Every morning we woke to roosters crowing outside our door. We were lodged in one of four bedrooms in a building across
from Lucia's house. Friendly dogs were seen resting all over town. They were at our feet when we sat outside our room, and
they were even at our feet in restaurants. The dogs and cats usually sat patiently waiting for scraps from the dinner. We
were also accompanied by two dogs on our hike down the volcano.
Despite the surroundings, it
appeared that most people
in Rapa Nui now lead a
middle class life. There are
lots of automobiles and
motor cycles, and 100 taxis
for less than 4,000 people.
Electricity is universal.
People are all industrious
and the town and the island
are very clean.
Ironically, for an island with
adequate transportation, it
was interesting to see so
many horses roaming the
The most common bird we
saw was a small hawk (left).
The first Polynesian settlers came to the island between 400 and 600 AD and named the island Rapa Nui. They brought
some animals and plants including sweet potatoes. This was quite an achievement since they would have traveled more
than 2,000 miles to find this little speck in the middle of nowhere. In time, for reasons not understood today, they
commenced building head statutes on the island. Most of these statues were along the shore and faced inland.
Unfortunately, the population grew to an estimated 4,000 people and the islanders needs exceed the capacity of the land.
They harvested all the trees. Eventually the lower class rose up against the upper classes and the building of the statues
ceased. Finally, for reasons unknown, the statues were all toppled over except for the ones that were under construction
in the quarry. The end of construction occurred so rapidly that even the tools were left in place.
The quarry may have been the most interesting place we saw on the island. Because the statues were still being carved,
many of the statues there survive somewhat worn from many centuries ago. In the picture below of the quarry, you can see
many erect faces on the mountain. The huge "steps" on the right side are statues that were being carved. The many
carved out places on the mountain are places where statues were carved and removed.
Below, Jackie looking at head of only partially begun statute.