alternate emergency landing site for the space shuttle!
Hanga Roa is the only village in the Island and is also where 3,304 of the 3,791 (2002 census) inhabitants of the Island live. It's an amazing and incredible experience...
"ARRIVAL TRANSFER - Flowers, bus, and on the way to the Hotel. The cell phones were working pretty well!"
"TAHA TAI HOTEL - Early next morning (7:00 a.m.) the wind was blowing, and everyone else at the Hotel was still asleep..."
"PRIVATE HOUSE at Atamu Tekena Avenue: all asleep..."
"EMPTY - No one was passing at Av. Atamu Tekena"
"LONELINESS - The huge head at Atamu Tekena had no company at all. Larger than the size of the Olmecs heads in Villahermosa, Mexico (I'll post on it at Blogtrotter Revival - The 80's), this modern sculpture lies on the way from the Taha Tai Hotel to the football field"
"AHU TAUTIRA - THE HANGA ROA MOAI. Carved in one piece from compressed volcanic ash, as all the other moai, this statue faces the football pitch. The average data for the moai are: Height: 4.05 meters; Width of base: 1.6 meters; Width of front: 1.48 meters; Depth of body at the mid-point: 92 centimetres; Total volume: 5.96 cubic meters; Height of centre of gravity: 1.36 meters; Total weight: 12.5 metric tons!"
"CALETA with Sea-Watching Moai. Very seldom the moai were facing the sea, but this one seems to have been erected there this way in the 1940's. It came from an Ahu to the north of the village area. The Caleta is a fishermen's pier, and used to have a fish market; a small beach and some restaurants are also nearby"
"MAIN ROADS - The intersection of Te Pito Te Henua with Policarpo Toro represents the heart of Hanga Roa, and is one of the spots to be used by any film director"
"SANTA CRUZ CATHOLIC CHURCH - Built between 1954 and 1964 at the top of Te Pito Te Henua, the main street in Hanga Roa, the little white-walled church somehow mixes the Lord and Tangata Manu, the mythical/mystical birdman of Rapa Nui. There are seven carved statues of angels standing side by side with the birdman, denoting the integration of local iconography into Christian belief. Sebastian Englert, a missionary who devoted years to registering and counting up the moai, is buried in the annex graveyard"
"THE NEW ARTISANS MARKET, just by the Church, is a good place to find souvenirs..."
"GROUP PHOTO near the Artisans Market - Another way to keep the memories"
"FLOWERS - Beautiful anywhere, either in the restaurant or in the trees"
"MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION - The most reliable does not depend on the gas station..."
"BANANA SUPERMARKET, just around the corner"
"SPIDER BANK - The Bank in Rapa Nui"
"SEA-WATCHING from a restaurant near Caleta, close to the ocean side pool. Restrooms are on the other side of the Atamu Tekena Avenue..."
"PORT - Rough Sea"
"LISBON - 8764 nautical miles"
"SEBASTIAN ENGLERT MUSEUM with a nice view to the Tahai cerimonial complex..."
"TAHAI - A single moai with topknot. The sunset did not help..."
"BOUILLABAISSE – We had a fantastic dinner at the Taverne du Pecheur, a restaurant near Caleta. Fresh lobster and fish; aioli; and Sauvignon Blanc! The owner, an Easter Islander, is married to a Frenchman from Normandy (a clone of Obelix, that the locals also name Vikingo, I read somewhere), who fortunately was absent, and lived for some time in Crans Montana. What an excitement for the Swiss in our group! When we left the restaurant, full moon was shinning"