Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Easter island. So much more than Moais!

Today is our last day in Easter Island but honestly, we could both stay longer. I came here for the Moais but I take my leave of it in love with its kindness and beauty as well as its history. And this weather has been amazing! So sunny. We've done all the archaeological sites on our map, some with Patricio of Green Island tours as mentioned in the last blog and some on our own, either walking around or in a rental car (note, rentals are ridiculously expensive, especially if you can only drive auto! Our Suzuki 4WD which we named Lgartha, was $120 NZD for 24 hours but worth it,for the freedom of going wherever we chose). 

And of course we ran the Rapa Nui half marathon. Which hands down is my favourite half so far. The hills that I'd been dreading, tiny in comparison to Auckland's and the apparent loneliness of the long distance runner was a myth. There were some supporters as we left Hanga Roa but the other runners were amazingly supportive with their thumbs up, clapping, waving or smiling at you. This was most apparent at the half way mark when suddenly you were running back in the direction you had come from and facing those still to turn around. Andy took off and ran at super fast pace (1hr 44, a PB!) and he ably assisted for a few kms by our dog visitor from the night before and I ran at my pace, thanks in part to a random man, runner number 82, who just kept and set the pace with me between 5 and 10 kms. I feel bad for finding my mana / power and sprinting on ahead of him after this, but he understood I'm sure. I cheered him in at the end and he seemed happy! It was nice to have a running buddy and pace setter again after so long (damn you VS for giving up on running and moving to England). I had a killer playlist and my form felt good. Only at 20km did left knee show some pain but I told it to fuck off and I kept on running, finishing at around 2hr 20. Andy was waiting for me as usual, and after we cheered a few more people in we left, and had a celebratory beer (Escudo) in the sun at Pea bar. Then walked / hobbled to Krava, one of our favourites. I had a veggie sandwich and it was amazing, avo, greens, tomatoes and nothing else! Then we went back to our hotel for a well deserved and unavoidable nap.

After I woke up I got some horrible news by email that was expected but still painful to receive. So before the ceremony we headed to watch the sunset at Ahu Tahai, the closest reconstructed platform of Moais and as the sun set behind these statues of wonder I thought of Darryl, and Alistair too. Darryl who knew about living life to its fullest and together her and Alistair did just that. Big loves always. 

The sunset was beautiful but over too quickly. So we headed along to the awards ceremony, expecting nothing but then my name got read out....Bronze for my age group, such an honour! We are still waiting to see the results as it's probable Andy got in the top ten....will update you when we know.  

We ate at Haka Hone, the place recommended by Patricio and it was amazing. I should mention that prior to the half marathon we went to a pasta party and picked up our race pack, where we met a nice Aussie lady called Emma, who was running the full. The pasta party was funny in that although the organiser was bilingual, the guest speaker was the first South America to climb Everest and he only spoke Spanish so what followed was a half hour tale of bravery and endurance told completely in Spanish. The worst parts were when the Spanish people in the audience laughed as this just reinforced that we had no idea what was going on! Anyway at the restaurant we met Emma again, eating at the table next to us with her tour group. We swapped emails so if we ever make it back to Adelaide we will have a few people to meet up with now. 

So now we are just chilling in the sun, reading and writing and then at 11pm we'll get on the plane and head back to Papeete. And to be fair, that's nothing to be sad about, as we will be staying on our own Motu in Huahine for 5 days! But I definitely leave a bit of my heart here in Easter Island, and who knows, maybe one day will come back. 

Highlights are too many to list, but for the sake of lists, as I do like a good list, here my top 10 things to do in Easter island -

1. Do a full day tour, preferably private and maybe with Green Island Tours (recommended!) of all the major sites. This will help your understanding of the island and history.
2. Hire a car and do the rest of the island and favourites again. Including chilling time at Anakena beach, the most picturesque beach I've seen.
3. You have to go to Rano Rako quarry and also Ahu Tongiriki but you should do this on a tour to help understand properly (see no.1)
4. Ohi sushi, some of the best presented and tasting sushi I've ever eaten. 
5. Te Moana restaurant for Chilean wine, good music and an excellent sunset.
6. Haka Hona restaurant for good music, Mahina (Easter Island beer) and sunset viewing.  
6. Do the Rapa Nui half marathon, or full or 10k....whatever floats your boat! 
7.Krava restaurant for its fish, rice and salad platter. Simple but oh so beautiful. Plus you can buy wifi from the Internet cafe upstairs and use it whilst drinking Escudos here.
8. Ice cream from Pea cafe. Whatever Crema Islanda flavour is, it's gorgeous! 
9. The Museum and Ahu Tahai are within walking distance of Hanga Roa so worth doing together, but you must do Ahu Tahai at sunset. Along with everyone else! 
10. Sit with a book on a grassy verge overlooking the sea or Moais ...wherever takes your fancy and just live in the moment! 

A special mention should go to the dogs of the island, completely wild but not at all feral (unlike Cooks or Tahiti). These dogs seem to be pets of the island, well looked after and fed and there as a companion when you need them! 

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