maandag 21 december 2009

The last part of my travel blog

This is the last part of my travel blog.
I had much fun making this blog and it will be my photo album of these holidays.
Of course I have lots of other pictures and if you want to see those, you're welcome.

Greetings from a sunridden St. Maarten.

The map of St. Maarten

This is (are) the map(s) of St. maarten in the Caribbean. St. Maarten is half Dutch and half French.
Our hotel is practicly on the border between the Dutch and the French part.
You can go everywhere you want on the whole island.
Lots of drugdealers know this too.

View from our balcony

When we look from our balcony we can see the island of St. Barts. It is a French island near St. Maarten.

Harborview of St. Maarten


Philipsburg on the island of St. Maarten

Philipsburg is the capital city of St. Maarten.
Look at how blue the sea is.

St Maarten

The pool near our hotel on the island of St. Maarten. Look how blue the water is.
The sea is the same blue but different.

Our hotel on the island of St. Maarten


Yesterday (20th. December) we arrived at our hotel on the island of St. Maarten.
The hotel is beautiful.
We have everything we need except money.

zondag 20 december 2009

Iguana at Curacao

videoThe Iguana's of Curacao are famous. In every brochure about Curacao you'll find pictures of these large lizards. The one on the movie is at least 50 cm's long. I think it is a male. The female Iguana's are green. We saw those too.

Iguana's can be eaten. In a famous restaurant, called Jaanties, you can eat Iguana and it should taste like chicken!? I don't know because we didn't go to Jaanties. Jaanties is famous in Curacao because it is the only restaurant without a menu. The owner tells the menu to everybody, a "talking menu" they say over here.

Lizard on Curacao

videoOn Curacao there are may lizards. There are many species like for instance Gekko's, the yellow lizards that sit near the frontdoor light in the evening to catch all kinds of insects. I don't know whether they sit near the backdoor lights as well, but lights in general attract them of course.

The one on the movie is a large one (compared to the lizards we have in Holland if we ever find one) and it is about 30 cm's long.

Clich a few times and you can see the lizard move.

Young whale on the beach of Cho Go Go

videoNear the resort where we were staying (Cho Go Go is the name) they rescued a young whale some 4 weeks ago. The whale was dehydrated, hadn't eaten for a long time, was very ill and died almost.

By feeding the whale ground herring they brought it back to a healthy animal. They had to keep the whale from drowning (it was exhausted) by keeping it afloat at least for 48 hours. Lots of people helped with this, standing in the water.

By courtesy of Martinair fresh herring are flown every day from Amsterdam to Curacao for this young whale.

No herring around Curacao and no sheep as well.

Curacao

"Landhuis"on Curacao.
These large plantationhouses where the houses of the owners of the sugarcane plantations.
There are more than 50 of these old houses on the island.
Many are still lived in by (I think) rich people and the others are in course of reconstruction, are museums or restaurants.

No plantations nowadays anymore.
Curacao, December 2009

We are on the island of Curacao now for two days.
The weather is marvelous, the temperature is about 30 degrees but it is often not to hot, because there is always some wind.
The seawater is very clear, the temperature of the water is OK and there are lots of colorful fish.
Living on this island is something lots of people would very much like to do. It has beautiful beaches, Willemstad is a nice city to be in, the people are in general very nice and friendly.

It is certainly different to be on an island where the people understand Dutch. During the whole of our vacation we had to speak English, French (that with difficulty), Spanish (very difficult) and suddenly everybody does understand you when you are speaking Dutch.

Willemstad, the capital city we visited today.
It has many Dutch roots and lots of buildings could easily be built in Holland.
The names of the streets are Dutch.
The pontoon bridge is called Queen Emma bridge, one of our former Queens.
The city hall is at the Wilhelminaplein, another queen of ours.
Although the people speak “Papiamento” (a mix of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, English and probably African as well) they can speak Dutch and understand it well.

There is a fort “Fort Amsterdam” and something more Dutch than that doesn’t exist. The building of this fort started in 1635, a year after the Dutch captured the island from the Spanish.
I could go on about this city and its forts (there are more) and I won’t.
There are lots of other interesting things to tell about Curacao.

It used to be a “country”, when a colony of The Netherlands, where slaves did all the work on the plantations (sugar cane and that sort of thing).
In the museum “Kura Hulanda” there is much to see about slavery at the time and we visited this museum today as well.
There was also an exhibition about the African kingdoms from which the slaves were brought, amongst other islands and countries, to Curacao.
It was all very interesting and we didn’t have to pay because nobody was there to sell us the tickets.
It was very inexpensive like that and we looked around for a long time because there was air-conditioning as well.

In the afternoon drove back to our apartment and we swam in the sea.
After that I finished the first book of the trilogy of Stieg Larsson, “The girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and I am looking forward to reading the other two books.
Speaking of books and tattoos, there is at this moment a bestselling writer, John Burdett, and he writes about a policeman, doing his work in and around Bangkok (and we were in that city some weeks ago or so and we recognized scenes in his books) and these books are really nice and interesting to read.
One of the titles is “Bangkok Tattoo”. The other title is “Bangkok Haunts”. If I find out that Burdett wrote a new book I’d buy it right away.

What else is there to tell about Curacao.
The roads are not in mint condition.
I didn’t see any sheep, so Curacao is not the place to be when someone loves sheep. None around.
There used to be lots of goats (every family had its goats) but since the bad guys started to steal goats and people got other means of living there are not many goats left (one of our spokesmen told us).

This is it for today (Thursday, 17th December).
I’m going to sleep.
It was a very interesting day (we had a nice dinner on the beach near our apartment) and there is something else I have to tell.

So many weeks ago there stranded this little whale on the beach where we go swimming every day. It is called a “griend” and it is about 2.5 meters long.
The fish was in very bad condition (sick and traumatized and hungry and lonely and everything else what makes a fish feel shitty) and some people nursed it back to a healthy Griend.
They tried to bring the fish back to the sea and to other Griends, but they did not succeed and the fish is now swimming near the beach in a sort of big sea aquarium and is fed by those caring people (it eats squid).

As soon as possible the fish will be flown over to Orlando (USofA) where it will be held in some big sea aquarium and live there for ever (as long as possible and so on).
I made a few movies of this Griend and, when you read this, one of the movies will be on my blog.
So, don’t tell me, there is nothing happening on Curacao.
They have the Griend, they don’t have the goats anymore, if you park your car somewhere in the evening or the night or at a place where nobody comes, and you return it might be easily possible that your car doesn’t have anymore:- tires,
- wheels,
- doors,
- lights,
- etc. etc.
In some places the insurance doesn’t cover theft of the car or parts of it.
And they have Carnival every February.

Friday 18th. December

This morning we had breakfast and after that we went to the west point of the island of Curacao. We saw a lot of plantation* houses on our way to the west point but we could see only one from nearby and from the inside.
Many of the plantation houses were closed, in course of reconstruction or else.
* The plantations were sugarcane plantations.

On our way back (before I forget that) we should see flamingoes but none were there (not visible) and they were probably somewhere else??!! or at the Blijdorp Zoo In Rotterdam.

The west point of Curacao is more green than the other parts of the island
and less inhabited.

We went to see the Boca Grandi National Reserve. It is a piece of coast on the west point. The coast is a typical lava coast with blow holes, caves, lots of rocks and small and large lizards. We saw lots of lizards and I have some on film to look at. It was very beautiful to see.

After our tour we went for a swim (the sea water is still very nice) and watched the Griend in its aquarium.

We looked at our e-mail, had lots of crackers with cheese (Roquefort and Port Salut) and crab salad.
And we had soup (Crème of mushroom) and we are going to eat steak.

More tomorrow.

woensdag 16 december 2009

Cho Go Go, Curacao


Ankie, on the balcony of our appartment.
When you walk around you can see lots of small and larger lizards, crawling all over the place.
There should be scorpions as well so when we put on our shoes it is advised to look first before you put them on.
We have already seen lots of beautiful birds like pelicans, a sea-eagle with a fish in its beak, large parakeets (green and red) and other colourful birds.
The people on the resort are very nice.
And service is OK.
Till the next time.

Cho Go Go, Curacao

Atfer 26 hours of flying, trying to sleep on planes, sitting around in airports and checking in and checking out and filling out forms, and having been checked, photgraphed, driven around, etc. we arrived at Curacao (Hato International Airport, Yes).
After we arrived here (10.00 o'clock in the evening) we had dinner (french fries and a kroket = typical dutch food), had a shower and went straight to bed.
We slept soundly.

The weather is nice, 29 degrees but with a nice wind.
The island is bigger than we thought and we'll probably will drive around and see something of this island.

We have a very beautiful appartment and to the sea is only a three minute walk.

We rented a car and tonight we are going to visit a friend of Ankie and have dinner there.
When I am finished with this part of my blog we'll go swimming.
The water has a very good temperature and it will be nice.
We might get ourselves snorkeling stuff; it should be beautiful.

On the picture you can see a part of Willemstad (the capital city of Curacao).
It is taken from the backside of our appartment.

dinsdag 15 december 2009

Miami

There are no sheep on Miami Airport.
For people who love sheep, Miami is the pits!!!
They have one Giraffe though.

Miami

We are still on the Miami Airport.
It is a large airport with lots of gates.
You can walk here for hours (I think) and than you still haven't seen all.

Miami is a very big city and famous, throughout the whole world, because of "Miami Vice" with Don Johnson.
There is also Miami Beach.
If the water is not too cold, you can swim in the sea.
"Underwater World" is one of the "must see's" of Miami. But we didn't go (not allowed off the airport).

Although Xmas is coming, you don't see much about it on this airport.
Here and there they have a small Xmas tree and that's all.
What adds to the idea that it isn't Xmas at all is that lots of people wear their summerclothes.
The weather is now fine.

The airport is the homebase of "American Airlines".
We are flying with American Airlines as well, to Curacao (we hope at 16.50).
Still two hours to go.
We had lunch here (two hotdogs*, because it is The United States of America) and that's all for today folks!!

* Decent food is not for sale, it's only:

- Pizza Hut,
- Lasagna,
- Sandwiches,
- Hot Dogs,
- Hamburgers,
- Lots of sweets (look at all them fat asses),

and that's it.

Miami Airport

We have arrived on Miami Airport, early in the morning (4.45).
After all the paperwork we were allowed to get into the US (only for 12 hours or so).
We had to fill in three different forms, had ourselves photographed and our fingerprints taken.
And now we are again in the US.

We were amidst people flying to Haiti and there you could see some very strange headwear like ladies hats for guys and vice versa, of course sunglasses although it is dark like in the middle of the night and a load of gold chaines like Klondike on its best days.

The weather is OK (about 25 degrees but a little rain and that doesn't matter because we're not going outside).
We are sitting near a samsung internet thing (2 hours internet fro free!!) with over us (in the ceiling) a loudspeaker telling us the american news (storm somewhere, the ongoing news about Tiger Woods (if there is nothing else worthwhile) and shit happening in Pakistan.
It 's just like RTL Boulevard in Holland and going on and on and on.

Well guys, this is it for today.
In the afternoon we'll fly to Curacao (tried to get on an early flight but since we checked our suitcases already in, this was not possible because luggage can't go without the passengers and being in the US this means NO WAY getting on another, early flight.
For the rest there is n't much to write.

Till Curacao.
Greetings from Miami.

zondag 13 december 2009

Curacao


The day after tomorrow we will be on the island of Curacao.
But..................it will take some time to get there.
First we have to fly to Miami.
This flight will take some 9 hours.
In Miami we have to stay like 12 hours or so in the airport which means lots of reading time.
Then we'll fly to Curacao.
If you enlarge the picture (click away I'd say) you'll find the place where we are going to stay a little south west of Willemstad in a bay (baai) called Jan Thiel Baai which is of course NOT on this map. My first blog about Curacao you'll see probably in two days.

Santiago de Chile on Sunday 13th. 12 2009

It is Sunday today and it is rather hot in this city.
Most of the shops are closed and lots of people are just walking (parading)through the streets.

There are some interesting things:
- lots of women are pregnant (we think at least one out of ten),
- lots of women/families with very little children don't have a perambulator (pram),
- it is hot in the streets and our throats get dry very fast all the time,
- no sheep in Santiago,
- lots of dogs in the streets,
- almost all streets are one way streets,
- taxi's and city buses drive like crazy.

It is difficult to find a nice restaurant over here.
But, yesterday, when we wanted to go for dinner again, we landed in a Peruvian restaurant and it was ok, but not so good that we will go there again.
So, shortly we will be looking for another restaurant.

Greetings from a hot Santiago de Chile.

Ankie between the Moais.


This is the last picture of Easter Island.
It was beautiful and since we have seen all, we don't have to go back there.
But................a nice memory.

Cave at Ana Kai Tangata

videoThe inside of the cave at Ana Kai Tangata.

Look at the pigeon flying in thye cave and at the end of the movie he flies out again.

Ana Kai Tangata

videoThis is a movie from Ana Kai Tangata, one of the caves on the coast of Easter Island. This cave was near our house and I visited the cave a few times because you could see fish swimming in the waves. All kinds of fish, green ones, yellow ones (at the time the king was the only one allowed to eat yellow fish), red and blue ones.

Ana Kai Tangata is well known on the island because it is the only cave with paintings on the ceiling of the cave. The paintings should be old and represent all kinds of fish (and some other seacritters like turtles).

zaterdag 12 december 2009

Sheep in Santiago de Chile?

Today we crossed the city of Santiago de Chile.
We didn't see any sheep.
For people who love sheep, Santiago is not worthwhile a visit.

You have to go to the South Island of New Zealand.
For sheeplovers, that is a MUST.

Santiago de Chili

Today was our first full day in Santiago.
It is a very big city (6 million inhabitants) and it looks moreless like a spanish town when you are in the old parts. Some houses look like english cottages and why, I don't know.
There are very many skyscrapers (for instance we have an appartment on the 22nd floor).
There is a Metro and we used it to do some shopping.

We didn't make any pictures because, till now, we didn't see buildings or something else, worthwhile photographing.

It's hot here and there is a layer of smog over the city.
The smog makes it difficult to see the high mountains, around the city.
In the morning the mountains are beautiful and our landlord told us you can ski in three different ski-area's near the city, within less than an hour driving.

But, it's summer overhere and in the summer: no skiing.

What we'll do tomorrow isn't decided. We have to think about that.

I'll let you know tomorrow evening (local time).

Mainstreet Hanga Roa

This is a photograph of the mainstreet of Hanga Roa (the only town on Easter Island).

Sometimes this street is very crowded and than there are at least 50 cars on the road.

There is only one piece of road (in the interior) where you can drive 100 Km's per hour. But only for a short time because this road is short.

The rest of the roads are very bumpy or, when a dirt road, very difficult to drive on because of all the holes in the road.

Ahu Tanga Te'e


At Ahu Tanga Te'e you can see seven or eight thrown over Moais. In front there are a few Pukao, the red stone hairdo's of the statues.
In front of the Moais you can see a little sign which says: "Get of the grass, or......" or "Cut of the grass, or......"
I just can read it right anymore. C'est dommage.
We had a French guide.

Clouds over Easter island

Threatening clouds over Easter Island.
The first days the weather was fine, nice and warm, but the last days we had lots of rain.

Luckily we had good weather during our tour around the island.

Ahu Te Pito Kura


Near Ahu Te Pito Kuro (I don't make these names up!!) there lies a big round stone which is magnetic.
The guide showed us that the compass on his watch, when held close to the stone, suddenly changed to other directions than before (the right direction).

It is believed that one king bought this stone from another island somewhere in Polynesia.
It is a very big stone.

The rocky coast of Easter Island

The coast of Easter Island looks often like this.
Black rocks and the sea with all the shades of blue to grey.

Playa Ovahe

The second white water beach on Easter Island.
Here the coast is more rocky but still there is white sand. The place is called Ovahe.
There is something strange about the water here in the lagoon.
The water evaporates so quickly, that over the ages, the water in this lagoon is so salty that you can float in it, almost like in the Dead Sea (see some months ago).
I didn't do that, because the water was to cold, we didn't have the time and we brought no swimming gear.

Ana Kena Beach


People swimming at Ana Kena Beach.
I thought the water was to cold for swimming but others thought different.

Ana Kena Beach

Lost of people visit Ana Kena Beach because of the white sand beach, the Moais on their Ahu (some of the Moais with Pukao's) and it is a place where some of the islanders made a picnic place.
This beach is at least 10 Km.s from the town.

This was the owner of "our" restaurant.
Something different from the restaurants we are used

Ana Kena Beach

Easter Island has two white sand beaches. On of those is Ana Kena beach.
Near Ana Kena there is an Ahu with 7 Moais.
The palm trees were a gift from the French Government to the island. The reason I forgot.

In the right down corner of the picture you can see the head of another Moai.

Papa Mangai

Easter Island is not just the 850 Moais, the statues that are littered over the island.
There is more.
For instance the many carvings on stones you can find all over the island as well.
This is te carving of a fish.

The place is called Papa Mangai.

View on the eastern part of Easter Island


One of the three volcanos on Easter Island.

Ahu Tongariki

The 15 Moais on their Ahu (Tongariki).
Look at the beautiful orange coloured flowers in the front.

Rano Raraku


The rocks out of which all the Moais were carved.
You can see many lying and standing in front of the rocks.

Foundations of an old island house


Ankie is standing next to the foundations of an old Easter Island house.
If you look well, you can see here and there that there are holes drilled in the foundations in which the people put bamboo stakes and they bound them together at their top and on the stakes they put banana- or palm leaves to keep the rain out.
The two stones left make the foundation of the entrance.
Those old houses were not wide (you can see that) but they were sometimes 20 meters long.
Only the important people lived in these houses, the commoners lived in bamboo-houses without the stone foundations (our guide tells us). You can see our guide on the right side of the picture.

Rano Raraku

Next to the 15 Moais at their Ahu at Rano Raraku stands one Moai, looking to another point, inland.

Moais near Rano Raraku


These Moais stand near Rano Raraku (the Quarry) on the base (Ahu) looking inland as they should.
Moais don't look at the sea but inland because they have to watch (standing guard) over the people, living on the island.

Complete Moai

As I told you before lots of the Moai (there are some 850 on the island) are lying around.
Only 50 or so are standing up on their bases (ahu) and not many of those have their red hairdo (Pukao) on their head.
And, as far as I know only one has the seashell eyes in it's head and that is this one.

vrijdag 11 december 2009

Santiago de Chile

Today we flew from Easter Island to Santiago.
The flight was only a little more than 4 hours and everything went fine.
It is now 12.45 in the night (local time) and on Easter Island it would be around 4.00 in the night.
So, I'll stop now and tomorrow I'll show you more of Easter Island.

Ankie between the Moais


How big is a Moai?
As you can see, the statues are rather large.
Compared to Ankie they are gigantic (and heavy).

A Moai from close by

This Moai looks very stern from close by.
From somewhat further away he looks still stern.
From far away he looks stern as well!!
Ha, ha.

Moais near Rano Raraku


These Moais are looking at the sea.
The reason is simple. They were not ready and not placed on their designated place. Just carved from the rocks they were transported only a short distance after which they would be completed.
After completion they would be transported further away (all over the island).

Exception

Here you can see some of the many Moais at Rano Raraku.
The one in the front is an exception to all the others on the island.
This one has his head askew from the shoulders.
All the others have a "straight" head on their shoulders.
It is believed (but of course not proven) that, since all the Moais are different from each other - like all people are as well - the carvers tried to make the head look like the guy they wanted to "copy" and this guy had probably a
crooked back or shoulder.

Overthrown Moai at Rano Raraku


I wrote about a large Moai, which certainly was destroyed on purpose.
This Moai is almost 15 meters long but, alas, broken in several pieces.
In the background you see Moais which were moreless finished but weren't transported to der designated palces.

Rano Raraku


The rocks where the Islanders carved out the statues.
In this area you can find most of the Moais in their best state. Newly hewn out of the rocks you can see many of them.
This place is called Rano Raraku.

Ahu Tongariki


Fifteen Moais in a row with one with a Pukao, the second of the right.
These used to be overthrown but Japan snet machines and people to restore these Moais.
The place is called Ahu Tongariki.
Ahu is the name of the base where the statues are standing on.

Ana Kai Tanjata

Seven Moais in a row (five of them with their red "hairdo" the Pukao.
Most of the Moais, if standing up, don't have their Pukao on their heads, since " lost in time".

Moai on Easter Island

One of the famous Easter Island statues, a Moai.

Easter Island

We arrived on Easter Island on December 7th. 2009.
It’s a young boys dream come true.
Here they call the island: Rapa Nui and I can’t do anything about it.
The island’s name dates back to Easter Sunday, 1722 when the island was discovered by Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutchman.

Captain Cook (famous all over New Zealand) re-discovered (?) the island a few years later. How can one re-discover something after a few years??

Rapa Nui is a three sided island withy sides of resp. 16, 17 and 24 km’s.

Yesterday we left our nice hostel on the beach in Tahiti and we were brought to the Airport.
It was still very warm and we drank lots of water and lemonade.
The plane left the airport at 12.30 in the middle of the night, we flew about 4.5 hours and we arrived at the Easter Island Airport (Mataveri Airport) around 10.30 in the morning, so we lost some sleep.
But that was not too bad because we are well rested.

The owner of our B & B fetched us from the airport and in no time we were in our room. The airport is very close to the town. The only town on Easter Island, Hanga Roa, is only small (3791 inhabitants our guide tells us) and our B & B is on one of the outskirts, next to a Maori holy place of which I just can’t see the name.

When Thor Heyerdahl worked on this island in 1950 (to prove that there has been contact between Easter Island and the Inca’s in South America a long time ago) there were a few people left who directly descended from the original inhabitants of the island (from the Lang Ears* a few and from the Short Ears* a little bit more).
Nowadays everybody is “mixed” with Chileans (because the island is a part of Chile), French (from “par example” Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia) and other people from all over the world who like to live here (life is rather beautiful over here if you don’t mind living in sober surroundings).

* For history about the Long- and Short Ears see below.

Our landlord here on Easter Island is a Frenchman who only speaks French and Spanish and since our French is fluent he took care of us by asking an air stewardess to come with us on our tour around the island, to translate his French in our English, which was very nice and now we understand all about the island history. Me especially!!
Most of the following is true but since there are differences of mind about
the history of Easter Island, it could be that some other people may think that my stories are not totally true or only half true.
I don’t care much about what somebody else thinks of whatever happened to Easter Island. See what happens.

So, after we arrived in our B & B we got an hour to freshen ourselves up and after that we started with our first tour on the Island.

We visited the following places:

1. Orongo (which is an old crater of the Orongo Volcano).
Beautiful views over the island and lots of historic things like:
. the place where in earlier days the yearly king was chosen; the guy had
to be the first who found an egg of a certain bird on a small island he
had to swim to near the coast of Easter Island and was given 7 (seven)
white wives (they kept the young women for a whole year in one of the
many caves on the island so they were blind - the guy who brought the
first egg could be very ugly without any consequences - , stiff because
they almost couldn’t move in the cave where they were kept and
diseased because they hadn’t seen any sunlight or light at all).


2. Examples of the old stone houses the people on the island slept in,
restored ones and others which were caved in.
The foundations were made of carved stone in the form of a longboat.
The stones had holes drilled in them, to put bamboo stakes in and
these were covered with banana leaves or palm leaves to keep the rain
out.

3. Thrown over Moais (the famous Easter Island monolithic statues of
Practically all men except one or two female Moais ) in a place called
Moto Rua (but it can be another name because they seem
like all the same).
The Moais where thrown over by the “short ears” who rose up against
the “long ears”, the long ears being the guys who enslaved the short
ears who had to do all the chores on the island for the long ears, like:

= cutting the large statues out of stone (many, many years ago or so!!)
without Black & Decker circle saws, pneumatic drills, even normal
iron handsaws or even without any iron (hand)tool but just with
basalt- or obsidian - home made- axes (imagine that!!!!!).

The statues (Moais) are carved out of the rocks in one piece, from 6
to 8 meters long, sometimes 1.5 meter wide and weighing thousands
of kilo’s. The longest is more than 18 meters!!,

= transporting the statues* all over the island (sometimes more than 12
km’s from the quarry) and I can tell ye, Easter Island is hilly like
unreal (it has three old volcanoes and lots of hills), so………..

= erecting the statues and top it with a Pukao (see below),

= finding and transporting water,

= growing vegetables, catching fish, doing all the household chores
including doing the dishes and cleaning the garbage cans,

= etc.
Which means that in effect the short ears had to do everything and the
long ears (doing nothing furthermore) just ordered the short ears
around.
There is a proof of this phenomenon.
Almost all of the Moais show arms with hands with very long nails
like the Chinese upper-class people who had the same long nails, to
show that they didn’t have to work (no short or broken nails).
The Moais represent the Long Ears.

* Scientists differ about the way the Moais were transported over the
island considering there was not much wood about (at times there
were no trees left on the island because the wood was used for
building and heating), there were no (loading) cranes and other
heavy machinery and no horses and no heavy helicopters.
Some scientist believe the Maois were transported using wooden
trunks to roll them over but others, more recently, believe that they
were transported, standing up. They say here: “The Moais were
walking on the island - so: upright -. Who knows?? Who cares??

4. A place called a “Taheta” where you could see a certain star
constellation on this one certain night per year in the water mirror of a
large stone cup (or something like that). Imagine this. Guys without the
knowledge* we have today were able to make these things, 1500 years
ago!!!!
* Apparently they could do a lot more than us at the time.



5. A row of seven Moais, the only ones who look at the sea, and all the
other look inland to watch over the people of the island; it is true and I
don’t make this up because I know my history and I did my homework
before we went on our trip, yes!!).
These seven Moais represent a group of seven sailors send away by the
island king to find new resources and whatever.

6. A heap of stone hairdo’s (Pukao) the Maois wear when standing
upright and when complete, still to be transported all over the island
(the stone hairdo’s being at least one meter high and one meter wide),
These hairdo’s were quarried in a different place on the island
because they are carved from different (red) lava stone.
These Pukao were transported all over the island as well and you can
find these everywhere (like the Moais).

7. Not unimportant, one of the local supermarkets where we bought two
bottles of water and some other stuff.

It was a nice day, specially because we had a very good dinner (together with a Swiss couple (from Switzerland of course, you’ll see them everywhere, even in Switzerland) and were brought back in time to get some sleep.
As a matter of fact we wanted to go to the best restaurant (according to the Lonely Planet) of this island, but this toko was “complet”.
So we went to another restaurant which was OK.

When you read this it will be (at least) Tuesday or Wednesday or even later because my laptop doesn’t get access to the Wifi here.
You’ll find out when you read this.
All is well on Easter Island and everybody is very relaxed over here.
The people here don’t seem to have to much to do.
All the kids have a three month holiday (December, January and February). The boys are surfing on the waves or playing soccer (there is a soccer flied in town) and the girls are trying to look nice like everywhere.

Today is the day after yesterday (yesterday is the day on which I started informing everyone about Easter Island). I think today is the 8th.
If you don’t get this, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t get this either.

What did we do today?
This morning we had breakfast first around 9.00 o’clock.
Around 10.00 we started today’s tour.
The weather was fine (really warm) so a fine day to see parts of Easter Island we haven’t been till now.
We visited:

I
(The highlight of the day) Rano Raraku, the quarry where the old Maori people (the Long Ears and the Short Ears of which the latter did all the work) carved the statues.
You can see here these statues (Moais) in many different stages of “construction” which tells us that at the time hundreds of island people were working at the same time at the carving of the Moais.
It’s the place where you can see the “newest” Moais, almost ready to be transported, all over the Island.
It is awesome and breathtaking (you had to climb to the quarry).
As far as I am concerned it is the most intriguing place of the island because I signifies the most important event on the island ever when the stone carvers suddenly stopped (or had to stop) with their work.*
And although many statues were erected on the coast of the whole island, here and there you can find Moais, more or less far away from the quarry on several places in the interior of the island as well, apparently not yet delivered to the place where they were meant to go.

Some of the remaining Moais were shot at (the bullet holes are still well visible) by Fijians who invaded the island some 100 years ago and since nothing of much value could be found, they used their time on the island by practicing their guns on the Moais.

* Archeologists think now that the Island must have been invaded by Inca’s around 1450 because there are lots of traces (carbon dated the same time) from the Inca’s, for instance dug up seeds in the crater lakes on the island, just the same as you can find in South America.
And they discovered in the same sediment rests of plants and animals which live in South America as we well and which didn’t exist till that time on the island.
It is believed that the Inca’s took most of the islanders back to South America as slaves.
The Inca’s thought the island uninteresting, difficult to live on (little water, difficult to grow food) so they got lots of inhabitants off the island, brought them back to South America as slaves so they had some use (of the people) of the island.



II
A place called Akahanga.
Here you can see seven or eight Moais of which all are lying around like fallen domino stones.
All over the island you can find the “fallen” Moais.
People think nowadays that the short ears pushed them over after they slaughtered the long ears.
In the book Aku Aku of Thor Heyerdahl, an archeologist from Scandinavia, you can read that most of the long ears were slaughtered and burned after being defeated by the short ears.
Thor Heyerdahl and other archeologists (amongst which a certain William Malloy *) found traces of this slaughter in 1950 in a few of the many caves on the island.

* William Malloy helped the islanders to re-erect many Moais, to restore them if possible and that kind of thing.
Malloy died in the island and got a grave in a special place in the town of Hanga Roa. He is still honored for everything he did to restore the Moais in their old splendor.

III
Another place called Ahu Nau Nau.
Here we could see three Moais as the erected statues were meant to be, on a platform (called Ahu and since there are many platforms all over the island lots of places start with the name “Ahu”) with Moais and on top the red hairdo’s (called Pukao).

IV
Many chicken houses, made of stone, called “Hare Moa”.
At the time the wealth of an islander was counted by the amount of chickens he possessed. So they built many of these stone chicken houses to protect the chickens during the night.

V
A place called Ahu Tongariki with not less than 15 Moais in a row and all of them erected, looking inland (so they could watch over the people).
These 15 Moais were overturned at the time by the short ears, but after Japan had one Moai on loan for some exhibition around 1980 and returned the statue with lots of damage (for instance the statue lost one of its ears and other pieces were off as well) they took it upon themselves to restore the 15 Moais in their old fashion, standing on a “Ahu” looking inland and one of the Moais even has his red Pukao on its head.

VI
A place called “Ana te Pahu” (“ana” means cave).
The island used to be volcanic and after eruptions many caves were created by lave streams and these caves were used by the islanders to take shelter against the elements and invaders and during the war between the long ears and the short ears as a safe haven for the long ears (but that didn’t help them much; most were slaughtered).
The caves were also used as places to grow trees (for instance fig trees) to keep them safe from the fierce and salt sea winds.

VII
All kinds of other places with for instance petroglyphes (carvings in stones of turtles, boats, birds and so on), a place near one of the few white sand beaches with palm trees, planted by the French as a gift to the poor people of Easter Island around 1960 or so, places called “Pipi Horeko”, stone land marks used to show where people had their pieces of land, and other “Ahu’s” with standing and fallen Maois.

As I write this, we have electricity (sometimes there isn’t, like today for a few hours) but no access to internet (my laptop doesn’t do what it is supposed to do and that is not really funny).
But we sent an e-mail today to AK from an internet café without café. So the kids know that we are still alive and kicking (or so).

This day we have a day “off”. We did some shopping (mailed a postcard to Mika), walked around the town Hanga Roa, had lunch in the towns best restaurant (French chef) and we will go there tonight again (ha, ha, ha), looked at a small fishing harbor with guys surfing on the waves. We did some reading, walking/climbing on the rocky beach (me, looking for shells but there aren’t any!!) and nothing much more.

Our plans for tomorrow are to rent a car to visit Rano Raraku (the quarry of the Moais) again, because I want to make more pictures of this beautiful place.
After that we’ll probably do some shopping and after that we’ll have to pack again for the flight to Santiago.

When you read this we’ll be in Santiago for sure.

Our landlord has a Christmas tree in the living room and it looks really funny, when you look outside (everything warm and holiday like) and, of course, no snow or cold. Sometimes it rains very hard though.

Today is our last full day on Easter Island.
As I wrote before I wanted to go back to the quarry (Rano Raraku).
Rano Raraku is THE place to go when you want to see Maois, like New Zealand is THE place to see sheep, as the interested reader must have learned.

So we hired a car, threw our stuff in and went hunting for Moais.
And thus we went to Rano Raraku.

You can see the Moais in Rano Raraku in lots of stages of “construction”:
- just the form in the rock, carved only for maybe 20 or 30%,
- still “sitting” in the rock, with the head already carved,
- almost ready, with the back (they did the back in the end of the carving)
still attached to the rock,
- loose from their place in the rocks, but not finished (for instance the
hands with the long nails were carved after the statue was transported
from the rocks away),
- Moais about 20 or 30 meter away from the rocks,
- a “small” Moai carved from a larger one that broke up during the first
so many meters of the transport (which means that when a Moai broke
up during transport they used the two parts to carve two smaller ones),
- other Moais much further away (these were almost finished, were
already on transport but not really far away form the quarry,
- a large one (15 meters or so) in at least five or six pieces of which the
scientists believe that it was transported standing up (or at least was
standing up) and destroyed on purpose because if it had just fallen over,
it would have been apart in only two or three pieces at the max.
If you don’t understand than go look for yourselves.

When you are standing at the base of the quarry you can see all these Moais and the longer you look, the more Moais you find in the rocks in their stages of construction.
It’s amazing!!!

Luckily we were one of the first people this morning to look at these Moais (the official trips start somewhere else) and had all the possibilities to make pictures of many of the Moais, without other people standing around and ruining our photos.

After Rano Raraku we drove cross over the island, looking everywhere for Moais and other stuff, we didn’t see before.
And than it started to rain like there should be a deluge (might be French) and we decided to go to the museum.
The museum was OK but ranks low on our list of “Must See’s” but what can you do when it is raining and you are on Easter Island?
One thing they showed well, were the ways the islanders could have transported the Moais (at least in 5 different ways). And what became clear there, was, that there are no theories about how the islanders put the Pukao (the red lava stone hairdo) on the heads of the Moais.

After visiting this very exciting museum we went home,
Ankie for a nap and me, hammering away behind the laptop.
It still rains but the temperature is fine.

This evening (third time) we went to the same restaurant again (we are only once on Easter Island so we enjoy) and had nice steaks (au poivre).
It appeared that the Spanish king and his wife had dinner here not a long time ago.
The place looks like a dump (apparently the inventory should be as cheap as possible) but the chef is great and so is his food.

Tomorrow we will fly to Santiago de Chile.
And then I’ll tell you more.
Greetings from Easter Island.

zondag 6 december 2009

Last day on Tahiti

It's Sunday and we have to leave the Island.
Our plane will fly in the middle of the night (To Easter Island) and we have to pack our suitcases and everything else as well.

This is a picture of last evening (just after sunset).

So, Easter Island here we come.

Tahiti


We are here only for three days and today is our last day on Tahiti Island. It is beautiful over here.
Wish I could stay longer.
But...........Easter Island is already calling and we have to pack our suitcases again.

Tahitian fishermen


The sea is blue, the fish are colourfull (It just looks like the big aquarium in the Blijdorp Zoo, but then without all the visiting people)and the people of Tahiti are very friendly.
Look in the boat.

Tahiti surfer


When we were walking along the beach (it is sunday) we saw this guy surfing.
I like to surf too, but I am to old, I am afraid.
Swimming is much easier and that's why we do this all the time.
The water is very nice (26 or 27 degrees C).
On Tahiti they don't have sheep; I didn't see any.

vrijdag 4 december 2009

Tahiti girl with catamaran

Well, the title says all.
This is the reason we are on the beach all the time and we are enjoying ourselves very much.

Till now we didn't found coconuts but I believe we will have some soon.

Waterfall on the coast of Tahiti


When walking along the beach we found this waterfall (there are high mountains on Tahiti and some are 2000 meters high) and there are lots of waterfalls on the island.
Of course there was this nice tahitian girl who liked to pose for us and we even didn't have to pay.
They walk around almost bare naked and I go to the beach all the time.

Sailing boat on the sea near Tahiti.


WSell, this is a typical Tahitian sailing boat (look at the lateen sail and the baot itseld, a sort of catamaran).

Paul Gauguin



This is a copy of one of the paintings of Paul Gauguin (famous throughout the world and especially in France, Europe and Tahiti and everywhere else).

He lived here for a long time and died overhere in 1903.

There is a Gauguin Museum of course, but I don't know whether we will visit this museum because our landlord told us it is not worth the while.

The Bounty

Tahiti has a rich history and one of the main "historic events" was the mutiny on the HMS Bounty some 150 years ago.
The mutineers sailed arount Tahiti too and some of them were left on this island and (our tour guide tells us but I don't know whether this is true) their descendents still live on the island.

Island in the front of our beach


This island lies not far away from our beach.
If you look well, you see a girl in the sea.

The beach


When we leave our appartment this is what we see and since there are no other guests (the crisis hits this island as well) it is OUR beach.

Map of Tahiti

This is the Map of Tahiti.
We are staying near a little village of which I don't know the name yet but it is on the west coast of the island near the first T of Tahiti on this map.