Wednesday, 15th of december
Writting about my trip took me a long time last night and I went to sleep at 3am waking up at 11 am. I didn’t feel good and ate some goyava to get some energy and vitamins. I prepared my camera back pack, way too heavy… 2 cameras, 7 lenses, what was I thinking ????? Walking to the living room with my bag on my back exhausted me and I went back to sleep woke up 3pm, feeling better. The sun wasn’t so bright anymore. I changed my bag and took my small back pack with my little camera, swimwear, pareo and bottle of water. The walk woke me up and thinking about getting some goyava motivated me. I got enough for my lunch + dinner and walked down to the internet shop where I spent my day budget to post news from my trip… what wouldn’t I do for you ! ;-)…. just kidding…
I got out 80 mins later and walked towards the Mercado to see Lucia. I decided to adopt her as my Rapa Nui aunty. On my way to see her, I heard my name and look for the man who was calling me. Sebastian was on the other side of the street by a concrete house surrounded by trees waving at me. He invited me to meet his grand dad and his daughter. Anaiti is about 18 months old, she has black curly hair, white skin, like Blanche Neige. She is so pretty. Papa Sani is an healthy old man, I couldn’t believe (still can’t) that Sebastian is his grand son. He’s house reminds me of tahitians islands house and again I felt like home right away. We spoke in tahitian and he told me about his trip to Tahiti, his son living there…
we talked about fishing and he offered me some mata ana ana, mata uira they called it here, red fish that theycaught the night before. We shared the tea with Sebastian, Leila (his ex girlfriend) Anaiti and Papa Sani. He gave me a bag full of bananas seeing that I love it… they are so sweet, Rio kind.
He offered me hospitality next time I’ll come to Rapa Nui and we exchanged adresses. And there I left with fish and bananas…
I went to the mercado to find Lucia but she wasn’t there anymore, her friend told me to go to her house where she will be waiting for me.
She was in her kitchen.
I enter in her house when I heard her calling me, gave her the fish and we sat in the kitchen. I tried her corn and meat soup while she prepared my fish.
I am so spoiled. She cook it so well. She also prepared some tomatoes salad and served me a plate of a local desert called oioi.
It’s a mixed of flour, milk, eggs water and sugar cooked in a pan, like a scramble crepe. I enjoyed it with a cup of her cinammon tea watching a teleseria (soap opera) with her…
We then left in a taxi to go to her daughter house, Karina.
Karina just came back from Santiago where she spent over 6 months trying to heal Dylan, her 14 years old son who had a car accident in may, half of his body is paralysed and he can’t walk. Dylan was in the living room with his friends, they were around him, giving him all the love they had, sharing their time with him, taking pictures of their moments together, pushing him out of his limits, being there for him when he needed. Pato, his grand dad, was looking at them. I went straight in the kitchen where Karina was preparing dinner for her dad’s birthday.
We converse in english french and spanish. I tried a «juice-desert» made with dried peach and some cereal called « mote con huesillo »
… couldn’t finish it after my late lunch… I went for a walk with Karina 6 months old daughter to tryto put her to sleep.
Dinner was served at 11pm, I sat with them, ate some potatoes and green paper salad. Tea and cookie for desert. I washed the dishes with Lucia and we left the house on a taxi at past midnight. Karina invited me for Christmas if I had nowhere to go. On the way to my house, the taxi driver went by the city christmas tree for me, a gigantic christmas tree, the biggest I’ve ever seen. I have to come back somehow at night time to take a picture.
It’s 2.30 and I better go to sleep…
Thursday, 16th of december 2010
I slowly woke up and put my clothes to wash. 51 mins… It gives me time to sleep some more or just be lazy on my bed… I clean my room, organized it a little more, listen to some music and dance… I threw my clothes on the line and walked to town to get my USB key I forgot at the internet cafe and see Lucia. I choose another road I never took before to see more of the neighbourhood and be a little adventurous for the day, if anything I just have to find the sea or turn around. The streets were differents, houses everywhere, nice gardens and bigger houses. On the side of the road a Rapa Nui man was shoveling dirt in his wheel bucket. He looked like a nice man. I smiled and he answered by asking me when I arrived from Tahiti. I answer in tahitian and we started the conversation. He invited me for a drink, his vahine was cooking. We entered in a full garden, planks of wood everywhere, half work shop, half house… Roberto introduced me his vahine, Alejandra. She is a chilian cute, black long hair with a cooking « tablier » on. She put some music on and told me «here some music for cooking and she disappeared in her kitchen ». I thought she must be a serious cook. I gave my goyavas for the juice and he brought back a sunset colored smoothie made with papaya and goyavas. I was so happy, I love goyava juice and I was dreaming of papaya for days. We drunk the first glass in one sip… DELICIOUS !
We then started to talk about music. « Do you like country music, country rock music ? » he asked me with his Rapa Nui accent ? Blackhawk, Georges Thorogood, Tom Petty etc... Alejandra turn her’s off naturaly and he started to dance. It feels so good to be surrounded by natural simple spontaneous persons. He came back with a pichet full of smoothie. We then listen to his CD, he told me about the songs. It was so genuine, I decided to buy one for my mom as a Christmas present. Alejandra came out with the first cup cake, I shared it with Roberto.
So tasty, we looked at each other, smiled and agreed quietly about how lucky he is to have her. « She is good to me and she cooks very well »…
He started to tell me about his life in Rapa Nui . He didn’t finish school. He left it when his teacher ask who discovered that the earth is round. He then answer « Hotu Matua ! » (Hotu Matua is the first polynesian to discover Rapa Nui.) « No, it’s not, it’s Christopho Colombus » He then answer « No, it’s Hotu Matua ! » « And who told you that Roberto ? » she asked. « My grand pa ! » he answer « well he’s wrong ! it’s Christopho Colombus ». He didn’t want to change his mind and belief. She sent him home with a note for his parents. His friends were laughing at him… he then told them « you will stay there with your pen in your hands, like little sheeps » « I’m leaving ». He never went back to school, but instead lived in the nature learning how to work with his uncles, about Rapa Nu by visiting every part of his island. He travelled around the world dancing and singing Rapa Nui with Matatoa.
« The Atua (God) was kind to the Maohi people, they don’t have to work alot, they can survive off their land and fishing, I’m happy to be here and to be abble to live simply. Now I have a child to take care but I don’t worry, I know how to use my hands to earn some money. »
On my way to town, I picked some pines branches left on the side of the road and made a christmas crown for Papa Sani’s door. He was happy to have it, I made it especially for Leila since she wanted to put some christmas decorations for Anaiti. We talked for little while.
I left and went to the mercado to see Lucia . In the back garden, they organized an early christmas party with a BBQ, women around it drinking some wine, dancing on Rapa Nui songs, eating. I went to seat by them, shared my goyavas and enjoyed the moment by Lucia side.
Then I left to go see Jonnhy the family. The walked is quite long when the sun is hitting. It’s been hot lately. Days are very long here but it’s good so I’m able to enjoy Rapa Nui.
I was tired, yawning before I even walked up to the wedding site. I sat down and just relaxed. There were not much to do so I didn’t feel to bad.
They embarked me for a car ride. I was half way asleep and enjoyed the ride quietly. I didn’t know where we were going. They were speaking in Rapa Nui, very different from Tahitian. The fiances drove us to different houses lost in the middle of nowhere,on dirt roads, isolated as you can’t imagine, we crossed eucalyptus forest, rocky dry grass field.
I was suprised by the beauty of the gardens and the houses, roses, passion fruit, house made with natural materials, original decorations… The site where the house were build were amazing, they had the best views and the best sites of the island.
We took the coastal road to go back in town. Hills are striking, their colors, shape. Tongariki stood out of nowhere, moai aligned in front of the ocean.
We drove by, I was hypnotised by the beauty of the Moai. No words can discribe such beauty. Man made chef d’œuvre dedicated to their God. « Look, Poema, this is our university for the sculptor, to learn how to make Moai. » Pieces of rocks hanging on the side of the volcano and right under on a grass hill, moais everywhere. I was trying to look at every details from the road, the car was going fast. Another world opens in your mind when you see this, it’s unexplainable. They are standing there careless, proud, mysterious and untouchable.
The car turn suddenly and we got lost once again in the rocky field. The Moai were there and I couldn’t stop looking at them. A house appeared and a man with a french allure was standing in the middle of the garden. It’s my favorite house, Francis house’s. He has a view on Rongoraraku, one of the best house and location I ever seen around the world. It’s just unreal to live in front of one of the most amazing, mysterious site on earth with no one around, no cars.
We sat in the house, ate some cheese and crackers. Francis invited me to visit them for the day before I leave, I immediatly accept and will go there whenever I get the chance.
The clouds were running over the horizon, the sea was whipping the black melted dramatic coast, the wind carressing the golden grass on the hill… I finished my ride in town. I walked thru the main street and quickly got out. I don’t like tourist streets. Parts of it remind everything I dislike about travelling, crowded places where clichés are sold to please the tourists, souvenirs stores and overpriced restaurant to justified the exotic destination.
I checked my emails and went back home. I couldn’t wait to get there and stop walking. It’s quite an exercice to walk around here.
Friday 17th of december
Late wake up, picked some goyava and choose my second road to town. I wentby Roberto’s house and heard him working in his garden. Alejandra was in her kitchen and she served me a banana-goyava smoothie. She had goyava and papaya marmelade jars on the table anda piece of fabric to decorate the cover. I offered my help and finish the jar decoration. I tried the papaya marmelade on a cookie, I just melted, it was delicious.
I bought a papaya marmelade jar, thinking I could eat it during my road trips. I peeled some papaya while she prepared lunch and we all sat around a beautiful table. Casuela (chilian chicken soup), tomato salad and papaya juice for lunch… yummy !!!! It tasted good, the chicken was from the yard, and she added some fresh salontro into. I usually dislike salontro but I learned to enjoy its particular taste and smell that reminds me of a particular bug I don’t like.
« The chicken ate my papaya and we needed it for the soup » Roberto told me with a little smile on his face. He is so funny. In Chile, if you steal someone else chicken you will go to jail five years and one day.
We finished our lunch with a vanilla ice cream cake topped with some caramel…
I left around 4 and walked to the wedding site. There they were still working, like they never left the site. I continued the banana leave poll decoration. The banana leave is called kakaka in Rapa Nui. I finished when I had no more kakaka. « Poema come eat with us ». We put the table and had a meat soup with potatoes and corn, cucumber salad with mussel and tomatoes. Simple and good… I will not starve around here !!! I have to walked more to not put on weight.
Petero joined us for dinner (I never know when is dinner or lunch time). He got back from Tahiti the day before where he lives most of the time with his wife. The whole family are artist, sculptors, dancers, singers…
I joined Tuki to plant bananas trees. My first tree planted in Rapa Nui « This banana tree name is Poema. You will eat bananas from it when you’ll come back. » Tucki said.
I arrange rocks around the bananas trees and put some wood dust from Petero’s carving around it. Tuki was happy and asked me to do it for all the other banana trees they planted. While I was helping with other trees, we talked about my trip around the world « Poema, be carefull please when you visit those big countries, don’t wear any jewerly, watch, carry your bag carefully. People are not like here in Rapa Nui. Be carefull please… » « Are you able to come back for Tapati, it would be great, may be you can participate… »
Kena (or Eugenia), the future spouses called me by her side to give me my invitation card… She wrote my name on with a gold colored pen. Kena is a tall lean woman, fair skin, pointy nose, almond shaped brown eyes, long black running hair… she has a mysterious beauty.
Francisco, her future husband is chilian I think, fair skin, black hair. He reminds me of a friend of mine, Piripi. On my first world tour, we started the trip in New Zealand to be at Piripi and Michelle wedding. It’s feels weird sometimes to see Francisco, I have flashback. Thinking about it, it was also a huge wedding like this one, with a traditionnal ceremony.It’s funny that I get in the same situation for my second world tour.
I got a ride to town with Kena. She speaks french with a strong spanish accent wich I found cute. When I look at her I always wonder how her dads look like. She has a unique face and it makes me wonder.
Lucia wasn’t home so I went to check my emails to get some news about the charters. The boat company is flying me out of Santiago on the 29th or 27th to Punta Arenas from where I should get another plane to be in Ushuaia the same day. I have to come back to Chili to visit the country side…. I’m so excited thinking about traveling around South America…
I walked back home, took a shower and burried myself under my sheets… good night…
Saturday 18th of december.
It’s the market day, the « feria ». I met a man the day before and he was strange, he invited me for a horse ride with him but he didn’t give me good feeling. I had a meeting with him at 9 but I arrived late not wishing to go. I also had to wash my clothes… I don’t have much clothing choices and sometimes I wish I brought some more clothes… but someone told me once « who travels lightly travels happily ». Traveling is another way of learning how to live with only what we need. If I have too much things, it will be complicate for me to move, I’ll have more chance to get robbed, have more to fix, assure... We have to choose how much « trouble » we want to travel with, live with…
I walked down to town and the strange man wasn’t there. I wasn’t going to accept his invitation anyway. I went straight to the market. Alejandra had the first table of the street and I was happy to see her. She was with Melissa, an american woman, married to a Rapa Nui and living here since 1,5 year. Melissa had some clothes for sale and some banana cup cakes. Roberto was there too.
The table was colorful, cake, cookie, cup cakes, marmelade. I sat with them and had a caramel sandwish cookie made by Alejandra. Roberto went around with a box of cakes and sold most of them and I walked around to see the market. Cars were parked along the street with fish, meat, vegetables, fruits for sale in the back of the truck, all the sellers were Rapa Nui.
A man selling CD stood out as he was the only white man but he was with aRapa Nui woman so he could stay. The only way to be able to have a space is to be Rapa Nui or to be with a Rapa Nui. Alejandra and Melissa told me they found a space because Roberto was with them to negociate a space.
I entered in the market center, a medium sized building where fruits, vegetables, necklaces, candels, souvenirs, pareo are sold. In the middle, a coffee shop. A man started to talk to me and invite me for a coffee. We sat. It’s a self service coffee shop, instant coffe, tea, sugar and hot water on the table. An old woman joined us on our table. People were coming and going. A tahitian look alike man sat by and I was wondering about him. His name is Pedro, he’s Betty cousin’s. He’s from Rapa Nui but he’s living in Tahiti since a long time. He came back to build his house to have a quiet gate away in case anything goes wrong in Tahiti.
We left the coffee shop and my new friend invited me to join him for Sunday church, from 9 to 10… I hope I will wake up. I walked one more time around the cars and stop to talked to three man selling taro and tarua. 1000 pesos for a kg. The younger, Charlie, in his twenties, a well built Rapa Nui, was proud of his taro and couldn’t wait to sell them.
Smiling faces. The two other mans were his koro, Rapa Nui name to call older people you respect. They are Betty family. We talked about Tahiti, taro cooking, coconut milk mixed food… Coconut are difficult to grow here, the climate is too cold. Charlie’s aunty came by and grabbed a taro, he was ready to sell it but quickly figured out that his aunty wasn’t going to play the game, she got it for free and will enjoy it with her fish. We laugh about it… Some costumers came and bought 3 kgs.
I went back to see the girls and decided to go for a round to sell some cakes. I ask Alejandra to write 500 pesos in letters on a little piece of paper so I could look at it when I needed to.
I was great idea as I couldn’t remember. On the way I met the horse ride guy, he told me he was there at 9 but I wasn’t there, then told me he’ll be there tomorrow and gave me a piece of honeydew… I couldn’t feel good with him and I won’t have a horse ride with him… but his honeydew was good…
« Hola… se vende… quinientos pesos… ». I can’t speak spanish but I love markets, meeting people, even though we can’t converse, we have a strong energy exchanges, smiling and laughing about me.
I came back with more than half of the cake box sold. The girls were so happy, and so was I. Roberto managed to get an ukulele and entertained our place. His friend joined us and started to play ukulele. It was so funny, Roberto started to dance in the street.
We couldn’t stop laughing. We definitively had the best table. I went for another round, sold some cake to tourists. Alejandra and I went to shop for lunch and we packed around 1pm. With Melissa we went to get her car. I had to push it down the hill to start it. She drove us back to Roberto’s and Alejandra’s house.
Roberto arrived with a friend of his, Pato, on his scooter. They grilled fish while Alejandra and I prepared salad and rice. She has a special way of cooking rice I never saw before. She lightly cooked some finely cut and grated ginger, red pepper, carots onion garlic in oil and added the rice to it, uncooked rice. I was surprised and looked at it with big eyes. She then added 2 cups of boiling water for a cup of rice and let it cook for 15 min. I’ve learned something impotant to me, I love rice and this is a great way to cook it.
I started to tell her about my trip, my first world tour, the countries, the food, how we could travel cheaply. She loved the stories and started to plan a world tour she would make with her sister. « Travel the world would be great to learn about cooking ! » I planted a seed in her head and now she is dreaming of her world tour, love it !
We had a great lunch as always, delicious and I left to give her some time and space alone. I went to see Lucia as I didn’t see her the day before. She was at the mercado with a young man that was fixing her cabinet door. She told me she partied last night all night and got home at 5.30 am. She is so funny. The young man, Dany is a pastry cook. She order a cake from him and invited me to join her to eat a piece of it Sunday.
I bought some sandals on a little shop in the mercado street. My feet felt so good being aired, cooled off. They could breath again and adios shoes and socks…
Alejandra invited me for a drink at eighich so I went to the store and looked at wine bottles. I had no clues about any of them but remembered what my good friend told me « Chilian red wines are always good ». I picked a cabernet sauvignon, grabbed a piece of cheese and bought some bread.
I walked back to Ale house. No lights, no scooter… I would wait for them on the side of the road. Their neighboor came on the street and started to talk to me. He speaks good english, he is an artist and he bought some marmelade today. His name is Napoleon but his artist name is Napohe. He invited me to wait inside for Roberto and Alejandra to arrive. They were preparing a BBQ and ask me if I wanted to join them. He has a nice place, garden full of colored flowers. I found out that he’s renting mini appartements. I took some pictures as I found it very cosy. If you ever need a place in Rapa Nui, Napuhi casa is close to town but far enough to be quiet. (http://www.napuhe.com/ or email@example.com)
I saw the light at Robertos house and went to check on Alejandra. She just woke up and gave me a cup cake for Napuhi.
Alejandra made some scrambbled eggs for us, with some tea and cookies. I found out she is working as a chef at a restaurant called Tataku Vave in Hanga Piko. She’s on holiday for 2 months and will start working again in January 2nd. If you ever come to Rapa Nui, go there to eat and tell her hi from me. She dreams of having her own coffee shop and I wish for it to happen.
The wine was good.
For Tapati, they party for 3 weeks straight. When you have a BBQ fire, people comes to your door and call to come in, and the party can goes on for days.
They explained me that to cheer his country, the president says « Viva Chile mierda » which I found very bizarre.
Roberto made us laugh all night, he really loves his country rock music. He would party on it all night, all day and you can’t change the music once he got it started. He goes off sometimes, puts his long hair down, start to dance, sings spontaneous, plays music on a virtual guitar, piano… so hilarious…
She drove me back home on her scooter when the bottle of wine was empty and I was falling asleep.
She planted the world tour seed in her sister head and they are now dreaming of it togeteher… the dog welcomed me home… Sweet dreams to you…