Here I am, thousands of miles from home (well, from anywhere, really), and where do I find myself this fine Thursday afternoon?
Where else but ye ol´local Hanga Roa Public Library? Quiet space, calm vibes, the smell of books and, wouldn´t you know it, free internet.
Any country that a) has extensive public library systems and b) kits them out with internet access immediately gets bumped up to the top of my list of faves. So far, (and so far away still), Chile is looking good.
Yesterday got away from, blogwise. What with the really long sleep in it was already noon by the time I climbed onto my rented bike for my day of exploring. The single paved road runs forty km around the island and passes by most of the moai for which the place is famous. In my four or five hours of cycling, I was passed by only three or four cars and was only squalled on twice. The statues themselves are pretty cool. As Jim, off of an Australian boat here in the anchorage, said this morning, they appear as if they are growing out the ground. The fact that the land around them is so green and smooth definitely adds to the power of the scene. Steve made the point last night though that they would have looked quite different surrounded by the jungle that once would have covered the island. When pictured like this, it´s easier for me to understand them in the same vein as the totems of Haida Gwaii. As they are now though, either fallen over or re-erected (none have stayed standing since originally erected – all were toppled at some point), they jut out of this landscape in the most unlikely way.
I had not given much thought to our quick dip into polynesian culture. Indeed, the place is a really interesting blend of peoples. A woman in the bank line yesterday told me there are about six thousand people living here, of which two thousand are Rapa Nui. It is a refreshing shift from my all-latin-america-all-the-time theme and yet everyone speaks spanish and so communication remains possible.
Most of the fruits and veg are imported here from Chile – a shame because of how ideal the place seems for farming, climate wise. It makes food pretty expensive, but a necessary expence nonetheless. I ate an apple yesterday, though, that was the best apple I have eaten in months. Apples have been scarce since Canada, but should reappear in force in Chile. (Who blogs about apples?).
The dinghy landing here requires us to thread our way in between two major surf breaks and into a small fishing harbour. With the kayaks it isn´t such a big deal – perhaps a bit wet, but no real danger of capsize. I don´t envy the other folks in their inflatables trying to negotiate the fairly sizeable incoming swell.
On Saturday we leave here for the last offshore leg. It´s about two thousand miles again to Valdivia, so we should arrive in two or three weeks.
Emily, on Bobbie, is still bobbing around about 250 miles from Easter. The winds have calmed siginificantly since we met up with her about a week ago and so her progress has slowed. With luck and a bit more wind (and a few more days) she should arrive here early next week – maybe even the weekend. We will remain in touch by radio even after we leave here. It looks like she´ll have everything she needs here for the repairs she has to do. I got some good photos and footage of our mid ocean rendezvous that I will post once we get to Chile. There will be a general multimedia glut upon arrival, as I don´t much relish bringing my laptop in through the surf here.
The toddler who was playing hide and seek behind my chair for the past hour has now retired to his buggy for a nap. An appealing option…hasta luego.