My last two days on Easter Island are filled by what I originally intended for this part of my #CreativElenaRTW trip – taking an actual HOLIDAY besides all the cultural engagement & happy adventure spirit. 😀
Just imagine arriving on Easter Island as an international travel blogger being used to always reporting live & in real-time from all four corners of the world … well, it is “Ritmo Rapa Nui” here. Meaning that everything happens, when it happens (including the Internet!). Beautiful, actually: You really slow down, with “digital detox” being the norm, and “we hope it will stay like this for a while still”, Vicky at Anakena Beach Bar tells me. She laughs, and I join her not for some WiFi, but for some delightful natural fruit juice and the company of her lovely friend Antoinette. Antoinette originally hails from Tahiti and has come to Easter Island for a holiday: “My husband is Rapa Nui”, she smiles while we choose to speak French with each other. “We actually understand each other really well talking Tahiti & Rapa Nui, our native Polynesian languages – better than if I tried to understand the Spanish spoken here with my Tahitian French. You are so lucky to be able to speak even five languages, dear Elena!”
I beam at her while sharing with her my first days of magic on Easter Island: “Just now, I have been sitting over there by the Moai at the beach. It really helps you to understand what this place is all about, what with all its history & energy … Sometimes, I am even reminded of Iceland here, especially when we talk about the many aspects of spirituality & cultural evolution. The Moai and all their history, now that is something to be proud of really … Because the whole world is watching, fascinated by your stories of achievement and spirit … !”
Life, a travel dream steeped in sunlight & culture in the Pacific. Geologically speaking, the Orongo crater is the birthplace of Easter Island. In spiritual terms, the Rapa Nui refer to it as their place of origin & evolution.
Rano Kau rises as a volcanic cone some 300 metres above sea level. From up here, in the very south west of Easter Island, I look back upon the entire island as well as Maunga Terevaka, the highest volcanic crater on the island that we have only recently climbed. It is not a big island, Easter Island. You can definitely “overlook” it easily. I am having my thoughts, reflecting on the many stories about past & present Rapa Nui culture & evolution, including the central question: Why haven’t they talked to each other (before all the wars broke out)? Why have they not convened an “elders’ council” or whatever it was, as population size, egos, even the Moai carved from stone, got too big in order to sustain the culture of the Rapa Nui, their scarce resources, agricultural systems and society? Then, of course, I also think: “You simply cannot understand everything that happened here from today’s modern point of view, dear Elena. As much as you are trying to understand! Even modern-day Rapa Nui continue to be burdened by the complications of their history.”
A history that really is not an easy one. And like almost everywhere in this world, the situation has been exacerbated even further by the arrival of Western settlers and conquerors: Stories about deportation & enslavement of priests and elders from Rapa Nui to Peru, of diseases & death as well as the island’s use as a sheep station with more than 60.000 (!) sheep, forced labour & locking up the last remaining local inhabitants of Rapa Nui, continue to sadden me. Especially the story about having used Easter Island as a sheep station is really shocking, I believe. “The sheep, they would have eaten the stones, too … They literally ate everything, leveling the ground of Easter Island”, Nune tells us on the second day of our day trip around Easter Island. “There is a book, La Historia Oculta de Isla de Pascua – The Secret History of Easter Island. Patricia Stambuk wrote it. It is sad, moving – and important. Read it, if you can. We all appear in there …”
Last but not least, let me bid you farewell … farewell from a world full of dreams, myth, truth, stories, inspiration & wisdom: The wisdom or the wish to be returning here one day.
Rapa Nui, Easter Island, Te Pito O Te Henua: This special island, a tiny speck in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, has been called many things.
All words, however, fall silent against the sheer natural beauty of this island. And it is with this natural beauty, that I would like you to “fall silent” too now … Merry Christmas in any case from Easter Island, dear readers! 😀
I have also written & published the following stories about Easter Island:
- Dream Destination Diaries: “Sensing ‘Te Pito O Te Henua‘, The Navel of the World“
- Dream Destination Diaries: “Exploring Past & Present on Rapa Nui, Easter Island“
- Dream Destination Diaries: “Enchanting Easter Island“
Hope you enjoy!