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    South by South America Tour – Chile Part 13

    Monday, September 2, 2019
    Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile

    A house and a hill on Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A house and a hill on Rapa Nui, Chile.

    An art installation, or just a pile of rocks? Ahu Akivi, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    An art installation, or just a pile of rocks? Ahu Akivi, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    A set of seven Moai at Aku Akivi, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A set of seven Moai at Aku Akivi, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Since the bicycle I rented yesterday was mine for 24 hours and I still had it today, I figured I would extend the rental and mosey northward to some spots I had not seen yet. After a pleasant pedal up a slight slope between volcano cones, passing by numerous homesteads and farms on the way, I arrived at Ahu Akivi, a set of seven huge Moai carved, transported and erected in the 15th century. These Moai represent the young Polynesians who were sent to explore the island of Rapa Nui before the arrival of the rest of the colonizers led by Hotu Matu’a.

    A set of seven Moai (take two) at Aku Akivi, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A set of seven Moai (take two) at Aku Akivi, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    A rustic fence on Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A rustic fence on Rapa Nui, Chile.

    The entrance to the cave at Ana Te Pahu, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    The entrance to the cave at Ana Te Pahu, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    My second stop was Ana Te Pahu, the largest cave on Rapa Nui. Fortified with defensive walls in its openings, this cave was used as a place of refuge during wars between Rapa Nui tribes. Sporting two big “skylight” openings in the ceiling–one in the center and one at the other end–this cave was really fun to hike through. Stop number three was Ana Te Pau, a ceremonial center on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with an important aristocratic village laid out in front of the ahu platform that held the Moai. Also in evidence were such structures as boat houses, greenhouses, hen houses and earth ovens.

    The edge of a natural skylight at Ana Te Pahu, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    The edge of a natural skylight at Ana Te Pahu, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    The cliffs at Ana Te Pau, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    The cliffs at Ana Te Pau, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    A collapsed structure at Ana Te Pau, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A collapsed structure at Ana Te Pau, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Stop number four was another cave complex called Ana Te Pora. The entrance to this tunnel is so extremely tiny that I almost passed on even attempting to enter it. But, then I decided to be adventurous and go for it. I had to compress myself down into a really small ball to squeeze through the first 10 feet of the tunnel, but after that, it really opened up. Also used as a shelter and ceremonial complex in previous centuries, this cave has two large openings on the face of a high cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean!

    A cave opening high up on the face of a cliff at Ana Te Pora, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A cave opening high up on the face of a cliff at Ana Te Pora, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    A Moai called Ahu Ko Te Riku on Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A Moai called Ahu Ko Te Riku on Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Horses run free near sunset on Rapa Nui, Chile.
    Horses run free near sunset on Rapa Nui, Chile.

    When I arrived at one of the openings, I was astonished by the sight of an attractive young lady from Santiago with really long hair and short shorts. She asked me to take a photo of her with her phone, as she was having trouble dealing with the timer on it. After she left, I took a few shots of the cave’s twin openings before heading back out. Next, I proceeded down a dirt road that was so rocky, I thought for sure I was going to get a pinch flat. Luckily, that never happened.

    Totem pole position on Rapa Nui, Chile.
    Totem pole position on Rapa Nui, Chile.

    A crowd awaits sunset at Ahu Tahai, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A crowd awaits sunset at Ahu Tahai, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Sunset at Ahu Tahai, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    Sunset at Ahu Tahai, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Eventually, after a half hour os so, I ended up back at Ahu Tahai, where a bunch of people had amassed on a giant green lawn in front of the Moai to watch a partly cloudy and hazy sunset. Right after sundown, I passed by a Rapa Nui funeral at the cemetery, and later that night, attended a show of traditional Rapa Nui music and dance called Puku Rangi Tea at a shack right on the water called Pea Resto Bar. Before the performance, some members of the dance ensemble decorated audience members’ faces with sticks of white face paint.

    A funeral at the cemetery in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A funeral at the cemetery in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Face painting gets underway before the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    Face painting gets underway before the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Dancers perform during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    Dancers perform during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    As the show commenced, the all acoustic music was carried along by the heavy beat of bongo drums, with the melody supplied by guitars, ukuleles and the singers, who were also the dancers. Although the synchronization of the dancers was a bit sloppy, they, along with the musicians, more than made up for it in enthusiastic spirit, which was displayed in spades. They really seemed genuinely into it. And that’s no easy feat, considering these people perform the same show three times per week!

    Musicians perform during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    Musicians perform during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Dancers perform during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    Dancers perform during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    A dancer performs during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.
    A dancer performs during the Puku Rangi Tea show at Pea Resto Bar in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui, Chile.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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