HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT (USA), SANTIAGO and EASTER ISLAND ( CHILE)

Last September 17, 2008 I together with Ogie, Ochie, Sunday, Danda, Michelle and Tessie left for Hartford using Northwest Airlines with Detroit as the USA point of entry to attend the wedding of Jack and Kelly.

It was a successful wedding. Instead of staying another night at Hartford as scheduled, we decided to proceed immediately to Santiago in the hope that we could travel to Juan Fernandez Island which is another travel point under the TCC rules.

It was a Sunday when we arrived at Santiago and the airline that travels to the Island was not open. We therefore proceeded to the hotel. We realized that it was a blessing as we responded to the badly needed rest.

The next day we toured Santiago. We realized that the City idolizes Paris and there are many structures copied therefrom. We visited the “coffeeshop legs” meaning that attractive waitresses who are wearing miniskirts exposing their legs are tapped to entice would- be customers to patronize the establishment.

We visited the souvenir shop. Ogie bought lapiz lazuli trinkets while I bought the attire of the Chilean gauchos. We ate seafoods for lunch. The rest of the day was devoted for the purchase of antiques like the mapochee indian artifacts like La Terana mask, Peru’s parrot feathered belt.

The following day we proceeded to Easter Island by LAN Air. The airplane personnel told us that if we pay an additional 250 US Dollars each, we would be able to take the business class. We took it considering the five (5) hours travel to Easter Island together with the assurance that we would not pay excess baggages.

I noticed that they even beat the amenities of Emirates Airlines such as the quality of sound system and the variety of music and movies to choose from. We were told by the captain that the plane passed across Juan Fernandez Island.

When we finally arrived at Easter island, our first stop was at the Rano Kau volcano – the biggest in the Island whose enormous crater is a fresh water lake with floating green fields of totora reeds. The site offers an exceptional view of three tiny and craggy islands Nui, Motu and Kao-Kao where the bizarre “bird man” ritual took place.

On this area, we also saw the ruined village of Orongo. Perched on this location are forty eight (48) oval buildings built out of overlapping stone slabs. Over the cliffs, we would see the amazing string of “bird man” petroglyphs.

The tour continues to Vinapu, passing through Vai A Tare. Along the way, the land is almost barren except for the guava trees with fruits along the side of the road and the plantation of eucalyptus at a distance.

At Vinapu we found Ahu Tahira ( “ahu” means sacred). It is particularly referred to the rectangular stone platforms on which the Moai statues were erected.

Ahu Tahira is a key element in Thor Heyerdahl’s theory that the islanders came sailing from South America since it contains a wall of perfectly carved and fitted stone blocks that is substantially similar to the work of the Tihuanaco culture (Bolivia) and the Inca walls in Cuzco (Peru).

The above theory was, however, disputed by our guide by reciting other proofs.

The guide thereafter brought us again to place near the city where Moai with white layered pair of eyes could be seen (which I learned is the only one existing now), seven Moai’s standing shoulder to shoulder and another big one between the two areas.

The guide showed us an ahu with the shape of a boat (similar to that in Palawan) as a symbol of the female “vulva” to represent fertility.

After this tour, Ogie expressed that he was starving. We bought two (2) sandwiches but we were able to consume only one because of its size. The vegetable sandwiches contain predominantly avocado ( which ever since I have not learned to eat).

On the second day, we saw many “ahus”, a cave but what really impressed me was the sight of the biggest Moai at 9.8 meter or 32 feet named Ahu Te Pito Te Kura (navel of light) which is standing shoulder to shoulder with fourteen (14) others.

Thereafter, we visited the quarry in the volcano called Rano Raraku. There are four hundred moais situated thereto in varying positions.

I learned also that the inhabitants got mad at the moais as they are not receptive to their pleas as they remained hungry because of the unproductive soil and they tried to destroy it. They shifted to the “birdman” belief.

When we finally arrived at USA, we had difficulty because Ogie was detained momentarily because of the failure of his finger print to jive with that of the recorded one. We finally got over it and told him once more that to be Indian looking nowadays sometimes brings forth inconvenience.

Thank you Lord for allowing to have this travel which appears to be the most expensive despite the shortness.

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