4/9/10: Easter Island
I casually asked Zhou last night where the day ranked in the grand scheme of our trip. Top 3? Top 5? Top 10? After some thought, she replied that it was in the Top 5.
What? That’s a travesty! Yesterday was without a doubt one of the best three days on the trip. We were scootering around Easter Island visiting gigantic ancient rock statues that are so mysterious that to this day no one has figured out how they were transported around the island and erected.
Filling out the rest of my top three, in chronological order:
- The Devil’s Pool in Zambia
- The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal
- Halong Bay in Vietnam
- Seeing the pandas in China
- Skydiving in New Zealand
- Hiking the Perito Moreno in Argentina
As you can see, that’s a few more than three. We actually had a lengthy philosophical conversation about this, during which I concluded that if someone asked me “Was doing [x] in your top three experiences on your trip?” I would have to answer yes. However, if I actually had to pick a top three, I couldn’t do it.
The point of this story is that yesterday was so incredible that I stubbornly insisted to Zhou that I was going to write today’s post about it. Then today happened.
Zhou and I both remember our first encounter with Easter Island for two different reasons, but we both remember one key thing: the moai statues. Today we saw the other, less famous side of the island: Rano Kau and Orongo.
Rano Kau is an extinct volcano just a couple hour walk from our hostel in Hanga Roa. At the top is the most unbelievably beautiful crater. It is so nice that it appears as if some tourist agency ripped off the back wall of it in order to give visitors a beautiful view of the ocean. With all due respect to Ohio Stadium, this has quickly become my favorite horseshoe-shaped thing in the world.
On one edge of the crater is the ancient stone village of Orongo. The history behind this area is quite interesting (especially the incredibly strange Birdman competion), but again it’s the views that made the place so incredible. I had always thought that Easter Island was all by itself in the middle of the South Pacific, but there are actually two small islets nearby.
I’m pretty sure my jaw was agape the entire afternoon, and these views were reason alone to come to Easter Island. Someone could throw all the moai into the ocean and I’d fly out just to spend my days sitting at the crater’s edge. (For those of you reading who can actually lift and throw multi-ton rocks, please don’t – I was just saying it for effect. However, apparently there is one underwater moai already.)
To end this post, I know we throw a lot of pictures of sunsets at you, but this is just another of the million reasons to come visit Easter Island.
Picture of the Day: Hurry up and get here before May 1, because they’re about to increase the park prices here sixfold (from $10 to $60)! No I don’t know how to read Spanish, but yes, I do know how to stand next to people who read Spanish.