The South American Adventure - Day 12!!

Day 12 - Bucket List

I don't think I really had a Travel Bucket List.  There are places I would like to go, but none I would consider part of a "Bucket List."  It wasn't until I got here that I realized Easter Island was on that Bucket List.  Maybe you don't know what's on your list until you get there...

Before I went into an almost instant sleep as my head hit the pillow last night, we had plans.  Let's leave around 530a and watch the sun rise over the Moai.  Cool!!

So the alarm got us up.  It was very dark and very early.  We got ready and noticed there was a tiny amount of WiFi in the room.  So I checked sunrise.  8a.  Ok then.  We hung around the room for a bit, then around 630a, we started to gather our stuff to leave.  When we made it to our car, not only was it so dark that we could barely see the vehicle, but the gate to the hotel was closed.  As in...we aren't going anywhere for awhile. Alrighty then...back to sleep we would go.  Breakfast started at 8a.  We could hit that, then start along our merry way.  It's all about adapting.  And sleep was wonderful.

It was a little...strained...getting ready post-nap/first thing in the morning.  Luckily, breakfast made up for it with one word...Oatmeal.  Yes, it sounds stupid, but I love oatmeal.  And this stuff was good.  Almost Moscow "Milk Porridge" good (maybe one of these days I'll transcribe my Moscow trip notes and put them on the blog).  I was so giddily happy with the oatmeal that any morning irritability was quickly erased.

And then we were off.  We really did only have one full day to visit the island.  Even then, we had to return the car by 4p.  Did I mention the car yesterday??  We rented a car for 24 hours.  It ended up being the best thing we could have done in this place.  It was our way to not be confined to anyone else's schedule.  That right there was reason enough to pay for the car.  Plus, we were always one step ahead of the tour groups.  We also kept seeing the same people over and over again.  It was moderately comfortable to see people, but it was nice to go away before they got too close.


Our first stop on the island was at Orongo, part of the national park.  Orongo was a ceremonial village and part of Rano Kau, the volcano on the Southern part of the island.  Volcano!!  This was cool, because the map had very detailed information about how the people used to live in this ceremonial village.  What I noticed was that the houses had very small door openings.  I'm not sure how people actually got out of the house.  Maybe they shimmied up and out while contorting like a snake.  I contorted like a snake several months ago while painting my bathroom and I threw my back out for a good 8 weeks.  These people had it hard...

We drove back across the island to the starting point in the Southeast.  Here is where we decided what to see and what to skip.  We couldn't see everything (we did have to drop the car off this afternoon), but we didn't just want to gloss over everything either.  It was a decent compromise.

There were three areas that just took our breath away.  And made us swear.  A lot.  Every time I thought about what to say regarding these places, half of the comments involved swearing.  Now, I don't want to have to put an "Explicit" tag on this blog, so I won't say exactly how I was swearing, just know it was colorful.  And it was in awe...


The first big area was the Rano Raraku volcano.  This is what they call "The Nursery," as Moai in all shapes and sizes were discovered.  This is where they were created, then moved to the location they needed to go.  The Moai left are in varying stages of completion.  Some are face down in a heap.  Others are as ready as they'll ever be to be moved.  But they won't be moved.  Not anymore.  The grass was so spectacularly green in this area.  I'm not sure if it has to do with the volcano, but it was just amazing to see.  And here is wher we were able to get pretty close to the Moai.  We can't touch them at all, but it doesn't hurt to get close.

The second big area was Tongariki.  This is an area on the beach where 15 Moai stand guard.  Until we left, we were the only two people at this portion of the park.  It was simply stunning.  I know I'll have more words...better words later, but all you could do is stand in awe of these statues.  Unfortunately, I was a little distracted as a wild horse was laying in a heap on the ground right outside of the picture area of the Moai.  When we passed him, he desperately tried to get up, but it was not meant to be.  We were watching this horse die.  And it was completely heartbreaking.  I'm not sure how the Park Rangers handle this, but I can only hope they do so quickly.  Poor puppy...

The animals are definitely wild on the island.  We saw horses and cows and roosters just walking along their merry way down the street.  They do seem to know that you walk on the right and pass on the left, so that did make for better driving experiences,  I'd have hated if the horses were hanging out in the passing lane...


The third big area was Anakena, a sandy beach where if we had more time, we would have spent a day sitting and doing absolutely nothing.  Anakena was a fantastic beach.  And I think it was affecting us both a little.  We wanted to take our shoes off and get the sand between out toes, but right now, we're better off keeping those tootsies covered (as we are playing "What's That Smell??" in the hotel "are they our socks or shoes??"). The water was nice and warm and the sun was in full force.  At this point, we hope the weather is good in Chicago when we get home, because we need some pool/beach time.  And a pedicure.  I'm getting pedicure when I get home.  But I digress...

After the big three (and other various stops), it was time for shopping (we got some nice deals), then the rental car return.  After we dropped off the car, we wandered around to an area of town we just hadn't been to yet.  And this is where we finally came face to face with Street Meat.  It is what you think it is...meat cooked in the street.  Adele has been talking about Street Meat since the beginning of the trip.  We've had a few opportunities to try, but it was always bad timing.  So what is better than eating a chorizo and some kind of meat (tasted like chicken) while sitting and watching locals play soccer and kids play around boats in the harbor??  Nothing.  I also had an ice cream during this time (I've been talking about the ice cream shop since we got here, so we were both jonesing for something food-related in Easter Island).  It was a nice break after all of the exploring we did today.

After watching the sunset by the children's play area, we decided it was really time to eat a meal.  Since the joyous oatmeal, we'd been eating snack items...and street meat...and ice cream.  We ended up going to the place we ate at yesterday for dinner.  And dinner tonight was just as good as dinner yesterday.  Love it!!

So now, we're ready to collapse.  It's probably time for bed now.  We didn't see the sun rise, but we did conquer the island.  And I think that's better than any sunrise.  Plus, we have another insane travel day tomorrow.  Two flights and a short layover.  Should be interesting.  Very interesting... 

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