When I first arrived on this eerie and peculiar little island with the sky so gray it made the horizon-line on the sea disappear in hazy mist, I decided that I had arrived at a place that was interesting…but perhaps only interesting. Beauty and the warmth of the tropics were not going to be what this island was about. The other islands i’ve visited have had dancers decorated with tropical flowers and tropical fruits sold my women at the side of the road. They’ve had warm sunny evenings and sandy beaches. On this island, I looked out on a coastline not too unlike the one I’d seen in Ireland: rocky and fierce, spitting a windy spray. The sun was setting, thickly concealed in clouds and a drizzle wet our backs off and on as we trekked along the coast in search of an affordable place to stay.
Camping happens to be the most affordable option on Easter Island or, Rapa Nui as the locals call it. At the edge of town, just before night fell, we happened upon a collection of little buildings that surrounded a tent-jungle: a lawn strewn with tents no more than a foot or two apart. It was in such a tent where we made ourselves at home, sleeping to the sound of crashing waves across the street and the wind whipping about the thin shield of our tent walls. I woke several times that night to the sound of rain.
Each night has been this way, and we feared each day would be too. Our tent walls surged inward and outward, back and forth, threatening the little metal pins that held them down to the rocky ground. During the first two days, this wind and rain followed us like an ancient anger, painting a mysterious mood to this already strange island. As we gazed upon ancient moai faces carved in stone, it was against a gray and stormy background. The hills were barren and rocky. The seas rose and fell in huge choppy waves. The whole island seemed to tell a story of ancient wars or ancient fear. We let the weather decorate our curiosities and instill it with these images.
Our last day and a half on this island have been sunny ones. They’ve given us new images to play with as we speculate about the curious statues of Easter Island. Happier stories.
There’s really no knowing what the background of the islands stone faces are, but the mysteriousness is perhaps the most fun and fascinating thing I’ve encountered on an island.
More to come…
must run off to catch a plane off the island