UnitedLife 01

The Navel of the World

RAPA NUI

It was my parents who probably cultivated my love for travelling. They travelled with us already in our childhood as far as the “iron curtain” allowed. Later, as a student, I worked as an external guide in travelling agency Čedok. After the opening of frontiers the world opened for us and I could fully hand over the love for travelling to my children. This travelling passion is not failing me and I always say – “ it does not matter where I am, the main is that my bottom is strutting about on the way”.

 

We are travelling to the exotic countries to look for new surroundings experiences and people. However, the most important what can we find there are we ourselves.

 

Vladimír Mego
Traveller

 

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   It concerns one of the most isolated places in the world. It is situated more than 3700 km from South America. The name amazes also because of the fact that the island is only 12 kilometres wide! The island arose in the Pacific Ocean million years ago by alloying of lava from three volcanic cones to the triangular mainland.

   Only two aeroplanes arrive there every second day in a week. The airport is situated on the border of Hanga Roa, which is the only settlement on the island where about 3800 inhabitants live. It is perhaps the only village in the world which has an international airport. Otherwise, it stands out by nothing – ground buildings many of them made of wood, small hotels, restaurants and shops.

   The island with not tall volcanic “loaves” is rocky, almost without trees, covered only by the grass and bushes. In the rented cross-country car we set off on the sightseeing. All around, we can see rocky surface and stone walls. We are arriving to first “ahu” – a cairn on the coast. There are several littering statues – moai. They are stone colossi about 5 metres high. They were built on some platform from half to one metre over the ground, called ahu. On the whole Easter Island there are about 350 ahu. Some of them are with statues, others without them. Moai was built by an advanced civilization from the unknown reasons about thousand years ago.

   In the southern coast of the island the crater Rano Raraku is situated protrudin about 200 metres over the island surface. It is the place where all 600 statues were carved. Around half of them was finished, transported and raised, the second half stayed here in different phases of processing. We are crossing the “forest” created by several metres high statues which are differently inclined and got covered with ground. There
are also some unfinished ones. They are only cut into massif. From the slope of the crater is a view on the whole island and on Ahu Tongariki too. It is on the coast 1 km distant. 15 statues, reconstructed by Japanese archaeologists, are raised here on the rocky surface. Each statue has a different expression. One of them has even the red “hat” from stone – pukao. The statues look like they are observing us. The look at them, in the background with bay and roaring sea, is awesome.

   In the north coast is the most beautiful beach of the island – Anakena with the most perfect platform – Ahu Nau Nau. The platform is about 70 metres long and 3-4 metres high and it consists of perfectly worked stones. navel2Five very well-preserved moai stand here, four of them have red hats pukao.

   We are planning to get on the highest volcano of the island, 600 metres high crater Terevaka. We are looking for the way. We are rising from the field road till it becomes gradually almost impassable. I am riding down to the ground, our small offroad is bouncing on the rocky hillside of the volcanic crater in the steep bank. In the end we are on the top just in time. Last rays are illuminating the border of the grass-grown crater, we can see the whole island and in the west the sun is setting to the water of the ocean in the “blood bath”. Beautiful. I would place the “navel” of the island right here.

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In the evening in the local natural “theatre” we are enjoying the most amazing dance show I have ever seen. Baldly dressed, fighting painted dancers are whirling on the stage for more than an hour without break. Wild fighting dances with capers to the one metre heigth were alternated with slower sexi “Tahitian” waving of hips of the dancers.

   Next day we are going to the southwest promontory of the island to the reservation Orongo to crater Rano Kau. The walls are falling steep inside the crater which bottom is covered by bog creating small pools. On the most south border of the crater is reconstructed historical settlement of the original inhabitants – Orongo. Houses are half buried in the ground with short, only about 50 cm high entries. Here are also several boulders with petroglyphs.

   Three days were enough for exploration of the whole island. The island is, however, still covered by the cloak of the secret and questions. Why did the aboriginals cut all the trees on the island and cause by it the ecological catastrophecatastrophe with the lack of water? Why were they fighting against each other until almost total liquidation? Where did the sophisticated builders of the statues disappear? Why the name “The Navel of the World” when it is actually the small backcountry?

   The end of this small civilization is, however, in spite of first impression not so distant for us. We also often think about ourselves that we are something extra and the navel of the world. We destroythe nature and fight against each other. And therefor I do not know if the similar future is not waiting for us one day…

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