Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Easter Island...I Didn't See Any Bunnies Though
First, we had to get off our plane and switch to another one because of technical difficulties, but at least we got a free breakfast out of it. In the plane, I watched the movie "Into the Wild." It was really good...better than the book. The movie makes me want to read Thoreau. My favorite quote of the movie is: Happiness is only real when shared. I tried to watch "A Beautiful Mind" afterwards, but I fell asleep. The first thing I thought when I got off the plane was how clean the air was. There's no pollution whatsoever. Everything here is so beautiful. I think I'm dreaming. In the afternoon, I walked along the coast with my group to see a few of the moai (human looking statues). I took a lot of great pictures. At night, we went to a traditional Rapa Nui dance that was spectacular.
I ran at 8am to take advantage of the beautiful weather. I ran past the armada and found a tiny port of boats and another moai. Before, I turned around to go back, I found a cave with a few paintings and awesome cliffs. For breakfast, the hostel gave us bread, a tortilla, and tea. After breakfast, I went SCUBA diving with Amanda Bell and Hanna. The instructor taught us everything we needed to know in about 10 minutes. The dive was incredible. We saw many colorful fish, a few eels and a moai. We paid about $55US a person and we shared the cost of the pictures which was $18US. After lunch, I went to Volcano Orango. At the top, I paid $8US to enter the former ceremonial lands of the indigenous people. Seeing the island of the Birdman was incredible. Probably my favorite part of the trip. Now the volcano is a huge crater filled with sweet water. Coming down from the mountain, I got a little lost, but eventually found my way. I was exhausted by the end of the day. At night, I played cards with David, Cathleen, Hanna, and Laura B.
I went to mass with David and Joe at 9am. They played Rapa Nui music which was pretty cool. David was able to sit on the altar because he met with the priest the other day....not to mention he's a seminarian. After mass, there was a procession to the hospital. It was interesting to see the art in the church because it was the combination of Catholicism and the Rapa Nui myths.
After church, Joe and I met up with Amanda and Stefan. We rented a truck which Joe named Reba. We went to many places along the coast. At one point my camera broke. The lense won't move and it keeps telling me lens error. After the coast, we went to Raraka (the factory of the moai...where they were made). There were 400 moai on this mountain alone. We ate lunch in front of a line of 15 moai along the coast. There we found a cave with a lot of bones in it...not sure if they were human or not. Outside we found the skull of a horse which Joe named Ned. We took Ned with us on our journey. After this, we went to Ovahe, which I named Paradise Lost. It was a beach which we thought was very remote, but people saw Reba from the road and followed us. However, we still had a great time in the water. Paradise Lost was really cool because it had a cave in the side of a mountain. Afterwards, we went to the famous beach called Ana Kena. We didn't like that beach to much because it was crowded. After the beach, Amanda taught me how to drive stick. I stalled 5 times, but now I feel comfortable driving a stick. To end the great day, we followed the sunset which was insane.
This morning I went to the diving place with Amanda and Hanna to pick up our pictures. I had the same expression in every picture (blue steel from zoolander) but they were still really cool. From the same place, we rented snorkel gear, and took a taxi to Ana Kena. Our driver was super nice and his son was really cute. At the beach, we went snorkeling and saw even more cool fish. I think I saw the shell of a rape rape (a mix between a crab and a lobster...only found on the island). My favorite fish was half orange and half blue, but my favorite fist from the SCUBA diving was bright green with neon pink stripes. After Amanda and Hanna were done, I took Laura M. and Kara snorkeling, and then Beth went by herself. Our cab driver took us back to the hostel at 5pm. From there, I went shopping and bought really cool bamboo picture frames. At night, I got a text from my chilean friend that said that I received a 4.4 on my philosophy test which is like a 76%...a lot better than the 2.2 I got the first time.
In the morning, I ate breakfast and then went shopping. I got my passport stamped and bought cool gifts for family and friends. On the plane home, I listened to some great spanish music. My favorites were by Sin Bandera and Thalia.
Unfortunately, when I got home, I received an e-mail from a girl on my loyola water polo team that informed me that one of our teammates had died. James Phillip Bowman was a 33 yr old mechanical engineer grad student who just received his masters from loyola last month. He suffered a heart attack while playing a pick-up game of roller hockey. He was an incredible guy and he will definitely be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.