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Published: June 18th 2014
My First Holy Shit
Walking up to Rano. This is when it hit me... I'm on Easter Island!
Today was one of those travel days that I like to call Holy Shit days. Meaning that I catch myself saying Holy Shit, I'm actually here. It's that moment when all of those photos you've looked at suddenly come to life, and the real thing is right there in front of you. Alive. Real. Holy Shit.
Today was that type of day pretty much from the get go. Antoine knocked on my door early in the morning with the news that he had my car ready for me. What made this so funny was how serious he was about it. I renting the car directly from him, and I get the feeling it's his prized possession. He wants me to take very good care of it. I think he even has a name for it. He called it Pepe? I don't know. It was actually borderline creepy and weird, but whatever, I have the freedom that comes with a car. And, it's a clutch! I haven't driven a clutch since high school, and at first I was a little wary, like I might be rusty. But I slammed it into gear, and boom! it all came back to me. By
The great heads start to appear.
the way, thanks again mom and dad for teaching me back then to use a five speed. You'd be screwed on Easter Island if you didn't know.
So, happy in my new car (Pepe?) I headed straight up a road that hugs the coast to the most famous sight on the Island... Rano Raraku, the so-called nursery of the moai. This is where the moai seem to be crawling up from the side of an extinct volcano. They emerge, that is, half-formed. You can only see their faces. Walking up to this sight was my first Holy Shit for the day. It hit me right then... I'm actually on Easter Island. And this place also affords incredible views out over the ocean. You can just about see all sides of the Island, and mainly it starts to hit you how absolutely isolated you are. A single tiny speck in the middle of nowhere.
After my Holy Shit moment at Rano, I continued my way around the island, actually having a lot of fun with the 5 speed. I forgot how much fun they are! It rained heavy last night so some of the roads were a bit muddy.
There They Are!
Rano is called the nursery of the moai because they seem to be being born... emerging from the ground. Or sinking into it?
It was a blast to do a bit of off-roading, and there's nothing like that burst of power from a down-shift into first to get through a giant pool of mud. All of this driving took me across the Northern part of the island. I saw Ahu Tongariki, probably the most famous collection of moai on the island, some rock carvings, a toppled, giant moai, and the famous beach moai at Anakeena. The pictures do these justice - hopefully you see why I kept on saying Holy Shit.
Finished with a nice little dinner and a coffee at the same place I was last night. The dog recognized me, and slept at my feet. I'm starting to think that I want a golden retriever. What a sweet dog. Tomorrow I take the car (Pepe?) around the southern part of the island. Hope it rains so I can shift through some more mud!
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