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Day 6 - Easter Island Tour

Hanga Roa, Chile

We were very happy to have joined a full day tour to learn more about the history of the island and see some sights we probably would have missed. The top knot in this photo is actually representative of the red hair of the settlers tied up in a knot. So the original polynesian settlers had RED hair? Woa.

We saw many Moai's which had been toppled or had fallen over. Apparently the first settlers, who were referred to as "long ears", were the ones who came up with the idea of carving these icons. The second round of settlers, referred to as "short ears", arrived at the island with very low social status and worked as laborers. Eventually food on the island was running out and the lord could not keep their people fed, so there was a war. The laborers overthrew their lords and toppled their Moai's to destroy their "mana" or spiritual energy. Pretty much ALL Moai's were toppled in the war which meant that all these statues as we see them "upright" have been restored.

Another crappy thing was the Earthquake in the 1960s in Chile which created a tsunami that hauled ass through the island and pretty much wrecked a bunch of Moai's. This is the same earthquake which caused the tsunami in Japan!

We continued up to the Quarry where the Moai's were made. Man what the hell were these people thinking? Climb up to this rocky mountain, cut INTO the mountain and build these giant rock statues, cut them out of the mountain and then DRAG them down (possibly 3km) to the coast and then HAUL them upright onto these giant rock platforms. Oh yeah and if the lord didn't like the statue he had them make a new one. Let's not even go into what happens if it breaks on the way there. Regardless, the quarry is where you have Moai's that didn't make it out to the coast, Moai's that were rejected by the lords, maybe even spares?

There were additional stories of the top knots which come from a different area of the island. They were cut out as giant cylinders and then rolled to their final spot. The act of rolling caused the top knot to shrink in size as bits were abbraised off in transit. It's awe inspiring and continuously begs the question - why? Massive massive whips is my only answer.

We rounded out the tour at the site of 15 restored Maoi's in what must have been the largest village on the island. These 15 were restored by generous funding from Japan as well as some heavy equipment which was also donated. These 15 are simply amazing to look at.

permalink written by  yungwesl on January 12, 2009 from Hanga Roa, Chile
from the travel blog: Sandy and Wes in South America
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About time to show pics of Sand! :)

permalink written by  viv on January 17, 2009

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