Easterisland – it’s a wonder of the world and it’s a wonder of the world for a reason. It’s so quiet and calm you can really call it a little paradise.
I did not stay there for too long, but as the island is very small even 4 days were enough to get to know this beautiful place.
On this island I stayed with a couple from Couchsurfing. They moved from Santiago to the Easterisland 3 years ago and haven’t been able to leave ever since. The two were just so amazed of this peaceful little place is they never even considered to leave. Having been to Santiago already I can see where they are coming from. Country and island are nothing alike, are not even situated close to each other. A 5 hours flight away from the country, surrounded by nothing but water the endlessness of the sea. The island seems so isolated, so lonely but that’s the real beauty of it. If you need to calm down, get your thoughts in order or just figure some things out, this is the perfect place to do so. You’ll have all the quietness you need to think.
As my hosts had to work every day I was there they didn’t have so much time to show me around. So, this was the only time I was alone for a bit. Having been on the road for a bit already I was a bit exhausted and needed a few days to calm down. The timing to be here couldn’t have been more perfect. I just rented a bike and discovered the island on my own. Within 4 days I did my best to discover every little corner it had to offer. Biking up and down the 3 main streets of the island I could appreciate the beauty of the island. Blossoming trees, green grass, horses and dogs running around everywhere. I’ve never seen so many wild horses in my entire life. It was beautiful to see untouched nature in that way.
Riding my bike along the coast I discovered a lot of the traditional Moais–the famous sculptures made of stone. A few remainings of the old Polynesian cultures who once ruled this island. Some natives still live her but due to tourism and a lot of foreigners moving to the island it is not their island anymore. However, the ones who remained there try to keep up their traditions as best as they can. They speak their own language, cook their own traditional meals and live a very simple life.
I even got to know a native Rapanui – which was surprising because I rarely saw other people there. While I was riding my bike through the abandoned streets I never spotted more than a few cars and once I left the centre I just had an empty road ahead of me.
While driving to the coast I crossed an old exhibition about wartime with a native Rapanui taking care of it. I was the only one visiting it, so we soon started to talk. He told me about his life there and about his cultural background. Then he even invited me into his little house and offered me coffee and bread. There I had one of the most interesting conversations of my whole trip.
The native Rapanui don’t agree how they are treated by the government. They are governed by Chile and depending on the country. Every two weeks a ship full of food and supplies is coming from the country of Chile to the island. Without this support people would soon have nothing to eat anymore. They don’t have their own farms or grow their own food. Everything they have comes from the country. However, they want to be independent and have an own government as most of them do not identify as Chilean. However, the Chilean government itself doesn’t want to hand over the governmental power – presumably because of the income generated by tourism on the island.
Afterwards I listened to the problems the Rapanui told me I was only the second person he invited into his home. He normally doesn’t even like tourists as he has nothing in common with them, he said. But with travellers, apparently, it wasdifferent. I could see how much he loved his home and he also stated to never wanting to live anywhere else in the world. That’s the general opinion of people living there. They might go abroad for a while, but everyone who ever left eventually came back again as they can’t live in a different country forever.