Easter Island, Chile Friday January 20, 2017

Another beautiful day begins.

Today we are going to visit Ahu Akivi.

Ahu Akivi is said to represent the seven men who first came to Rapa Nui. It is very interesting to note that the seven are all of equal size and shape. It is also a celestial observatory, that was set up in the 16th century. They exactly face the sunset during the spring equinox and their backs face the sunrise during the autumnal equinox! You can see the cement where the heads were reattached.

Here is a baby pineapple!

Our first hike of the day was to a lava tube, Anu Te Pahu. Have you ever been in a lava tube before? Well come along.

These horses along the path were quite healthy.

With all the recent rains the path was quite muddy.

The cave is hidden by the trees and the banana plants. Bananas do not grow on trees as the plant has no woody tissue!

The cave was used as a dwelling place for the early people. It was also used during the tribal wars and a hiding place during the raiding for slaves.

Down we go! This is the largest cave on the island. There are several interconnected chambers totaling a length of seven kilometers. It was damp. Water was dipping down from the ceiling. Lilli drank the water and said that we could to, as it had been purified by going through so many layers of basalt rock. I didn’t want to risk any indigestion of any kind, and passed on the opportunity. Ah, the end of the tunnel appeared. I was so happy to see the end of the tunnel. We could have gone further through the tunnel and seen the ocean through lava windows, but I knew that we had to return and would have another hike in the afternoon. Yay! Steve came out right behind me. We had to use a flash light on our walk in the cave, and the flash light app on Lilli’s phone. The sharp lava rocks made the hike very difficult. I was hot, tired and sweaty and we still had to hike a long way to get to the van. Lilli found a sweater left by a guide on a previous walk. She was bringing it back to where we had left our van. The path was really muddy and slippery. I never fell completely in the mud, nor partially, but it was tough going in a number of spots. You can see the guava fruit growing on the tree in this picture.

Lilli showed us a guava. The horses love to eat them.

They were easy for Lilli to twist open. My sneakers were a mess, along with my pants of course. Good thing there was a shoe cleaning station back at Explora!

I am wearing one of Elliott’s old fishing shirts, as I left my white one on the white bed in Valparaiso, I was happy to have this one! I felt as bedraggled as I looked!

We got back in the van and traveled to see…More Moai! You were not allowed to go past the markers as the ground is sacred. These guys might have had a story but i forgot what it was.

Here is Steve studying the two Moai. This site was restored in 1974.

This one got really eroded over time.

He is the only Moai on the island with coral eyes. The eyes are a restoration. Don’t the coral eyes make him really seem alive? He also has the top knot. He is called Ahu Ko Te Riku.

Didn’t Lilli take a great picture of us? Someone’s keeping an eye on us!

You can see the crane in the distance unloading goods to be brought to Easter Island.This picture has all the Moai in it. On our way to town we passed by a cemetery. If you didn’t have much money you could go camping. Remember me telling you about the richest man on the island? He owns this car rental agency. He also rents mopeds and motorcycles.

We drove into town and saw this Moai. I had mentioned in a previous post about the festival that was going to be held in a few weeks. Part of the preparations was erecting a painted Moai.

Lilli is explaining to Steve that it is made of concrete. Lilli said he would be painted yellow, the color that the original Moai were painted.

This shows the coloring a little bit better. It will be quite dramatic when it is finished!

I was hoping that I didn’t get the van too dirty. I really was a mess!

Soon we were back at Explora and it was time for lunch.

Minced vegetable tortellini.

Creme anglaise with caramel for our dessert! Yum, yum!

Since our next hike wasn’t until four, we decided to have massages.

Too bad you close your eyes during your massage. The view was really nice. The massage therapist played native music. It was a blissful afternoon!This is the way back to our room where we got ready to go on our afternoon hike.

Now it is time for you to learn about top knots, or pukao. What are those strange things on top of the Moai? They are pukao, the top knots. How did they get up there?

Puna Pau was the quarry where the top knots were from. The stones were cut and then rolled to the site where they were carved and then erected onto the Moai. There are several different viewpoints on how it was done.

A Chinese group joined us at the site. They do love to do the crazy photos!

Here is our guide Stephen telling Steve the story of how the top knots are created. Believe it or not, but Stephen stayed with an uncle in Saugerties for a year. Saugerties is about an hour northwest of us! More information regarding the pukao. This is how some of the archeologists believe how the top knots were placed on top of the Moai. We headed back to the van and passed by many top knots that never made it to the tops of the Moai. Our guide carried a back pack filled with emergency gear, and he always had a walkie talkie with him to contact the hotel.

Then we were off on another short hike to see some pictographs in a grotto.

Unfortunately, going down would mean going back up also!

The pictographs had been very badly damaged by the elements and natural breakage over time. The drawings were on the ceiling and just flake off over time.

My last picture of our hike for the day. I was so tired of walking around. Steve got out of the van at our next stop. 11,000 steps were enough for me! We still have a week left on our vacation in South America! Yikes!

Lovely green salad. I had the duck confit.

Steve had the seafood pasta, hold the octopus. My dessert. It had bananas in it. Steve doesn’t usually care for fruit.

Dessert number two. Which was guava cake. I asked the waitress which dessert was better. She told me to have both. I actually only ate 3 bites of each. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Do you have an uncle in Saugerties?

Have you ever been to Saugerties?

Do you know where Saugerties is?

Valparaíso to Easter Island, Chile Wednesday January 18, 2017

We had to get up early to drive south from Valparaiso to the airport in Santiago to catch our flight to Easter Island. It wasn’t hard to wake up early as we barely slept. The gulls outside our windows drove us crazy all night long! Wake up call at 5:30 for a 6:00 car pickup.

Good bye Valparaiso graffiti!

This was a picture of a haunted street. I really didn’t understand the story but you were not supposed to linger here, but to drive by fast. So we did.

The sun began to rise on our way to Santiago.

Steve tried to sleep in the car as he had a bad night’s sleep. Between no air conditioning, the gulls, and my snoring-I mean purring, and a sore throat Steve had a very bad night. Even with the soothing sounds of a fan on the app on his iPhone, he slept very poorly. He went to bed at 9:30. I went to bed at 10:30. I woke up at 12:30, and thought great, I have five more hours to sleep. Which I told myself every hour decreasing the amount of time to sleep the rest of the night!

The pretty drive to the airport.

Steve got us some coffee so we could stay awake on our flight. As the hotel was not open for our early breakfast we were given a bag breakfast of a ham and cheese on stale bread and a nectarine. All we really wanted was coffee! The Dunkin’ Donuts had no milk and only artificial sweetener. I tried to pretend I was drinking a large espresso.

Orange juice and ibuprofen. Manna from Heaven for a sore throat.

You can see the smog hiding the mountains! The doodles represent the mountain edges!

We were flying business class to Easter Island. Did you know that it will take us 5 hours to get there?

I loved seeing our plane’s shadow as we ascended!

We leave the mainland. Next stop Easter Island! It is called Easter Island as it was discovered by Jacob Roggeveen,a Dutch Explorer, on Easter Sunday in 1722.

Plane breakfast. Easter Island is in the middle of nowhere! It is a long way from there to any other inhabited land.

You can see where Valparaiso was. On the coast and north of Santiago. Look at all the mountains!

Easter Island.

Yay! We have arrived! We have landed! Looks like I could use a brow lift and possibly an under eye tuck. Would you believe that a hair dresser I once went to suggested I get an eye lift, and Botox in my cheek folds? I always call them Fred Flintstone’s as his face had some really big ones.

Wilma doesn’t have any at all. Maybe she had Botox! Her hairdresser will never tell!

Steve looks like his hair has a lot of volume today. Do you see my grey hair? Not bad for 60, turning 61 in May. Although I am really 62 in real life as I am blogging about a trip that happened two years ago.

Just follow the signs.

We leave the airport and head to our hotel. There are many kids camping here. Not for me!

After a very bumpy ride we reach Explora Rapa Nui. https://www.explora.com/easter-island-chile/

There are other Explora hotels. One is in Antacama, the Chilean Dessert in Northern Chile. It’s elevation is very high so it is doubtful that I will ever visit there. Another location is in Torres Del Paine in the south of Chile. We hope to visit there someday. Two more are in Argentina and another in Bolivia. They are all boutique all inclusive hotels with guided group activities. There appear to be about 20 guests here now. Each day a few leave and a few arrive. The largest hotel on the island has 90 rooms (not Explora).

There is wifi service only in the main bar and lounge. Each day you can select two half day or one full day activity. The one full day activity is a strenuous 7 hour hike which includes a pack lunch. You can be assured that I will not be doing that!

Here is Steve checking us in. Everybody gets a lei!

Don’t I look lovely with my beautiful lei? At least my chin looks firm! Unfortunately the flowers looked good for only about 30 minutes!

The walkway between the buildings is thankfully covered. They get a lot of rain here. It is a good thing that I bought my Patagucci rain jacket. It is very humid here. My hair doesn’t know if it should lie flat or rebound! Oh, my rain jacket was found and it is being sent to the Ritz Carlton in Santiago where we will pick it up on our return trip from here.

Let’s see what our room looks like. We were staying in room 12.

The view out our window. Thankfully the room was air conditioned as it was quite humid here. There was a lovely chaise built into the window.

The view of the ocean and the pool out our window. Do you see the rain cloud? Rain, rain go away.

Our room with luggage all over. We had to hurry to unpack as we were going to have lunch and then go on our first hike. Were we going to wear our sneakers our Keens and socks, or Keen’s and no socks. We decided on sneakers.

We had lots of nice storage on the shelves. Behind the bamboo portions was a toilet on the left, sinks in the middle and a shower to the left.

We had iced tea, it was very lemony.

Lunch started with a lovely green salad.

Followed by ham and cheese on a baguette.

After lunch we met in the lobby with the other guests who will go on our walk in the quarry. We arrive at the park entrance where our guide Natalie produces our park passes, and we set up for what is supposed to be a short walk. This area is called Rano Raraku.

The quarry is not a big hole, but the side of a hill. All of the Moai on the island are from this quarry except for one that was made of basalt. We do not know where that one was from yet. The Moai are made of tuff, a rock made of compressed volcanic ash.

There are 840 Moai on the island. 400 are located in the quarry. We didn’t see that many, and there are bits and pieces of some that are broken. All the Moai that were finished have been toppled . The only erect finished ones that you can see have been restored.

It was very moving for me to come to Easter Island. As a young girl I read the book Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. Steve has read it also and was quite excited to come here also.

None of these Moai have eyes as they are unfinished. They did not get eyes until they reached their final location elsewhere. If you get a chance watch the video on you tube that discusses the theories on how the Moai were moved.

Here we see half of the Brazilian couple that went on the hike with us. The lady on the left is from Quebec. We think that she was in her 80’s. She was in tremendous shape. She leaves her husband for two weeks at a time and travels the world with her girlfriend. Her husband stays home with the dogs and tells her to “hurry back home!”.

Several of the Moai were toppled over and broken into many pieces.

Down below you will see a rider on horseback. He is there to make sure that people stay on the path.

Here you can see a Moai in the process of carving. It was probably half done before it was abandoned. You can make out the face and the body.

This Moai was different than all the other Moai on the island as it was kneeling. It had been excavated. Originally only the head was visible.

I persuaded the Brazilian woman to sit sideways and to pretend to kiss the Moai. It made a great picture. I would rate this picture as adequate.

Far away you can see the 15 Moai. I hope we will learn more about them!

Moai were carved both vertically and horizontally out of the rock.

A view down the hill and toward the ocean. Somehow my walk turned into a hike!

You can see how eroded this Moai is.

You can see how big the quarry is in this picture.

There are lots of horses on Easter Island. More about them on another blog post.

We were supposed to go on a walk to a crater filled with fresh water, but due to all the recent rain it was forbidden. It was declared unsafe due to all the red clay mud.

We had to drive through a humongous puddle on the way back to Explora.

Back to the hotel.

Let’s take a walk to the pool. The man swimming was from Korea. He and his friend elected to have massages and hang out at the pool instead of doing an activity this afternoon.

The pool was too cold for me. I had read in one of my guide books that it was supposed to be a surreal experience to be in the pool and look at the stars at night. Perhaps I will do that from the hot tub instead.

The water looks inviting but it was so cold!

The hot tub looked very inviting.

We arrived at the bar to discuss our next day’s activities with our next day’s guide. I had a scallop on something green and creamy to whet my appetite before dinner. Doesn’t it look disgusting? It was yummy. I want to vomit just looking at it now. I actually ate that thing? Yuck!

The tortilla chips in the bar got stale quickly in this humidity.

Steve ready for dinner. Lots of wine glasses to drink out of, and windows to enjoy the view. I think that Steve is looking at me like Fred looked at Wilma!

We met a lovely couple from England before dinner and had fun talking politics with them.

Bread to start.

There is always a salad isn’t there?

Followed by soup. Before and after they ladled the soup in the bowl. I love soup that is a production in the presentation!

Our fish.

Yummy dessert.

Look how far west we are!

Did you read Kon-Tiki as a child?

Do you like two part soups?

Do you need Botox injections in your fore head, cheeks, lips, an eye lift and a tummy tuck?