I'll begin today with a bit of backtracking, but only because I posted so many photos yesterday that my mind turned to mush and I forgot to post a photo of the only beer, Mahini, brewed on the Island. I tried the porter and while it was good, I do appreciate good porters, thus in my book, which you are reading, it is nothing to write home about. Something that I just did. Mush Mind Bob.
My Marty McFly moment consumated, we move forward to this morning when we visited the local Catholic church. I should mention that on the Island there is only one of everything, excluding restaurants, hotels, souvenir places, rental shops and something else I can't remember at the moment. Oh yes, tour companies. To say the art work in the church was different than what we are used to seeing would be spot on.
Obviously the most highly skilled job on the Island is the telephone lineman. This tangle of wires looks to be on the verge of becoming a mini gordinian knot. It looks like the telephone system grew one line at a time and multi wire cable wasn't part of that growth. To put Easter Island in perspective, Hanga Roa is the only town on it.
The photo of the dogs on the sidewalk will bring back fond memories of the Island for a long time. There was a sidewalk vendor there grilling meat on a skewer along with slices of vegetables. It was almost as if the dogs were waiting their turn.
The forecast had called for rain the entire time we were to be on the Island. We had been lucky the first two days with no rain except for a very brief period yesterday afternoon. Not so this morning as it rained all morning, not heavily, just steady. It brightened up all the vegetation and made for this very pretty picture. Of course the gorgeous young lady just made it all the better.
There is only one active cemetery on the Island and only the Rapa Nui people can be buried there, all others are buried on the mainland. While the Catholic religion predominates, more and more are turning away from it as the Moai statue in the photograph suggests. Remember, the Moai does not represent a god, but rather the spirit of the human being. The early Catholic missionaries destroyed or maimed any remaining standing Maoi when they arrived,calling them false gods and idols , something to pondered over when the Catholic church we just visited is itself filled with statues and figures of false goddesses and idols.
Lunch was a Rapa Nui meal served overlooking an Ahu with five Maoi re-erected to standing position atop it. The meal was outstanding and the mashed taro made by adding a little blue cheese and cream will become our permanent replacement for mashed potatoes when we return home and can experiment with the ingredients. I can't believe we have missed something that tastes so good up to this point in our lives. Or put another way, mashed potatoes are so bad they need gravy to be edible. The mashed taro needed nothing else to be awesome.
This a closeup of one of the Moai (stone statues) that has been restored to show how the eyes looked. These eyes have been painted on while originally the white was coral and the iris was obsidian. To date only one original eye has been found, which is now on exhibit in the local archeological musem.
The Rapa Nui practiced cremation and behind every Ahu was one or more crematoria depending on the size of the village. One of sad points of the Islands history was when all the Rapa Nui men were killed or sold into slavery to stamp out their heathen religion and oral traditions, leaving only the women and young children who were then easily coverted to Catholicism. The women were then mated with euopeans, etc. to improve the race. What's going on in the middle east today is the same thing that went on in other areas under different religions in the past. Travel outside ones country expands our minds in so many ways.
Linda walked up behind this statue, which was located just in front of a cliff and told me to take her photo. Coming back to where I was standing she remarked that was the closest she had ever been able to get to a real Ahu and Moai. I pointed down the sign just in front of where I was standing that showed you needed to stop at this point. She said something about how they should make the signs bigger, then wanted to know about how the image turned out. I wisely said nothing more than that the photo looked good. Smart Bob.
A photo of Sophia and me walking down the trail from the quarry where the top knots were carved out of red scoria. There is line of top hats to our right. Because the rock was so soft they were carved larger than needed to accommodate any material that broke off as they were rolled to where they would be erected which was typically miles away. With the final collapse of the society they were left just as they were at that moment in time. Of all the local guides we have had during our travels, Sophia, who holds a degree in marine biology of all things and came to Island as the brewer for the local brewery, was far and away the most interesting, most knowledgeable and most personable guide we have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Mauaruru is the company she worked for.
Not all the Moai represented the mana (spirit) of a human. There several groups that served scientific purposes. One that we visited had small holes around it that we're filled with water. At night you can see certain stars reflected in the water and is thought to have been used as a teaching device. The group of seven Moai that are pictured below served as a calendar. On the September spring equinox, remember we are south of the equator and the seasons are reversed, when viewed from a marked point behind where this photo is taken, the sun will be directly over the farthest right statue. It will then move left, being over the next statue in October, the middle statue on December 21st, then on to th leftmost statue on March 21, the fall equinox, then toward the right marking the succeeding months till it reaches the far right side and a new year begins.
You may notice there are three days of posts that going up at the same time. Easter Island is remote in more ways than one, the extremely unreliable internet on the Island being one of them. I've repeatedly tried to post yesterdays blog but finally gave up, so you will recieve yesterday's, today's and tomorrow's at the same time if the internet works in Santiago like it did when we were there last Saturday. Fingers Crossed Bob.