Sunday, 5 June 2011

BREAKING NEWS: There is no egg or bunny on Easter Island, Chile

REPORTING (not exactly live but maybe a week later..) BREAKING NEWS that there is no egg or bunny on Easter Island!!!

Yes, you heard me.

However, there are fascinating myths, legends, archaeological sites, friendly locals, surf and dive sites and most importantly, the man-like statues known as Moai.

You can probably visit all the sites on Easter Island in two days by car, in which you don't have to rush from one place to another.  However, to make the most out of our 5-hour plane journey from Chile, we decided to stay for 5 days which was totally worth it.

The main sites are as follows: Ahu Akivi (7 Moai), Ahu Tongariki (15 Moai), Ahu Hanga Kio'e (1 Moai), Ahu Vai Uri (4 Moai), Ahu Tahai (1 Moai), Ahu Ko Te Riku (1 Moai with a hat), Ahu Nau Nau (at Anakena Beach, the most well preserved Moai on the island, all with hats), Orongo Village, Rano Kau Crater and Rano Raraku (the nusery of Moai, where all Moai are made).

We got a gentleman named Paul, to tour us and he is an archaeologist and hotel owner on Easter Island, he probably knows more about anything and everything of Easter Island than the locals do.

Anyhow, the mystery of Easter Island has always been about the Moai:
- Who built them?
- What are they?
- Why are they all knocked over?
- Why do they stop making them...etc?

Well, they were built by the locals according to the reflection of the local men. They believed the souls of the dead would come back and stay in the Moai and would protect the village or field the Moai looked upon.

In the 18th Century, most of the Moai were standing but by mid 19th Century, not one was standing.

Legend has it that a man went to Tongariki and wanted chicken heads, he didn't get any and he tapped his feet against the stone foundation and all statues fell.  Another famous one is about an old woman who was a cook and could move the huge stone statues with super power!  One day, she came back and found that the workers had eaten a lobster and didn't leave any for her.  She was so angry that she told all the statues to fall down and all subsequent production halted.

However, there are more reasonable and modern explanations for the fall and desertion of work - tribal warfare, earthquake, the ocean washing them away and even the modern day requirements for the stones from the statues!

The statues are STUNNING, some sites have one or two, while another is a massive nusery. Like the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu, pictures and words do not do it justice, you have to see it with your own eyes.

They are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G...they are M.A.R.V.E.L.L.O.U.S!!!

You could be walking along the coast and suddenly, there is this massive stone statue shaped like a human right in front of you.  There is so much history behind them and it's heart-breaking to see so many of them with their faces down, broken, damaged or even 1,000ft below the water. Recently, a tourist tried to cut off an earlope of one of the statues just so he could bring it home!!!

When we were at Rano Raraku (the nusery), we could not believe our eyes, there were just statue heads everywhere, taller than us, staring at different directions, like they were posing for photos. 

With beautiful blue sky, crispy air and the mystery of the Moai, Easter Island was truly worth visiting. 

We missed the star-gazing in San Pedro but let me tell you this, NO WHERE can you see more stars and clearly than on Easter Island.  If the desert is nowhere in Chile, then Easter Island is in the middle of nowhere on earth!!!

Although I am not a kid, I must admit I was still slightly disappointed when I learnt that there was no chocolate egg or a single bunny on Easter Island.  The name came from the day it was discovered, an Easter Sunday.

If you have a list of 50-Places-To-Go-Before-You-Die, Easter Island should definitely be on your list.