Piola

10 things you didn't know about Easter Island.

Article published on Oct. 3, 2009
Article published on Oct. 3, 2009
Or maybe you did, because you're a refined and cultured piola reader, but since I didn't know before flying there, I will assume you didn't either. 1. Easter Island, a.k.a. Rapa Nui, the most remote inhabited island on Earth, is located some 3700 km off the Chilean coast, and belongs to the Chilean Valparaiso region. 2. It's getting cheaper to go.
Flights from Santiago cost from 230 euros return.

3. Food prices are understanbly very high on the island. Interestingly though, petrol, cigarettes and alcohol cost about the same as on the continent.

4. July 2010 is an expensive time to go. There will be a solar eclipse on the 11th and most hotels and places are already fully booked by, you know, people who are really really keen on standing in the shadow of the moon for 4 minutes 39 by some beautiful old statues on a Pacific Island. Mind you, if I had lots of thousands of dollars to spare, I'd think that's a very sweet way of spending them. Or I might go to the Tuomotu Archipielago (which will also get a good view) instead. Let's hope those 4 minutes 39 won't be cloudy, eh!

5. The moai (the famous big statues) date back to the XVIth century, they reckon. At the same time in Europe, we were more into Italian painting, flying machines and big castles. It is fascinating to think how distinct our cultures were then, and how (relatively) close they are now.

6. The Rapa Nui language is pretty much the same as the one spoken in Hawaii and Tahiti. "Only the Chilean took Rapa Nui, the Americans took Hawaii, and the French took Tahiti. But we're only one people," explained Jose (holder of a Chilean passport, but not Chilean, he made clear) after a quick skinny dipping session at Anakena beach. Amongst many other useful and beautiful words, I can now teach you: Iorana (hi / bye), Monire (monday) and Ahu (stone platform).

7. Non-Rapa Nui people cannot own land on the Island, whether they be Chilean hippies or greedy Russian hotel builders.

8. It's kind of difficult for Rapa Nui people to marry with another of the 4000-ish islanders, since it's forbidden by law to marry with your third cousin.

9. Kevin Costner produced a movie there in 1993. Two locals who took part in the shooting told me it's "you know, the usual Hollywood romance." Apparently dumbed down the subtleties of Easter Island culture and history for dramatic purposes, and didn't do dramatically much to boost the Island's tourism.

10. Rapa Nui musicians play 8-string flat ukuleles that look like electric guitars, only way cooler and sweeter. Only this one artist and his father make them, and if I behave they'll even make me one. THANK YOU!