Friday, December 24, 2010

Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas...

Sunday 19th of december
I felt really tired and slept all day, I helped Isabelle cleaning the house, washed some clothes and sun bath (snorring at some point) with our dog Nanu. I could take a day off and just relax.
Around 9pm I came out of my beauty sleep and joined Isabelle and  Francisco outside. Francisco is the director of the museum and he shares the house with Isabelle. We talked until 1.30am and I couldn’t sleep until 3am.

Monday 20th of december
I woke up early to go to the museum with Francisco.  At 8.30 Betty arrived and I was surprised and happy to see her. I thought she would be here later. We talked a little bit and I left with Francisco to see the museum. It is actually closed, some Rapa Nui are claiming the lands so we visited the back room.

 Fish hooks, toki, moai heads, body, wood carvings, rock knifes, ancient painting… It was amazing to see all these treasure and learn about Rapa Nui artefact.

 I left and went to the museum library to look at archives pictures.
Some friends recommend me to meet a man called Edmundo Edwards and his house wasn’t too far from the museum. I walked there to find the big blue house with two stories. On the  way I saw big houses, residential kind, with big windows, fine materials and beautiful views.  Edmundo house was sticking out, there in a eucalyptus forest. It was quite a walk on a dusty road but I had to meet him. A man was standing by the garage. « Hola, I would like to see Edmundo please » I said.  « May I know who you are ? » «  « I’m Poema, I’m from Moorea and I’m a friend of Mare Mare, Hiria Ottino and Martin ».  He agreed and walk me to the kitchen where a polynesian women was standing. Same questions and I introduced myself a second time… The protocol was pretty serious but I passed the test and Edmundo finally appeared… We sat in the big living he had. Masks from Papua New Guinea hanging on the walls, colorful paintings from a man called Roberto Forster… leather sofas, a bar… I never saw a house this big in Rapa Nui. « Hello I’m Poema, I’m from Moorea and I’m a friend of Mari Mari and Hiria. Martin from National geographic ship also recommend me to come and meet you. »  he smiled and looked at me like he was clueless about my visit. « how long you are on Rapa Nui for, where do you stay and when did you arrived » I answered. « So what can I do for you » he finally asked. « Nothing, nothing at all I just wanted to come, meet you,  as 3 of my friends recommended it. » He nod « would you like to go out this afternoon ? I have to take some picture » « Yes, sure what time ? I take pictures too. » I was a little nervous, likeif I was passing a test. I had no clue where we were going but it sounded good. « 4pm at the church ». We agreed I left the house and started to walked town his drive way. He came out and drove me to town. We started to talk without the protocole atmosphere, it was more relaxed. He asked me about Hawaiki Nui 2 and our common friends. I jumped out of the car feeling better. He is a very nice man. I bought some bread, I was starving. Leila was in the store and invited to come at the house.

 Papa Sani was there and we started to talk. I took pictures of his souvenir collage. It always amuses me to look at old pictures, it tells you a little more about the person.

 They invited me for lunch, fish, tomato eslalada and some rice.
Lucia wasn’t at her store so I went to the internet shop.
AT 4 I was at the church waiting for Edmundo. Will he come, I’m I late. No I’m not,  I’m early, I didn’t want to miss him. He arrived and we left to go north. The mission was to take picture of tupa, stone tower that they beleive were used by astrological priest for Matariki. I got to know Edmundo a little more. He is a chilian archeologue, worked almost his entire life in the Pacific. One of his main job was to restaure Fare Hape site in Tahiti, Papenoo.
We ended upon the coast, by a little pier, 3 boats where lined up in the water, fisherman houses closed. The tupa tower had a hole, a very low build door so the priest could rub his back on the top of the entrance to get the bad spirit off his back and sleep peacefully.

We photographed 3 of them and drove back to town by the coastal road. We stopped in Tongariki so I could visit the site and take pictures.

15 moais standing there by the ocean, watching the land. Edmundo worked a year on the restauration project of  Tongariki after a tidal wave destroyed the whole site on the 60s. Everything was gone inland. They had over hundreds of picture that Edmundo collected by chance and they used them as a base.

Petroglyph of bird man, mask, turtle, fish, polishing stone, ancien game stone boards…. Pieces of the past that were left here and there. Some house foundations were laying on the ground,  I was impressed by the ingenosity of it. They were built like legos.

On the way back home, Edmundo invited me for dinner and we went back to his house. His wife Mara and Luis were in the kitchen watching a teleseria. We sat and we cooked some potatoes. Edmundo prepared a mayonnaise for the potatoes salad. A man eneterd in the kitchen. It was Roberto, Roberto Forster. He lives on the top of the garage and designed Edmundo house. We had to wait for a chilian family to have dinner. We ate some bread and mayonnaise to not starve. Yummi !
Roberto Forster & his painting

We sat at the table around 9.30 and had some wine waiting on the family. They were at a danse show and were planned to arrived at 10. The hours went by and we had a good time laughing helping each other not to think too much about our stomach. It was a really pleasant, Roberto and Edmundo are so funny. I didn’t laugh like that for a long time. My stomach was hurting.  « 11pm, let’s eat now ». Seviche (raw fish in spanish), tomatoes  salad, potatoe salad, tarua (taro in Rapa Nui, it’s a root), sashimi… it was a fiest. We finished eating when the family arrived, faces painted with brown mud. They were happy and obviously had a great time watching the dancers. They sat and the night went on until 2pm. We watched the moon eclipse all together and visited Roberto house/workshop. I loved it, full of colors, a huge painting on his table, bright red, tomatoes lined up. Everything was organised in an artistical way… I felt inspired being in the place.

I went back home with the chilian family, very kind people who gave me their address in Santiago if I ever needed something…

I saw the end of the eclipse thru my window, I was ahausted, I had a great day and I hope I’ll see them again.

Tuesday 21st of december.
Wedding day, I thought about Kena (Anakena, the future spouse),  how she would feel like today, THE day. It is the longest day of the year too. I woke up late and went in town to see Lucia, she wasn’t there. I wanted to post some news on the blog. I was thinking about Roberto and Alejandra… I wanted to go see them and have some news from them. I didn’t know how I would get to the country side, where the wedding was supposed to take place. I got out of the computer an hour later and Alejandra was there too. I was so happy to see her, I talked to her for a little bit and told her I’ll come to visit them before I leave.
I walked up to the wedding site where we were working. People everywhere, decorating the houses. They put up two more tents, everything was so pretty. They put the carving in the earth, I helped decorating the tents. I found a car and left with Anakena mom, aunty, cousins, Ajterama, « Te Ariki », we had a full car.
Anakena was beautiful, in her feather costume. She had a wood carved crown, she was the queen of the day. On the top of the hill, Francisco, was waiting for her.

Pahu (big drums hit by hand) and pu (sea shell) sounds were calling for Anakena and her family to join Francisco. The ceremony took place on Anakena family hill. Offering were to be made on the triangular plateform representing the Polynesia.

Flags everywhere, colorfull dresses, flower is women hair… they shared coconut water for their union and a kiss. It was emotional, and beautiful. We drove back to town wedding site. Francisco arrived dressed simply with some white pants and shirt, colored by tipanie flower ley and crown.

Anakena was simply splendid. White tight dress with some pink tipanier. I finally saw her dad and could put the puzzle together, he is very tall and lean looked like an european man.

Yo quiero… and they were officially married. In the crowd some couples were hugging eqch other, hope for their turns to come. Music of all kind, huge BBQ, umu (underground cooked food), salad, rice, pisco sour, wine, everybody was having a good time.

I ate 3 fishes and umara, my stomach was so full and I was ready for a beauty sleep. I left around midnight in a taxi and went straight to bed…

Wednesday 22nd of december.
I had breakfast with Betty, she is so funny and special. She is full of energy all the time. She got herself a job at a restaurant, deciding that she didn’t want to be stressed by her TV job for her holiday. She wanted to have an easy job and enjoy her time in Rapa Nui. 
Isabelle dropped me on the side of the main road and I hitch hiked to go to Rano Raraku. The second car picked me up, a Rapa Nui man of a  certain age with a nice and friendly face, his name is Andrew.

 I told him where I wanted to go. He was surprised that I was going to walk there and he drove all the way by Rano Raraku even though it wasn’t his plan. « Be safe » he said before he left and his red car disappeared in the dust throught the rocky dry road.

I walked thru fields of rocks looking at the mountain and the moai getting closer.

What a view, huge unfinish moai left in the foundation, faces coming out of the earth, tourists walking by like colorful ants, horses eating grass…. I went to the entrance, 60 USD to be abble to visit the site once, and valid 5 days in Orongo. Signs telling you what to do and not do… words that would cut any of my inspiration. I decided to boycott and I left thinking about what I was doing… I don’t know if I could come back here one day, should I pay to get in…. I kept on walking thinking that everything would be ok, I’ll find a way to see the site, I was confident, I could see it from the road, walking towards Tongariki and looking at the birds by the cliff.

 The cliff side of the volcano is astonishing. I couldn’t get my eyes off of it. The birds and horses lead me to the moais. I was there,  alone with the horses rubbing their back on a moai laying down face first. I took pictures and just sat down in the middle of them. A young man walked by and the groups arrived slowly. I met Anakena dad’s, his a guide and he had a friendly voices. He was with somecostumers, an american couple,the woman spoke french. He knew my name, where I was from and that I was going to Antartica. He recommended me to hike up the volcano and see the inside. I went, leaded by horses path.

A lake in the middle, moai on the right side, what a beautiful suprised. I didn’t know there were Moai here. Horses were eating grass on the sides of the volcano above the moai. I walked thru the goyava bush to see the moai closer. The earth was hot, red, orange like the lava that once boiled here.
No big tourist groups come in the volcano, it was the best place to be. Around the lake, some man were cutting totora, big size papyrus kind of grass, for the Tapati triathlon. They would build vaka out of it and paddle across the lake.

I went down to see them, they were almost naked, dressed in hami. I sat down and observed the scene. A young man well build was tighting the totora packs while other ones were cutting them. They had their own slang and I couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying.

 The young man name was Aito, we converse in Tahitian. He gave me some tire rubber to cut. He is 22, work in the field as an agricultor, dances, paddle canoe. He invited me to see their show Kari Kari on Thursday and offered to drive me back home if I wanted. Perfect, I wouldn’t have to worry about hitch hiking and I could enjoy my time in Rano Raraku. I went for a swim in the lake floating on a pack of totora I found. It felt so good after such a hot, dry, sunny day. I was in the middle of the lake, looking at the moai, thousands of mini fishes started to surrounded me and massaged my whole body. Some young Rapa Nui came in the water, swam and yelled they joy to be here. It was the place to be and I was loving it…
Sun bath to dry off. The light was better and I went back up to take more photos. I was alone, the park was closed but I could stay since I was with my Rapa Nui friends. They were camping down behing the volcano. They prepared dinner, about 6 or 8 of them were sleeping there. Totora laying on the floor, a month to dry them and hundreds to built the vaka. I have to come back and see the whole process, to see Tapati.

We ate, they served me a big plate of pasta. They were very organized, we had some music on. I didn’t say a word but thank you. They offered a plate of oioi but I could eat more.
I was back on the road with 3 of them, Aito, Tokerau and another guy I don’t know. We got out of the park in a funny way, Rano Raraku was covered with golden light. Sun was setting, I had a great day and new friends.

Isabelle and Sebastian were home. Francisco arrived and we started to talk, ate some cookies his mom sent for christmas… Betty joined us on the table. I worked on the photos and my Christmas card… I went to bed around 5 or 6, I don’t know anymore…


1 comment:

  1. You are great, I love these images. I gotta get there someday! D