Day 5 – 9/6 – Easter Island

Today is one of the rare days that we get to sleep in, so we took full advantage. We have a half-day tour scheduled to start at 2:30PM, so we decided to head into town for lunch around noon. However, it started to rain again, so we ate at the hotel restaurant again.

When the tour bus came for us, we were informed that we couldn’t follow the planned itinerary to see the Orongo (a crater in the southwest corner of the island) because the roads were too slick for the tour bus. Instead, we visited more platforms around the island.

Our first stop was at Vinapu. The platforms here were constructed using the Incan methodology of stacking form-fitting rocks on top of one another. They fit so well that you can’t even slip a piece of paper in between the rocks. It remains a mystery how the ancient Peruvians were able to travel to Easter Island, since the currents from Peru would have forced boats much further north to the Galapogas Islands.

Our second stop was to Ana Kai Tangata. This was a cave dwelling with remains of ancient drawings of sea birds. Since we weren’t able to go to Orongo, our tour guide told us about the birdman cult rituals for which it was dedicated. There was an annual ritual where young men would compete with one another to obtain first egg laid by the sooty tern. They would have to descend a steep cliff, swim shark infested waters, and spend days or even weeks looking for the egg. The first man to return with an egg strapped to his forehead would win his tribe special status and win himself a special mate….a young woman with long hair, long fingernails, and pale skin (all symbolic of woman of high society).

Our next stop was to another platform next to the only shipping port on the island. Freight ships aren’t allowed to dock at the port; instead they would anchor off the coast and cargo had to be ferried over.

Our final stop was at the Catholic Church in town. Four of the people most responsible for bringing Catholocism to the island are buried at the church. Among them is Padre Sebastian Englebert, the same individual responsible for the museum we visited two days ago. And as to be expected, the church has a strong Rapa Nui influence to it. The outside of the church is decorated with ancient hierorglyphics. If one looks very carefully, one can find ancient hierorglyphics on everything in the church — like on the statues, the candle holders, and the baptism bath.

At the end of the tour, we had the bus driver drop us off at a restaurant in town, La Kaleta. I had the Kana Kana (a local fish), and Alice had the mushroom ravioli and also a french fries dish that reminded me of Canadian poutine. It was french fries in a seafood gravy and/or cheese. It was very delicious, but at the same time very bad for you. I am sure we clogged a few arteries eating that dish.

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