27 Aug is not as hungover as 26. Not at all so, in fact. Travelling with a Bender who never drinks two days in a row is very much an hindrance. Still, we don’t manage to leave for quite some time. Driving around town a lot looking for breakfast. Town’s not that large, but still wasted a fair bit of time. Both hindrances (Ben & Pen) had specific ideas for what they wanted. And I wanted some salami to complement our bag of ingredients for a packed lunch. Eventually we got away though, and started the long southern coast circuit. Lots of big stone heads. Most of these ones haven’t been restored, so we saw heaps that were toppled over. Still impressive, and still makes one wonder “Why?”. Well – Ben was wondering “Where?” – although he could see the answer to that in front of him. Idjit.
Quite a few toppled big bloody stone heads, at various points – and then the main quarry, where they carved the actual heads. (Think I mentioned we saw the quarry where they made the red ‘hats’ yesterday.) Get out of the car, and exclamations of awe are immediately forthcoming. The first thing you see is dozens and dozens of big bloody rock heads. Maybe waiting to be taken to their intended places along the coast, or maybe intentionally ‘guarding’ the quarry? Mysterious. Walk up the hill, and then start seeing the ones which were only partially carved out of the mountain. It is immediately obvious that however crazy these guys were at the start – they’d completely lost the plot by the end. The size of some of the ones which had nearly been finished was ridiculous. Nutters. Walk around the quarry some more – plenty of unfinished big rock heads. Pen finds her favourite one, while Ben & I take far more photos than really necessary. But – it is rather hard to resist. Like the Great Wall – every minute or so you see something which makes you say something you wouldn’t say in front of your mother. Big fecking rock heads.
After the quarry, we head to a spot we’ve seen from the top of the quarry/hill. 15 big bloody stone heads standing in a row. And they look very big. We head there – and sure enough, there’s 15 big bloody stone heads in a row on a single platform. And they are very big. Good spot for lunch, we reckon. So – we have lunch, and I figure out the “Why?” question that has baffled archeologists for so long. The big bloody rock heads were obviously placed as windbreaks. Mystery solved, we finish lunch, and take some cheesy photographs, artistic photographs, and plain boring “could get this photo much easier and better quality from the internet” photographs. All to add to some of our inappropriate and culturally insensitive photographs taken over the last two days. (Once I finally get around to catching up on the photo uploading thing, please forgive some of the photographs.)
After that, we see one or two more sites with toppled moai, and then get to the only safe swimming beach on the island. And it’s pretty. A sandy cove, with the sandy valley making it’s way up to solid ground – where a group of moai stand guarding the beach. The clouds come over just as we get there, and by the time we’ve taken photos of the place, it has become fairly cold. But there is no way that I’m going to miss a chance to swim on Easter Island. Water is bloody cold, and there is heaps of seaweed (which always gives me the Fear – something brushing against my legs in the ocean nearly makes me do pissy-pants every single time), but the cold quickly dissipates, and I am able to watch with enjoyment as Ben slowly makes his way in, with several expletives escaping his mouth on the way. Good solid swim, with some decent size waves once in a while, and no sharks-riding-on-an-elephant’s-back attacking either of us – then we drive back to town. Then, we put the roast on. Have a few drinks – then go see some of the moai which are lit up at night time. Back to hostel, and have ourselves a delicious roast, followed by pisco jelly. American staying at same hostel got chatty with Pen during cooking time – and has been invited to join us in the jelly. Ben & I sit and try to hold our tongues as this seppo talks inanely on and on. Doesn’t know who Barack Obama is. “I don’t really know anything about that stuff at all. My father follows it all, and researches stuff. So I just trust him.” Another piece in the puzzle of another mystery (”How did W Bush get in TWICE?”). Ben & I stay up for a while longer, after fetching some cerveza – and make an excellent list. Struggle to understand most of it later – but it is all pure gold.
28 Aug, time to leave. We pay the nice lady, pack our stuff into the trusty ‘geep’, and check in at the airport – several hours early. Get rid of the luggage though, and then drop off the geep with another nice lady. Walk to the museum, touted in the guide book as the largest open air museum IN THE WORLD! We get there, and the museum is small, and all indoors. Odd. Maybe they’ve labelled the entire island as a museum. Museum is fairly informative – but I get a little offended at claims that the Rapa Nui people were related to the Maori. These guys were absolute nutters. Then, I figure it out. Easter Island was the insane asylum for the Pacific. The similarities in language, and sudden emergence of weapons similar to taiaha; along with the big bloody stone heads, and the Birdman cult – it all fits together.
After the museum, back to the airport. Get there, and watch with disbelief as the people form a huge queue to board the plane. The only plane in the airport. Not really much need to queue. So, we sit down, wait for the queue to vanish – and then walk through, and board the plane. Sitting together this time, and Pen’s curse of always having a faulty entertainment unit has been broken. I soon regret this though, when I run out of things to do/watch – and finally resign myself to checking out what all this kuffufle about “24″ has been. Watch 3 episodes, and am not particularly upset when the system is turned off for landing.
So, back in Santiago. Catch the airport bus to a long-distance bus station, and then let a very helpful, very informative, very annoying seppo help us buy bus tickets. He had a list of loyalty card numbers – so we got discounts, and I assume he got some kind of bonus points. A quick meal (reminding me again that we must start buying only two meals to share), and then onto the bus.
That’s all for now. The next update will be extremely boring – unless I can force myself into brevity. But, to let the family and other such folk know – we are now in Cusco, Peru.