Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dec.13, 2010
00.30 Departure PPT-Mataveri, Rapa Nui
The costums were about to close when I finally finish paying my travel insurance via internet, I sold my 100-400mm lens to my friendtoday and got the money to pay what could save my life for the next 12 month. I ran inside to not get locked outside and miss my « so waited » plane…
I was surprised by the new waiting room inside of the airport well designed… I got in the plane 15 min later. I never been on Lan Chile, spanish signs here and there. The plane was quite empty.A last goodbye to Moorea and Tahiti in the dark. I layed down and fell straight in a deep sleep. A man voice woke me up anouncing our arrival to Rapa Nui. It was bright outside, deep bleue Pacific Ocean. I couldn’t see Rapa Nui yet… I slowly woke up and just had enought time to fill up my  Chilian costums papers. A green and brown piece of earth popped out of the ocean, we landed a minute later. Nothing around, just Rapa Nui, Te Pito o te Henua…

Sunny and cool , the weather was welcoming us… a small airport with sculptures in front of it. I was wondering if someone was coming to get me as planned.
The costum line wasn’t moving and we could hear the regular complainers while the smokers were enjoying their cigarets right by me, couldn’t be better since I hate cigarets.  Tourists are interesting to watch ,  a woman full of pearls, so full that she even put pearls on her shoes ; blond ex-sex bomb with too much make up travelling with her copy cat, « wanna look like  a local » tourist wearing a pareo and a straw hat ; unhappy french lady stuck to her travel book, she looked like she was scared to miss something about her trip by missing a word of her book while her husband was already bored of their trip…
I got out last with a new stamp on my passport… Gracias… one of the only spanish word I could remember from my spanish lessons…  The airport is small, almost as small as Moorea airport. I couldn’t see any familiar faces… then I saw my name on a sign… Yeah !!! 
A yound man was waiting for me and a lady speaking french started to talk to me.  The man is Sebastien.  Long hair, mixed chilian-Rapa Nui, thin and clear skin. His english is better than my spanish… we jumped on a taxi that drives us on a red dirt road… Taxis are so expensive in Tahiti that I was ready to walk home, but it was too far for him and it only cost 3,5USD. We ended up on a dirt road 2 km later, in the middle of a colored house neighbourhood, ours is pink. Not many fruit trees grows here, mostly clear green grass, eucalyptus trees, and goyava bush. The earth is red and reminds me of  the hill behind my house in Moorea.

I entered a cosy house, my room has a window with a view on the hill and the grass field. It feels good to be here.

Sebastian explained the house and showed me a map of the island with all the inetresting tour I could buy but I couldn’t picture myself on a bus full of tourist visiting the site all at the same time. Horse ride was more attractive but the price put me down… I had to figure out something different. Then he left and went to work in town. Rapa Nui has about +5 hours to Tahiti. I had a short night and fell asleep on my new bed.  I woke up and the sun was still high but the light was perfect. I walked to the paved road in front of the airport. I was still a bit asleep, floating on my cloud… I thought it would be cool to visit the town. I spoted a road sign with names and numbers… Anakena cought my attention, it was familiar, and probably the town name… The number was 16, I thought to myself « it‘s pretty far if they count in Km, may be they have their own mesurement scale. How can Sebastian walk to his work, how can the town look so small on a map ???  The only way for me was to go there and find out for myself. Slowly walking on the black hot paved road, I found a bush full of goyava. I was hungry and it was perfect, I ate and filled my pockets of  tasty goyavas. I started to hitch hike because if they count with Km I won’t get to my destination before a long time.

The third car stopped. It was a Chilian sculptor. He showed me his wall decorative flat moai and I gave him some goyava. A good exchange for a nice ride. We tried to communicate but the ride was too short for me to fully test my spanish skills.

 He dropped me in a middle of an eucalyptus forest and disappeared on a dirt road going toward the ocean… why would he go there… I kept on walking, no houses around… cars went by and another one stopped after 5 min. I jumped in and my new host was a Chilian couple. It was their first trip to Rapa Nui, their face was telling me how much they love the place… the sun was still up, 5 pm… in spanglish they told me that they really enjoy Rapa Nui because it’s empty… not many houses, actually none around… I was starting to wonder where the town was, hoping it was going to pop out of the hill… but I couldn’t stop enjoying the nice landscape , km passed, still no houses, no towns, nothing but… the wild horses… and then I asked them… is the city in Anakena ????

 They answered no, it over there, pointing it to the opposite direction…their voice expressed surprise… we looked at each other, for a second and a cough of laugh came out of me while I grabbed my map to figure out where I was going. I looked at it, kind of lost… after 30 sec, I couldn’t find Anakena (since I was looking at the town). They pointed Anakena to get me out of my lost session, way out of my search area… I was very very far from the town… Check a map and you will understand… It was just hilarious, we laugh all the way to Anakena, a beautiful surprise destination for me… white beach full of coconut trees with moai turning their back to the ocean in between grass hills, almost like an oasis in the middle of the desert…  The adventure definitively started.

 I walked thru the coconut field and saw turquoise water… inviting but I didn’t have my swimwear. I helloed the Moais and climb up the hill to have a higher view of the site. Memories from my trip to Rapa  Iti in the Australs hit me. I arrived at the top of the hill with no breath… it’s time to do some exercices, walking thru Rapa Nui will be perfect…  I enjoyed the view,  laid down feeling the warm sun on my face… it’s so good to be free…

I looked at my watch, 5.30 and the sun was slowly going down to reach the hills . I didn’t know when it get dark here and I still had to hitch hike home. I walked back down and  took some more photos of the mysterious statues. Cars were driving by without stopping, letting me the time to look at the scenery and feel the nature surrounding me… wild horses crossing the paved road, I was picturing myself jumping on one of those… stone walls, orange flowers… If I couldn’t get a ride I would easily sleep in the grass stony fields with the horses and the stars protecting me…

 a scooter stopped with two ladies speaking a tahitian french… They were in my plane. « Do you know how to get in town ? » they asked… and I answered like I knew… yes it’s straight that way… well it’s not compliated I guess, you just have to stay in the paved road going the opposite direction of Anakena… I think Tahitians don’t really like maps…  « how are you going to get back there ? » they asked while driving away, a bit worried for me… « It’s fine I’ll hitch hike like I did to come here » and they disappeared behing the hill. I heard a car and automaticaly put my finger out, I turned around and saw the coast guard sign and kickly put my finger away, I didn’t want to get in trouble if hitchhiking is a crime here… they passed me and  stopped the car, asking me by sign language if I wanted to have a ride. I ran into their car. Two chilian girls were enjoying the free ride too. Introducing myself and my origins, the Rapa Nui coast guard spoke tahitian to me with a little french. We talked about Tahiti, the expensive ticket to get there and we exchange our emails addresses… The guards dropped us in town. The girls walked me to the next store where I bought some water. A  guy that was shopping at the same time as I was walked me to the entrance of the town center. On the way we saw the hotel which put Rapa Nui into the spot light last week, ugly green, ufo shaped structure. White and red Rapa Nui flags float all around the hotel…

The town is a small coastal town, with colorfull boats, open ocean holding a huge oil cargo boat… internet cafe, restaurants, hotels, moai, dive shop, football field, tourist center… tahitian product for sale in souvenir shops… french name restaurant with uninviting prices…  I looked for familiar faces, may be my friends Jonnhy, Ajterama, Ietu or Petero ??? No one… I kept on walking and ended up sititing by a woman of a certain age, Lucia. She was waiting for her ride.She told me about her grand son Dylan. He went to Tahiti this year in may and got into a very bad  car accident. He can’t walked anymore but luckily his legs move and he can feel them. Lucia was crying… she said all she could do is pray…  Her husband came and  pick her up… I was moved but I’m always surprised when people I barely know tell me about their story…
 I tried a new road to the house and met Sebastien and Isabella on the way.They invited me for a car ride and showed me town and another Ahu with Moai not far from town. A great site for my first sunset…

We went back home when it was too dark  to take any photo. My day exhausted me and I fell asleep around 10h.

Tuesday, 14th of dec. 7h30
it’s light outside but it feels so good in my bed… I’m going to be lazy, sleep some more, no rush to go see the Moai… I’m on holiday… I slept until 8.30 or 9… My room is really nice so nice that  it’s hard for to get out…
I finally forced myself out of bed  when Isabella drove out of the drive way to go to work. My left sandal was missing… No ! it’s my only pair ! Where are the dogs ? One of them comes to me and after I ask him about my shoe, leads me to the neighbour garden. His friend was there, having fun with what was left of my sandal… a shapeless black rubber… RIP my favorite and only sandals… Luckyly I have my running shoes, they will not travel exclusively in my luggage this time like the first  world tour. They will hit the ground !
I walked to town, met Betty oncle and took a backdoor road. I though that I couldn’t get lost as long as I was going towards the ocean.
I went on internet to check my insurance status, talk to my parents to tell them I was alive and well. They were scared I was lost and felt better when they heard my voice.Great news, I can stay longer in Rapa Nui since the boat charter wouldn’t start before january. I could meet my friend Betty and enjoy the island without rush.  I spend one hours and my day budget on internet… Thanksfully I found hundreds of goyavas on the way and I still had a piece of bread for the day.

 I  felt good and relaxed… Policemen were stopping cars for paper controls all along the narrow street, no way to escape it. I walk back up the street towards the church towards the Mercado to see Lucia and give her some of my goyava. She saw me and called my name. Thanks to my parents to have choosen such an international name… Poema couldn’t be a better name to travel in South America.
We whared some goyava and I helped her polishing her sculptures. She has a mini shop selling handmade sculptures and souvenirs, Tshirts, shells, Tahitian monoi…
We tried to communicate as we can, my spenglitahianifrench is pathetic… Listening is good too… I helped her polishing the sculptures.

She invited me for lunch to her place, I couldn’t refuse… we jumped in the car, her grandson drove us. On the way she bought some cookie, bananas, watermelon, sodas at the mini store without letting me pay anything. We got to her house, a simple but cosy place. She kindly invited me inside telling me that her house is small but full of love. I felt good right away. We ended up in a small kitchen,  she started to cook some fish… Her grandson and his friend Uturoa remind me of my cousin, joking around… I felt blessed once again, being here with them. She is so nice.
« You want to se my husband ? he’s right there behind the house, go see him… I went and entered in a small workshop… behind a pile of wooden mini moai, latino dance music full blast, a man was sitting there, surprised to see me…  We smiled to each other and started to talk in tahitian. He is Chilian and he’s been living here since 40 years. He’s tahitian is perfect and we could easily communicate.
We went back into the kitchen where we all sitted around a small round table. Small but big enough to give us space and keep us close. Fish and sweet potatoes, tomato salad and some bananas, what a great meal when I thought I’ll be eating goyava and old bread for the day… Her grandson, Uturoa and I started the lunch because she didn’t want me to wait. The lunch was perfect, I had a tea mixed with cinnamon, a speciality of the house, to finish my lunch.

Then the boys left. She sat with us and brought some more fish and creamy pasta.  It was their turn to have lunch but not without me. She insisted that I eat pasta and serve me two beautiful pieces of fish. I couldn’t refuse it. And I have to get some energy for all the walk and « goyava + bread day » i’ll have. It was DELICIOUS, some « nanue », a fatty and tasty fish, just loving it. She wouldn’t let me starve for sure and it made me feel even better, just like home… Her husband was laughing , telling me that if I was staying in Rapa Nui for a month I would definitively be twice my size…
They visited Moorea in 82 and she remember getting sick on the boat. It was the Keke 3… I was just born…

Aftre my double lunch we walked back to the Mercado. I decorate a little Christmas tree while she was doing business with Chilian tourists. We ended her day  work decorating her mini shop and I left her to go look for my friends Jonhhy Ajterama Petero and Ietu.
I made 3 steps on the road and a car stopped, drove back toward me. It was Ietu, he recognized me whtout knowing where we met. I started talking to him, not sure of who he was until I tod him about Johnny and co. I jumped into his car and he drove me to them. I was so happy to see him, he offered me a beautiful pig teeth necklace in Ua Pou during the Marquisas Festival, where I met them.
Ajterama was there in the middle of huge rocks. Hugs to Ietu who had to go work and hugs to Ajterama. I left Ietu knowing without saying anything that I will see him around again. We then walked to Johnny house where we sat and talked.  Johnny and Ajterama are artist, sculptors.
They are preparing a huge tradionnal wedding to be celebrate on the 21st of december.
We ended up on the wedding site and I helped them decorating the house. I would never have guessed that dry banana leave  would give such a great effect.

They gave mesweet bananas, smoked fish and fresh picked tea to complement this perfect day. I’m officially invited at the wedding at 8am tuesday. I can’t wait. They told me that I was home in Rapa Nui.

I walked back home. I found some more fruits on the way, rose apple. I ate them when I was in Rapa Iti. It’s a sweet fruit and it smells like rose, it will parfume my room until I eat them all…



  1. WOOOOOOOOW!!!!, to be alone with those dream of mine. And the families you have met so far seem so kind and warm.

    Your sandal story reminds me of Anaa, the second day there someone snuck off with my only pair of sandals.

    I was concerned last week for the civil strife on the island, but just happy to know that you're safe and living your dream.

    Thank you for sharing all the beauty you bring into your life.

  2. Kia ora, great start, love the story, beautiful images. "Meri Kirihimete"

  3. ma pom pom j aimerai telement etre av toi un petit commentaire en francais ton marco