Hanga Roa, the only village of the island, is a small village with one and two storey houses (building higher than that is not allowed anyway) with beautiful gardens rich of fruit trees and flowers. At first sight it reminded me of eastern africa for its red earth and that earthy smell. Hanga Roa has basically one main street lined with cafés, restaurants and a handful of supermarkets. Not one of them belonging to a chain, the supermarkets tiny and cramped and mostly not showing to the prices for any of the goods. For a foreigner it’s thus impossible to say what things actually cost and if he’s getting the same price as the locals or if something is being added… Many of the restaurants, however have biligual menus and a great variety, especially when it comes to seafood. The other day I saw how a huge swordfish was cleaned at the small pier. A couple of minutes later a guy in a very old car, probably the owner of one of the restaurants, came to a halt with squealing tyres, got out a scale from the trunk, weighed the three huge pieces of fish and stored them in the trunk of his car right next to the spare tyre. By this time I wondered if it had been a good idea to eat ceviche…
On the streets you always have to watch out for the chicken (that start being noisy around five and don’t stop until late), the dogs (that like to follow people all around town and to howl at the moon at night) and the horses (that are branded, but run around freely on the island. The other day one of them caused a traffic jam on the main street as it was proudly walking down on the middle of the street, making it impossible for the cars to overtake.
On my last morning I went to see a spectacular sunrise at the other end of the island (thanks to the fact that three awesome people came in and we shared a car): I was sad to be leaving, even though leaving from Rapa Nui international (!) airport is an experience in itself as you practically walk through “security” and wait outside with a view of the airfield before you cross it to get onto the plane.
Now I’ll only have to visit Hawaii to complete the polynesian triangle (the triangle is formed by New Zealand, Easter Island and Hawaii with the other polynesian islands, e.g. French Polynesia, in the middle between these three)!