Moai on Easter Island

Moai on Easter Island

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Easter Island, Part I

All the Spanish that had come back to me when I was in Peru suddenly vanished when I arrived in Chile.  Peruvian Spanish and Chilean Spanish might as well be two different languages.  To make me even more clueless the people in Easter Island even have a bit of a Pacific Island accent.  Imagine an English speaker born Scotland and then moving to Mississippi at age 8 and you get a Chilean Spanish speaker living on Easter Island.  Lucky, many people spoke enough English (more than I expected) to match my Spanish that we were able to get around fairly easily.

I think the word “mysterious” is most commonly used to describe Easter Island.  I agree, but I’m going to try to figure out how to explain the island without using it. 

Easter Island is tiny and most of it can be seen in this photo.

I’ve been curious about Easter Island for most of my life.  I’d see photos of the carved stone heads, called moai, and by very intrigued and filled with wonder by them.  I knew that someday I would see them in person.  After seeing my first moai I felt a mix of joy and disappointment.  Disappointment because I keep wondering “what the hell is this thing?”

After a full day tour in Spanish (translated by our new Danish friend Thea) we learned that most of the moai were carved to commemorate kings of the first tribes on the island.  They were moved from the quarry in a walking fashion by tipping the statue side to side the same way you might move a heavy piece of furniture across your house.  This seems to be the general idea lately on how they were moved.  But if that is how they were moved then why did the need large piles of rocks and long wooden poles to lever them into the original vertical positions on the ahu or stone platforms designed for the moai to stand on.

This is one of the many things that I haven’t quite grasped about Easter Island.  I’m in the middle of looking for a good book to read to help unveil the mystery of this place.  Shit, I did end up using the word “mystery.”  I guess that is unavoidable in such a mysterious place.

Just so that this first post about Easter Island doesn’t get too long I’m going to stop it right here and add a few more teaser photos before I continue.

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