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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Easter Island




After a flight that was nearly six from Santiago, Chile, Jonathan and I landed on Easter Island--one of the most remote inhabited islands on the Earth. We checked into our hotel, the Hotel Gomero (http://www.hotelgomero.com/). One of the first things we did was rent scooters, grabbed a map, and started making our way around the island.





We started in the Southwest corner of the island in the small town of Hanga Roa, then headed along the coastline going counterclockwise along the island, smelling the salt in the air as the Pacific Ocean lapped against the rugged shoreline. Below, Jonathan stands in the sea mist:





Along the way, we stopped to see the largest shrine on the island, Ahu Tongariki.



Then, we went to the beach at Anakena, where there are more statues, most of these with their little red hats:



The ride back from Anakena to Hanga Roa was very fun--a nice paved road where we could get the scooters up to 70 km/hr. That night, we had a nice dinner at a restaurant called Aloha, then went to sleep pretty early after a long day.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, returned the scooters and then headed to the airport, to learn that LAN was oversold that day, and we'd have to wait another day before returning. Having no other options, we returned to the Hotel Gomero, checked into an upgraded room (this time with a pool view), and returned to the scooter rental place where we got our same scooters back. There were a number of things I wanted to see (such as the crater at Rano Kau) that I didn't get to see the day before, so I was grateful for the opportunity to spend a little more time on the island.

I bought a better map, and off we went, this time heading clockwise around the island from Hanga Roa, turning at the base of Terevaka, where we saw Ahu Akivi, the only statues facing the water. (They are also more inland.). From there, we headed back up the center of the island to Anakena again, where we spent more time on the beach this time. Leaving there, we went to Rano Raraku, the volcano where the statues were made. (We had also missed that the day before.) There are still hundreds there--left behind and never erected at shrines.



From there, we headed back down the coastline counterclockwise on the east coast, back to Hanga Roa, and then to the volcano on the southern tip of the island, Rano Kau. Looking down into the crater of the volcano was incredible--the camera does not do it justice.




For more of my pics and descriptions of Easter Island, go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/FrankWrenn/EasterIsland#

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Santiago, Chile



I flew into Chile this morning. Great day so far-- Jonathan and I took a cab to San Cristobal Towers, a luxury hotel in the Starwood group where we were treated like kings. We even had our own butler.

After settling in, we walked around San Cristobal hill through the metropolitan park to Barrio Bellavista, where we had a nice lunch. Then we toured the Santiago Zoo, which had some cool and different animals, but the habitats seemed a little sad. The poor polar bear looked like he was dying in the heat.



That evening, we returned to the Barrio Bellavista to check out the scene. It's a really hip area with lots of bars and restaurants.

Below: Sunset over Santiago, with the Andes in the background.

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