24 November 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you on the north side of the world. 

While I am and always have been a great promoter of the turkey-laden holiday, today we are not celebrating nor is it likely that we will be doing so on fourth-Thursdays-in-November to come. Do not get me wrong, I am a stickler for traditions what with their obscure dates and at times ridiculous rules. In essence, holidays and traditions are nothing more than repeating firmly established protocols. This repetition, in turn, gives us solace and time for reflection. When one knows the hardship of winter, there is nothing more comforting than sharing a filling meal whose menu has been predetermined. 

But, alas, today marks the day that I and my household break from tradition, not to forsake it, but rather to establish a new one. From this year forth and those that come hereafter, as long as we live in the southern hemisphere, we will celebrate a Day of Thanks in May, as it should be, according to the seasons. Because, I must tell you that 14 hours of sunlight, spring greens, strawberries, and miniskirts do not a Thanksgiving make. In fact, Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday due precisely to the fact that it is a reflection of the season's bounties. A coming together in appreciation before times get tougher. It is thus, just not possible, to celebrate such a day at the end of Spring when it seems that the world can hardly get more beautiful, the days are ever longer, and pumpkins and apples won't be ripe for months.

Therefore, friends and family, do not pity me when I tell you that this Thursday was like any other beautiful Spring day. There was no pie, there was no turkey, there was no celebration, but those things will come. Perhaps, like this past Day of Thanks in May we, with close friends, will feast on rabbit in addition to stuffing and potatoes and all of the other goodies. Perhaps we will create a song, or choose not the fourth, but the third week of the month. That is the beauty. At this point, while we are still cultivating our routines, traditions, and protocols, anything is possible. 

13 November 2016

Pablo returned safely to Valdivia, and since we have been enjoying a quiet weekend at home. 

Here are some of the final photos from Easter Island. One of the days when the seas were very rough, the crew took a break from diving and we visited Rano Kau and Orongo. It is difficult to think of a more beautiful setting... an extinct volcano filled with wildlife with the grand Pacific in the background. It is no surprise that the ancient Rapa Nui people choose this site for the Tangata manu ceremony in which men proved their worth by swimming from the coast to the small Motu island, capturing a recently laid bird egg, and racing back to the volcano's edge. 

07 November 2016

I am back at home and Pablo is out of town. He left for France late last week and returns at the end of this week... hopefully with a suitcase full of cheese... and canard... but regardless of whatever wonderful treats he might bring me from lands afar, his absence puts me in a general sort of funk. The routine is off. The house is too quiet. No one wants to bake pies for one. I am actually starting to appreciate our bastard cat's presence... So, if you, like me, need a little rousing out of your melancholic state this Monday just watch the video below. 

The Kari Kari Ballet is a must see when in Rapa Nui. For an hour plus the dancers, singers, and band fill the room with energy, both carnal and spiritual. They share their tradition through song and dance, which was like nothing I had ever seen before. By the end of the evening my eyes were as wide as saucers, my face hurt from smiling, and I had convinced myself that I must dance. 

02 November 2016

All in the name of science. Here are some photos from the famous guppy hunt (see previous post for more details)! 

The sunset that evening really was spectacular. Dramatic clouds and a raging sea were tinged with the golden hue of the day's end. Fishermen came in and out of port as we sat on the rocky coastal shore. The marejada from the few previous days was finally calming down, yet still, every few minutes a giant set would roll in and our friends and surrounding rocks would be doused with chilly salt spray, a reprieve for the fauna inhabiting the otherwise shrinking intertidal pools.  

31 October 2016

Happy Halloween! I think these teeny tiny fish photos + mad scientist are about as spooky as they come. 

One evening, Erwan decided that it would be a great idea if we all enjoyed the sunset together while trying to catch guppies from intertidal pools. The fun of this adventure was maximized with massive waves crashing into the coast, giving everyone a nice little unexpected spray from time to time. After a few minutes of worthless effort, Pablo and I found a nice dry spot to sit back and laugh at our friends being soaked and dominated by such minuscule fish. In the end, it was a great evening. Vale might have a new calling as a tiny fish hunter.

someone really likes guppies...
looking a bit dehydrated from a fatal ethanol bath, but still the colors are magnificent!
name of photo: still life with guppies

30 October 2016

I hope you are having a nice weekend! 

Today, I thought I'd share a few photos from Ahu Tongariki. The Ahu at this site displays 15 moai that site right in front of a beautiful semi-enclosed bay. To drive along the curvy Rapa Nui road and suddenly see these 15 enormous statutes looking back at you is quite impressive, I must say. Several times we all remarked that we seemingly visited the island at the perfect time of year because often there were no more than two or three other tourists around us at any given time. This left us ample space to get silly with the moai :)

23 October 2016

While we were waiting for fishing permits to be approved, we took advantage of the downtime to explore the beautiful island.

Easter Island is most well known for the giant stone moai that were created by some of the first Rapa Nui inhabitants. As story has it, there are seven moai that face towards the ocean that serve as a symbol of the first Polynesian missionaries that were sent to colonize the island. The remaining hundreds of moai that dot the island face inland symbolizing protection, much as a parent would shield his or her child from oncoming danger.

I couldn't tell you which site is most impressive, though Rano Raraku (photos shown here) is spectacular. Rano Raraku is the ancient quarry where the moai were carved from volcanic rock. Here moai are scattered across the landscape, some even half buried in the hillside. I am hard pressed to think of a more monumental representation of human imagination and fortitude.