Monday, March 9, 2009

Flashback: Rapa Nui

We had flown for hours...or was it days?  Suddenly, the plane ducked and the mists parted.

A mysterious black coastline greeted us.  We were looking at the most isolated, inhabited island in the world. 

We had arrived.  The sign said so.  But it was almost too much to believe.We stayed at the Hanga Roa, one of the old-school hotels on the island...
where a surprise greeted us around every corner.

The next morning, we hiked to four separate moai sites. Edmundo Edwards, the world's foremost expert on Easter Island, was our guide.  A gifted raconteur, he combined the wit of David Niven with the passion of Javier Bardem.

Seeing the moai standing sentinel in the distance was overpowering...

...but seeing them up close was even more so.  From my travel journal: "I felt an explosion of awareness as we approached."

The islanders would carve a statue in the memory of an ancestor and worship it as a god.  In return for their devotion and offerings, they believed the moai would protect them.  

We hiked up to the quarry where the statues were hewn and saw the giant holes in the rocks where the islanders had carved them out.  

Many were lying on their sides, broken.  After a year or more of labor, they had not survived being hoisted downhill and centuries later, were still lying where they had fallen.

After lunch, we went swimming in the bay. The water was turquoise and as warm as bath water. For once, I wasn't afraid of any creatures of the deep. I thought to myself, if this is my time, so be it.

I took photos of all the statues I saw, but one face in particular seemed naggingly familiar.

It wasn't until I returned home that I realized why. 
I wonder if she was ever aware of her ancient doppelganger.  I hope so.  I think she would have been tickled pink, don't you?

Even now, I can't shake the connection between them.  


Mary said...

HA! I didn't see THAT coming ....!! Both amazing forces of nature.

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -

As a Midwestern gal whose travels have been limited..what a great snippet of the world, summed up with a cute little twist.

she would not be pissed

Laura said...

I'm sure the fabulous Ms. Vreeland would love the comparison! What a great trip...I've always wondered if it was worth the hassle of getting there, but I see now that it most certainly would be.

Tricia said...

Outrageous! Two on-nonsense icons, forever immortalized, one on Easter Island and one in The Devil Wears Prada!

Mr. Peacock said...

What a trip...and the
Diana comparison is brilliant.
I'm still laughing!

jeff suhy said...

love it lisa...

Michelle Parks McCourt said...

Would love to visit this place one of these days!
Great post.

beauty comma said...

It seems like such a strange place... My dad had a book about the Easter Island and I remember being fascinated by the pictures a a kid. Must have been an incredible experience to actually be there!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

The Deco Detective: Oh, it was an eerie, surreal, magical place. I didn't want to leave. It was kind of like a tropical "Lost Horizons" -- the island takes a hold of you in a strange way and you stop caring about anything that exists beyond the shores. It's kind of "Twilight Zoney." The statues are powerful, no question. And they're everywhere, all over the island. If I hadn't had to leave in two days, I'd probably still be there! :)

Tavarua said...

Interesting trip, I agree, (I have not been there yet) but the (many) islands do "take a hold of you", and Diana Vreeland.....Brilliant!


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