This is the first set of emails from my 2000-2001 trip to Rapa Nui.  These emails were intended to share cute little stories with my family and friends of my life there.  Along the way, people started to write back, commenting on how much they liked the messages, and even asking if they could send them to some of their friends and family.  When I finally returned to Hawai‘i, these emails were what people talked about and remembered most.  So I figured, they must be interesting enough for people to want to read them... 


These messages offer some insight into everyday life in Rapa Nui and its people.  The series on the Tapati festival is especially interesting if you're thinking about visiting during that time of the year.  There are emails from the 2003 and 2004 festivals as well, which can be accessed through the Rapa Nui Journal page.  Have fun!


Table of Contents (Aug. 2000 to May 2001): 
8/27/00     Iorana from Rapa Nui 11/28/00   The food 1/25/01   Soy una bruja
9/01/00     My timing... 12/03/00   Teleton 1/25/01   I came [  ] this close...
9/17/00     Life on the Island 12/03/00   More fishing tales 1/25/00   Tonti
10/05/00   Aloha everyone! 12/05/00   Music makes the work go 'round 1/26/01   Enter Ki., stage left
10/05/00   The happenings in Rapa Nui 12/11/00   Another fishing adventure 1/27/01   Tapati - days 1 and 2
10/11/00   Next edition 12/11/00   Vinapu 1/28/01   Tapati - days 2 and 3
10/20/00   Other things about Rapa Nui 12/11/00   Christmas came early this year 1/29/01   Tapati - days 3 & 4
10/23/00   ahhh...memories... 12/14/00   I ate grass. 2/01/01   Tapati - days 4, 5, 6 & 7
10/30/00   Drunk guys 1/01/01     Happy Holidays 2/02/01    More about the food
10/30/00   The best things in life... 1/01/01     New Year's on Rapa Nui 2/07/01    Tapati - days 8, 9 & 10
10/30/00   English...the universal language 1/08/01     And then there are those days... 2/10/01    Leaving soon
11/04/00   More drunk people...including me? 1/11/01     Rano Kao 2/11/01    The last couple of weeks
11/08/00   Halloween 1/12/01     Life on a tiny island 2/14/01    The last few days
11/10/00   Domestic Adventures 1/13/01     LanChile Update 2/21/01    The trip home
11/10/00   Fishing with Uluwehi 1/18/01     Regularly heard 5/5/01      Rapa Nui - Series Finale
11/11/00   Flaco 1/22/01     The tourist season


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January - March 2003 e-mails            December 2003 - April 2004 e-mails

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Date:    Aug 27, 2000        Iorana from Rapa Nui

Hola!  I'm here! 

I just wanted to say hi, and let you all know that everything has gone wonderfully so far. Although I haven't had a chance to watch the tape yet...  C. doesn't have a TV and VCR in his house yet, but he's planning on buying one soon. 

The flights worked out really well, and I didn't have to pay for any excess baggage fees.  I got SO lucky!!!!  Tahiti was wonderful, and so far Rapa Nui's been pretty nice too, even though it is supposed to be winter right now.  But, I am definitely using all of my winter-like that was a good choice. 

The day that I arrived was C.'s birthday, so there was a big party that night.  It turned out to be a great ice-breaker for me, because I found out that most people speak a little bit of English, and they're not afraid to try and talk to you.  Even the ones that didn't speak any English still tried to communicate a it was great. 

That night I also met one of the Karikari dancers.  The Karikari dancers perform the traditional dances for the tourists, but they also fulfill all of the cultural needs of any local presentation.  So they're like the local cultural group.  There is one dancer who is very fair-skinned - more white than me!  Her grandfather is Norwegian, and she learned English so she could speak with him, so she speaks very well.  Her name is Merahi, which means "Angel."  Isn’t that nice?  Anyway, we talked a little bit about dancing, so I think if I ever want to learn, I know who to go to. 

The members of the Karikari group are actually the hardest working people on the island.  They practice every day because right now they are working on their second CD.  There aren't a lot of people around who work every day...

She was telling me that a lot of people think their dance is the same as Tahitian, but it isn't.  In Rapa Nui dance, the hips go in a figure 8 motion, whereas in Tahtitian, it's like a U shape.  And, Rapa Nui dance is more like hula in that they use hand motions to illustrate the words of the song.  Tahitian dance doesn't use the hands as much.  However, the music does sound more like Tahitian because of the instruments they use and the way that they sing, but the songs are a bit slower than Tahitian.  So, in a way, it's kind of a balance between hula and Tahitian.  But I think that hula is the only dance with so many different steps and hip movements. 

I'd like to learn, but I've always had trouble with those ōniu....  ugh...

Anyway, I'd like to thank you guys for all your help before I left.  I really appreciate it.  And if you want anything from Rapa Nui , just let me know!!!! 


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Date:    Sep 1, 2000        My timing...

First of all I wanted to apologize...I told all of you that I would be mailing you right away, like last Sunday.  However, I've found that it's extremely difficult to find a good time to go online! I don't have a phone line in my house (that just proved to be too expensive to install), so I have to go to someone else's house just for the phone line.  And even then, the only time you can get a secure connection without getting kicked off after a few seconds is at odd hours, like 2:00 in the morning.  There are only 8 phone lines for the entire island, and 5 of them are modem lines.  And there are about 3000 people on the island all sharing these 8 phone lines...  Thus, I have not been able to successfully get online since I've been here.  I've tried several times, to no avail. 

Therefore, I also wanted to apologize for the time references in my messages.  What I do is type out all my messages during the week, at whatever time I feel like it, and then send them all at one time.  So if the time or day references in my messages seem a little off, that's why.  Sorry if it's confusing. 

Tonight is Friday, and I'm going to try to send them all tonight (about 20 messages!).  But after this week, I think I'll send them all on Sunday night (Mon mornings).  There's a party tonight for Elena's birthday, so there's a good chance that on our way home from the party, we can stop and try to get online.  Hopefully it will work!  I really NEED to check my mail!  I feel so disconnected from all of you... 

Anyway, mail me back.  I like messages...otherwise I have no idea what's going on over there! 

Take care all....Chao! 

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Date:    Sep 17, 2000         Life on the Island ...

Hola everyone! 

I know you all haven't heard from me in a while.  That's because I haven't been able to get online for almost 2 weeks.  Apparently, one or two of Entel Chile's 5 modem lines were fried, so getting online is tough here at the moment.  Oh how I wish I had a phone line in our house!!!  (We tried to get one.  There are no more lines available to our area.) 

Anyway, things here are good right now.  In a way, it's probably good that I haven't been able to mail out for a while, because I've had a very difficult time adjusting so far.  But, I think the toughest part is over, and now things seem to be getting better. 

At first, I had to adjust to the daily life over here.  I'm so used to working every day, 40 + hours a week.  Believe it or not, it was a little difficult to let go of that.  (I know, I guys are thinking that should be the easiest part to get over!  But, trust me, it's not.)  For the first couple of weeks, I would get up every day expecting to have to go to work.  All of a sudden I find myself getting up every day wondering, "What am I going to do today?"  And the truth is, there's not a whole lot of answers to that question...well not for me, yet.  But the day will come when there will be.  I'm still exploring, trying to find what there is to do here.  I'm finally getting used to having my days free, so I'm finally getting to the point where I enjoy it. 

Another thing I had to adjust to was the food here.  I'm not going to lie - I MISS THE FOOD IN HAWAI‘I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So much...  But, I have to admit that the food here is healthier.  In Hawai‘i, I used to get stomach aches after eating pretty frequently, maybe even once a week at the least.  But since I've been here, I've gotten only one stomach ache, and that was when I first arrived.  Since then, my body has been fine.  But then again, there is nowhere near the same selection of foods here than there are at home....we eat pretty much the same thing every day.  Lot 's of first I got tired of it, but I think now I'm getting used to it.  Now, when we don't have bread in the house, I feel like there's nothing to eat. 

But here there's no Asian food, no fast food, and they have pasta, but they're not really into Italian food, so it's hard to find all the spices I would normally use with my pasta.  There's no Parmesan cheese...oh, how I miss my Parmesan cheese... 

Let's change the subject.  I'm getting hungry...

Another difficult adjustment is the language.  Every morning I wake up and expect to hear everyone around me speaking English.  Then, when it doesn't happen, I feel like I'm in some kind of everlasting nightmare. At the height of my stress about the language, I was actually having dreams in Spanish.  But I've started to accept that I am now immersed in this, and will be for a while, so my stress is being alleviated, little by little.I'm not picking up things as quickly as I, or C., had hoped I would.  He used to complain to me, in English, that I need to speak more Spanish.  But we had a couple of discussions about how difficult all of these changes are for me to make all at one time, and he has since stopped bugging me about it.  He doesn’t need to…I get enough of a message every time someone else tries to speak with me. 

The one time that I felt good about being able to speak English here was when I went with C. to his English class.  The airline here sponsors classes for its employees to learn English.  I went with him to class, and they were so happy to have me there.  They asked me to read all of their exercises first to they could hear the proper pronunciation.  Then they used me as a part of their exercise by having to figure out the correct way to ask me certain questions, then to have to understand my answer.  It was the first time I felt like my English was worth something over here.  They asked me to come back to the next class…I’m actually looking forward to it.  It actually helps me with my Spanish a little bit too, because when they speak in Spanish in the class, they are speaking ABOUT English, so I can understand more in that class than I can anywhere else. 

And, by their own admittance, Chilean Spanish is more difficult to learn than the languages of other Spanish-speaking countries because they speak very quickly and drop their “s”’s at the ends of words.  For example, “ como estas” (how are you) is pronounced “ como etai.”  That’s an easy one, because that’s usually a sentence within itself…but trying to understand other words within a sentence that aren’t pronounced the way you expect is an entirely different thing. 

Thankfully, C. and I have found ourselves in a little group of English/Spanish speakers. Right now there is a family here from Florida .  The parents’ names are Chip and Marlene.  Marlene is Cuban but was raised in Florida , so she speaks both English and Spanish fluently.  They have a son, JT, who is 18 and speaks no Spanish.  There’s also 3 Chileans in town who speak English. 

All of these people are here to either surf or dive, or both.  That’s their sole purpose.  And Panda and C. usually get to know all the people who come into town to surf.  (Panda is our other friend – one of the local tattoo artists – who initiated C.’s and my first meeting when I was here last year.  Like C., he speaks pretty good English.) 

This weekend is a holiday.  September 18th is the Chilean Independence Day, and they also take the 19th off for some kind of military holiday, so this entire weekend is a party weekend.  Last night the 3 Chileans, Panda, JT, C. and I went out.  They all speak Spanish with each other, except when they’re directly addressing JT or myself…so half the time we’re both lost.  But, it’s better than nothing.  And these Chileans speak English very well…when they speak it. 

The Piditi nightclub – one of only 2 clubs here – had previously closed a few months ago due to lack of business.  Toroko, the other club, took all the people.  But Piditi has opened again just for this weekend.  They opened on Thursday night and will keep going every night until Monday.  Unfortunately for them, the bet night was Thursday.  Since then it’s been a little dead. 

There was another festival going on at the park across the street from the Toroko nightclub.  That one started on Friday night, and that was the best night for that location.  We went to both of these places on Saturday…apparently we missed the crowds. 

I think it’s because no one really has money right now.  Most people get paid here at the end of the month. 

The owner of Piditi is a good friend of C.’s, and his name is also C..  (It’s a pretty common name in Spanish-speaking areas.)  His girlfriend is one of the Karikari dancers.  Her name is Merahi.  She speaks English very well also, because her grandfather is Norwegian, so she had to learn to speak with him.  I like her a lot.  She’s only 19, but she says she’s mature for her age.  I believe it.  Her boyfriend is about 32 or so, so there’s a big age difference.  She says that his maturity level is lower than his age, which makes them about equal.  Isn’t that always the case with men and women? 

C.’s mom (my C.) is doing all the food for the weekend at Piditi…which is good for us because our house is the last house on the road before you get to Piditi, so it’s just a 5 minute walk to go and eat any time we want.  And Rapa Nui is one of those few places left in the world where you can walk home at 4:00 in the morning and know that you’re safe. 

C. (the other one) and Merahi live right up the street, behind Piditi, so they’re close by also.  I told Merahi that I wanted to learn how to dance Rapa Nui , and all she said was "when?"  So that's pretty cool.  Then she asked if I know how to dance hula...I forgot my hula CD's at home, and I'm hoping that my mom or my brother will send them soon.  As soon as I get them, I figure we can start doing a cultural exchange kind of thing.  :)

The weather here has been nice.  The second week that I was here it was really sunny and started to get pretty warm.  We even slept with the window open a couple of nights.  But about a week ago it started to get cold again.  Since then it's still been sunny, but cool out.  I don't like it...I like wearing slippers and shorts...

I started to get a little upset with C....I had been here for about 3 weeks and we had only been outside of town twice.  I wanted to play tourist.  So one day he made plans for us to go fishing at Tahai with Panda.  But when we stopped by Panda's house, he couldn't go, so we went by ourselves.  I ended up having a good time. 

C. was going to attempt to teach me how to fish, again.  (The first time we met was because we all went fishing together.  He tried to teach me then, but I was awful at it.)  There were too many waves, and C. wouldn't let me fish off of the rocks where the waves were hitting.  So he went fishing and I watched.  I found a nice rock a laid was almost like being on the beach at home.  C. caught 4 fish. 

C.'s favorite pastimes are surfing, fishing and watching TV, in that order.  Because the first two are dependent on weather, we end up doing the third one a lot.  When I first got here, C. decided to buy a TV set for the house.  (Before I got here, the family only had one at their shop in town.)  Next month he's planning on buying a VCR.  He said it was because of me, so that I wouldn't be bored.  But he never really asked me if I wanted one...the truth is he wanted to buy it for himself, so he wouldn't be bored.  He loves to rent videos.  If he had the money, he would rent a different video every day.  Fortunately for me, the videos are still in English, with Spanish subtitles. 

There is only one TV station here:  TVN (Television National de Chile).  One day I was talking with Marlene, and she was saying that she thought their TV was broken because they could only catch one station...  I had to laugh.  Then I gave her the bad news...  There is, however, a local station that only broadcasts on Sunday nights beginning at 7:00 p.m. , so on one night a week we have a choice of what to watch.  They usually start out with some Disney movie.  (Unfortunately, all the animated features are dubbed in Spanish.  So I just have to go from memory when watching those...although it's interesting to hear all the Disney songs in Espanol...)  After that they have some kind of nature special or whatever.  Then they have the local news for the week.  And after that they play a movie (English, with Spanish subtitiles.)  The transmission ends after the movie, usually sometime around 1:00 a.m. or so.

TVN's transmission ends around that time also.  The only time they broadcast the entire night was when Chile played against Spain in the Olympics.  Chile has a really good soccer team, and they're hoping they will take the gold.  The game was on live, which was about 3 or 4 a.m. here.  We were out until 4 or 4:30 last night, so when we came home we caught part of the game on TV. Chile won.  Yeah! 

Because they only have one station, there's a captive audience.  Whenever anyone talks about a TV program, everyone else knows exactly which one.  The news here is 1 HOUR long...I have no idea who ever thought to make it one whole hour, but they do it...Because it's so long, however, they end up doing a lot of stories that no one really cares about.  The local station's news is the same way.  It's only on once a week, but the news is 1 hour long.  Rapa Nui is a small place, and there's not a whole lot that goes on here, so sometimes the stories end up being quite extensive...more so than you would like. 

They have 2 soap operas on TVN.  One of them is not interesting at all.  It's just like any American soap opera...I still don't know what they're saying but for some reason I know exactly what's going on.  As for the other one, it's strange in that they air it at 6:00 in the afternoon.  It's got a very catchy theme much so that they've produced a CD of music from the show.  Unfortunately I've started to get interested in this show...there's usually nothing else to do at 6:00 in the afternoon...

There's only one bank here, and, as Panda describes, it is the safest bank in the world.  One time someone tried to rob it.  He rode up on horse in the middle of the night, had the horse break the window, and stole the box with all the money in it.  But at that time, I guess the bank had just gotten a typewriter, and this guy had never seen one before, so he typed his name out...needless to say, they caught him first thing the next morning.  That was the last time anyone tried to rob the bank.  

The bank closes at 1:00.  (Gives new meaning to the word "siesta.")  They do siesta here, like some European countries.  Some shops close from 1 to 3, and some from 3 to 5.  Most people do all their shopping in the morning, before 11:00.  C. always sleeps late, so by the time we get into town everyone is already leaving.  But we have gotten into town early a couple of times, and the whole place is buzzing in the mornings. 

Well, I guess there's not much else to write about.  It's about 1:30 a.m. , and as soon as Mo. (C.'s brother) is done at work, he's going to pick me up and take me to the shop so I can send out all my messages.  I have a lot of online things to do...

Take care everyone, and please write back.  It may take me a while, but I do get all my mail...eventually.  J



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Date:              Oct 5, 2000 11:20 AM , HST              Aloha everyone!

Well, here is yet another of my updates on my "adventure."  Are you guys getting bored with this?  If so, please let me know... 

The severe homesickness is setting in...I miss everything.  I miss Oreo cookies, and Salt & Vinegar potato chips, and Starbuck's Frappuccino...I miss my little apartment, my old lumpy bed, and my purple blanket...I even miss my work and my little PVS office...

I've bought Pringles twice already since I've been here.  That and the dry saimin packs keep me sane...they remind me of home.  It's funny, because at home I didn't like that dry saimin in packages.  Here, they're like gourmet cooking.  I ate two of them yesterday alone.  (Oriental flavor...yum...) 

I miss American T.V.  Do you know I actually asked my Mom to tape the episodes of Friends and Ally McBeal for me every week and send me the tapes once they're full?  I get the distinct feeling, though, that she's not doing it.  She hasn't mentioned anything about it, and I've been here over a month and have not received one single, solitary piece of mail since I've been here...You have no idea what it's like to watch T.V. in another language every day...especially when there's only ONE channel, so you have no choice but to watch the same shows every day.  Can you tell this is starting to really drive me crazy? 

On top of that, I've been sick almost the entire time that I've been here.  I get a cold, then I get a stomach ache, then another cold comes back, etc.  This is driving me crazy too.  But please don't worry about it...this is all a part of moving to a new know, there are different kinds of little germies here that the locals are used to and I am not.  It's only a matter of time...but the interim is so frustrating. 

Okay...I guess some positive news would be good here...let's see... 

Yesterday C. told me that I'm beautiful. 

Okay, it was all worth it.  :) 

All kidding aside...I've finally started to get up off my butt and do something to make a living for myself.  Panda, his wife Elena and I have put together a business plan...we're going to start our own company.  Don't worry...I'll tell all of you about it soon enough. Since we have zero budget, all advertising will be through e-mail and word of mouth.  So I will be asking for all of your help...hee, hee, hee....

Panda has had this idea for a long time now...he just needed someone with a computer and with the right contacts.  Enter Uluwehi, stage left.  And, I'm not afraid to do the work necessary to get this thing going.  Unlike most of the people here, I'm not afraid to work 40 hours a week.  (Most of the people here work 20 hours or less.  Working 40 hours is unheard of to them.  They're just not willing to do it.)  But it's only a 40 hour thing at the beginning.  Once it's up and running, I won't have to work that much.  I can merge into their wonderful 20 hour a week mentality...

Another good thing is that I've been going out a little bit more.  Panda and Elena have been absolutely wonderful!  They've been so supportive...Elena is originally from Chile , so she left her family and everything to come here and live with Panda, so she knows exactly what I'm going through.  She's helping me out a lot. 

C. and I have been through some tough times already.  We're both pretty new at this serious relationship thing, so it's taking a lot of adjusting.  But we do our best to work everything out right away, and right now things are really great.  Last night we sat around the living room together and just talked for hours, about fun and interesting stuff...  :)

The weather has not been nice to me.  It was nice and hot (summer kine weather) for a couple of days, and I was in complete bliss.  Then all of a sudden it got really cold...right now I'm wearing sweats, really thick socks, a long sleeved shirt and a thick jacket - and I'm INSIDE the house!  I don't like this part of it...

Conversely, the surf has been really good.  Well, yesterday was when it got cold again, and yesterday was when the surf picked up.  It had been flat the few days prior.  So yesterday everyone and their brother were out surfing, right here in town.  I've never seen so many people in the water here!  It almost looked like Hawai‘i !  There aren't that many people here that know how to surf (I don't know why...the ancient people surfed here...I guess they just lost it for a while...).

There are actually only maybe 30 people on the island who know how to surf.  And most of them were out yesterday.  At one point I counted 24 people in the water, all at the two surf spots right here in town.  The waves were pretty crowded...

Do you know what one of the neatest things about this place is?  Everyone knows everyone else.  And, because it's so small, someone can always find out where you are at any given time. One time we went out to the South shore to go surfing (well, I watched), and Mo., C.'s brother, came out to visit while we were there.  We didn't tell anyone where we were going...  Another time, C.'s friend went camping.  We were supposed to go, but things got messed up and we didn't.  So the next day we set out and we found them.  He didn't know where they went camping, but we found them on the first try...  When you're out in the boonies somewhere fishing, people see you from the road, know that it's you, and come out to say hi.  That just amazes me every time it happens... 

The people are so friendly too.  It's kind of deceiving, though.  When you look at them on the street, no one smiles, but if you talk to them they're so friendly!  I've had so many people tell me (via a translator) that they want to speak to me but I can't speak Spanish (yet).  Everyone shares whatever they have...drinks, cigarettes, food, whatever.  There's none of that "what's mine is mine" stuff...yet at the same time I think they understand that not everyone is like that, because no one ever asks me to share any of my things.  (Well, only C....but that's different.)  I think they know that I'm not quite as used to that as them. 

C. and Mo. share everything.  I don't think they even know what T-shirt belongs to whom...

I do think that I am finally adjusting to being here.  I finally got my appetite back.  When I first got here, I didn't eat very much.  C. used to bug me about it all the time.  But for the last couple of days, it seems like I can't be satisfied!  I eat, and then one hour later I'm hungry again!  So now we've been spending a little bit more money on snack foods...  But this is normal for me.  At home, I could be hungry the entire matter what I ate.

Bottom line - I'm finally getting used to this.  (Except for the TV....did I tell you how much that bugs me?)  :)

Anyway, that's about it for now.  I'll write again later.  I'm out of stories for now.  Please write back.  I like getting letters.  :)  I absolutely crave anything from home...even if it's only a hello from someone! 

Take care everyone! 

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Date:    Oct 5, 2000        The happenings in Rapa Nui ...

Iorana tatou,

I guess the good luck I was having with my internet connections has run out.  I haven't been able to connect for almost 2 weeks now...I'm getting pretty anxious to send out all my mail and get all my new messages. 

The last time I was online, I was able to stay on all day...I was so happy!  So I was able to completely clean out all my inboxes.  Thank goodness I did that...I can only imagine how many messages are in there now...  :(

Anyway, it finally seems like summer has decided to take control over here.  It's been sunny a lot more than it's been raining, and the days have been warmer.  I have one of those bottles of monoi (body oil) from Tahiti. If you don't know what that it, it's a pure oil that you use like lotion.  Anyway, that's a really good weather meter for me.  Most of the time it's all coagulated, as oil normally gets when it's cold.  In the morning I put it next to the window to melt it all.  Once it's melted, I put it back on the dresser.  Sometimes, by the end of the day, it's all solid again.  That's how I know that the cold is coming back.

Then, there are a precious few days when it stays in its oil form all through the night and into the next day.  I am thankful when I see that...I'd much rather wear shorts for the day than sweats.

And, after all the bugging I had to do, it finally seems like C. and I are going out more often.  The problem, as I finally realized, is that he likes to go out at night, like most young men like to do.  I, however, would much rather go out during the day to explore the sights and take advantage of the sunshine.  He somehow finally got the hint, I guess, because we've gone out about 5 times in the last 2 weeks.  Of course, it's mostly to go surfing or fishing - things he likes to do - but at least it's out and away from town. 

I'd like to learn to surf, but I can't get over the thought of how cold the water is...I'll have to save up some money and buy me a wetsuit one day.  

I'd also like to fish, but I learned how as a child with a fishing pole.  So basically, I'm spoiled.  They use hand lines here, which is a lot more difficult than with a pole.  The pole does all the hard work for you...  So I'm still trying to get the hang of that one.  Needless to say, I haven't caught anything yet.  But then again, C. hasn't had that much luck lately either.  Out of 2 days of fishing, he only caught one fish...  awww... 

I hope all of you are doing well.  I feel so disconnected when I can't check my mail...  Sorry again if the timing in my messages seems off.  I'm basically holding a one way conversation with all of you right now...  Write back and let me know what's up, kay? 

One bit of good news.  I did some research before I left on the American green card lottery.  Every year the US basically gives away 50,000 green cards to qualifying immigrants.  A green card, for those of you who don't know, is a permanent resident visa.  It doesn't make you a US citizen, but it gives you the right to live and work in the US for the rest of your life.  This lottery is open to people from countries that don't have a great influx of people to the US.  That means that people from countries like China or Mexico or Canada, etc., do not qualify for this lottery, because there are already so many in the US.  And each year the list of qualifying countries changes, because it's based on how many people from each country came in the previous year. 

Anyway, Chile is a qualifying country.  And because there aren’t a lot of people from this region that apply for green cards, C. has a good chance of being chosen for the next one.  It is a lottery, however, so it's completely at random.  All the applicants are separated into regions and so many applications are chosen from each region. 

There is a family here right now from Florida.  We've spent a lot of time with them during their 5 week stay.  They're leaving tomorrow (Fri, Oct. 6), and I'm sending C.'s application with them to make sure that it gets to the lottery drawing on time.  Mail from here can take up to a it's sure to be faster to send it with them.  Please pray for us! The lottery drawing will take place around next May or so (2001), and if he wins and he passes all the paperwork review and the interview, then he'll be awarded his green card any time between Sept. 2001 and Sept. 2002. 

I'm a little sad to see our friends leaving.  Marlene, the wife, is really great.  She told me to make her a list of all the things I want from the states and she'll send them.  I'm not making a big list, of course, but it was so nice of her to offer!  Her husband, Chip, and stepson, JT, are here to surf, so she's spent most of her time watching them, taking photos and video.  Because C. is such an avid surfer, there were many a time that she and I ended up on shore together, watching the guys and taking pictures or video.  Now I'm going to be all by myself on shore...

There's another young Rapa Nui man here who went to Hawai‘i for a month.  While he was there, he met a girl and now she wants to come here to visit him for a month.  He came to our house the other day to seek our advice.  How's that one?  Now C. and I are in a position to give advice to others...  Isn't that funny? 

All I really need to help him is an e-mail address for the Lan Chile office in Honolulu.  C. was going to try to get that from the Lan Chile office here.  If the Honolulu office even has an e-mail...hmmm...  It turns out his girlfriend already has her ticket to Tahtiti on Hawaiian, she just needs the Lan Chile ticket.  That's why they asked for my help.  I've wanted to find out that e-mail address anyway, because it would really help me in future endeavors...  :)

I feel like this message is an old Seinfeld episode - a lot of talk about nothing much.  Sorry if I'm boring all of you!  But that's what happens when I can't check my mail regularly...

Well, take care all.  Please let me know what's going on with all of you.  I hope to hear from all of you soon!

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Date:    Oct 11, 2000         next edition

Hi everyone.  Going on three weeks now that I haven't been able to's driving me crazy!!!

Actually, I was able to get online for a very short time yesterday, but only long enough to take a peek at who sent me messages.  I only got to read one of them before I got cut off.  (Ross - you were the lucky winner!  And thank goodness, it was such a great message!  Thank you!)  I wasn't able to send any mail, however.  I tried reconnecting but the effort was futile. 

I wasn't using my computer, which is why I couldn't mail out.  I type out all my messages offline, so they're all stored in my laptop.  Yesterday I was on someone else's desktop, so I had to check all my mail online at Yahoo.  Oh how I long for the days when I could stay online all day long and surf where ever the feeling would take me!

And to actually disconnect yourself once you were done...  You don't know how good that feels until you don't have it anymore. 

I really want to check out the rules to some card games.  I brought a deck of Hanafuda cards with me, but for the life of me I can't remember how to play!!!  I keep taking them out and trying to remember, but my mind is a complete blank... 

I also taught C. how to play poker, and he has subsequently taught about 3 other people to play it.  …Although I don't know how reliable my teaching is, because I really wasn't completely sure on how to play the game myself.  Every single time we play I just have to laugh - the blind leading the blind!  That's why I'd really like to check out some card games online, maybe get the rules on how to play, and get a few other games too.  (The people here can play the same game for months on end and not get tired of it.  Me, I need variety.)

I remember from a long time ago (nostalgically...) a game called Shanghai Rummy.  I wish I could remember that one now...Any one out there got any games you could share?  I'd really appreciate it...  We play a lot of games here at night since there's not much to watch on T.V.  And, you know, everyone else drinks almost every night, so a game to drink along with is always good, right? 

The weather here has been taunting me.  For 2 or 3 days straight it just rained...and on the weekend.  C. and I were bored out of our minds.  (C. is most unattractive when he's bored...)  Then finally yesterday (Monday) there was a glimpse of sunshine - just enough to make me think that the day would be sunny.  But I had a I went with my instincts.  We went into town, and I dressed in shoes and a sweater and took my raincoat, but as a compromise I wore shorts.  Turns out I followed well, because it did rain, but had enough sunny periods to compensate for my wearing shorts.  Today seems to be the same way.  But I'm wearing pants today...

On a good note, I finally got a job.  I'll be working as the after hours office attendant at the Hotel Otai.  (The Hotel Otai is where we stayed when we came here the first time.  We made friends with the owners, so I went to see them when I first got here.)  The lady who manages the office leaves every day at 5:00 , and the tourists usually come back from their tours at 5:30 , so there was a little bit of a problem for Kh. (one of the owners).  Many times the guests need their room keys, or want to make long distance calls or things like that after hours.  It's a cruise job for me, and the benefit is that while I'm there, I can use their computer.  He, he, he...  They have a printer and scanner too, but I haven't had time to explore yet...  I start tonight - everyday from about 5:00 to 8:00 .  :) 

Kh. also wants me to tutor her daughter, Ariana, in English.  Kihi's husband lives in Europe and speaks English, so Ariana must speak English in order to speak with her father.  She got a good start because she spent this last summer in Hawai‘i .  But she hasn't used it at all since she got back here.  She speaks well, but needs to learn more about the reading, writing and grammar aspects.  Being here, I wish I had studied my grammar more.  I've been asked several times if I want to teach English, even starting a course at the school.  But I just don't know enough about the rules of the language to teach it...

That has become painfully clear to me when I go with C. to his English class.  The teacher is local, and speaks with the thick accent.  And she doesn't always speak correctly either, but she understands the rules of the English language far better than I do.  There have been several times when C. would ask me why something is like this, and I couldn't answer - but the teacher could. 

On the other language front, everyone and their sister is telling me "you must learn Spanish." I know, I know...  geez...  They also tell me "es muy facil"  (it's very easy).  Yah, right.  This coming from a person whose first language is Spanish...  I get upset when they tell me these things.  If I truly found it easy, then I would know it all by now, don't you think?  Hmm?  Of course they don't understand that I THINK in English, and the grammar structure is different from Spanish, so it's not as easy as they believe.  For those who do speak English, they still speak it using the Spanish grammar structure, so, you know, I don't think they really understand where I'm coming from. 

Sorry.  Had to let off a little steam there.Otherwise, I am picking it up.  I can say a few sentences confidently now.  I can even hold something that resembles a conversation with someone who speaks only Spanish.  I don't know the proper forms of all the words (past, future, etc.), but at least I know most of the root verbs to get by.  It's all the nouns that make it difficult now.  And my ears are finally used to hearing them speak, so I can understand more. 

I think the most difficult thing for me is the language.  I am immersed in a world where I don't understand 98% of what's going on.  C. speaks English with me, all the time.  When I tell others that, they say that he needs to speak Spanish with me.  But I told him that I'm thankful that he speaks English with me, because it's really stressful to be outside where everything is in a language other than your own.  I used to watch TV all the time at home to relax, but here it's not relaxing because it's all in Spanish.  His speaking English is like my one place I can be comfortable. 

There was a family here from Florida .  My surfer-wife friend, Marlene, has left.  I think it's so funny - at home, you would never ever take the time to get to know a tourist.  But here, I find myself looking at everyone on the street hoping to hear them speak, because if they speak English, then I'd like to meet them.  It also dawned on me that here, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of different people. 

Take Panda, for instance.  He hardly goes anywhere.  Yet, he has so many friends from all over the world.  He just sits here, and everyone comes to him.  I guess that's what happens when you take the time to meet the tourists.  Yah, life here can be boring, but meeting the people is what makes it interesting.  That's what brings variety. 

I remember when we were here the first time, and it was time for us to leave, we were all sad. We didn’t want to go.  I remember hearing Panda say that everyone comes and goes, and that's just the way it was.  No long “goodbye, I'll miss you.”  Just a "glad to have met you" kind of feeling.  At the time I didn't understand that, but now I do.  People come and people just have to be thankful for the experience. 

Marlene is such a wonderful person.  She told me to make a list of all the things I wanted from the states and she would send them to me.  I told her no, that's okay, blah, blah, blah, but she insisted.  So I made a small list...I should be getting my Oreo cookies in a couple of weeks.  :)  She also left me some of her books.  Being married to a surfer, she knows the importance of books, and since my boyfriend is a surfer...  I've only read one so far.  I try not to read all the time, because I only have so many books and I want to save them for when C. is out surfing. 

Well, that's about it, I guess.  It's long, I know, but I told you before, I have to get as much in as I can during the precious few moments that I have online.  :) 

Take care everyone, and I truly do hope to be hearing from all of you soon!!!  It's difficult to write a one-sided conversation... 



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Date:    Oct 20, 2000        other things about Rapa Nui

Okay...from the mail I got back, I see that I may have given off a bad impression, like I'm really bored or something.  Sorry for that.  The truth is that, yes, I was really bored but I tried my best to keep it out of the letters.  Sorry...guess I failed.  :(

Anyway, I figured that now I should focus on some other things about this place.  It really does have a lot of good things to offer.  And I promise to leave out anything having to do with the TV....

For those of you who have never been here, I'll try my best to feed your imagination.  And for those of you who have been here before, maybe this will bring back fond memories.  :) 

Rapa Nui is a very small island - people compare it to the size of Kaho‘olawe.  Most of us haven't been there either, but just for reference, it's maybe about a quarter of the size of O‘ahu.  The farthest you can go on the island is from the town (Hanga Roa) to Anakena beach, but that's not the longest drive.  The road to Anakena is paved, so it only takes about 20 minutes at the most.  The longest drive is going from Hanga Roa along the Southern coast road which can eventually take you to Anakena.  That road is not paved, so it takes longer, and it is a very out-of-the-way detour.  Most tourists drive along this road to see the many ahu (altars) and fallen moai (those big stone statues) that line the shore for the full extent of the road, as well as to get to Rano Raraku, known as the quarry, where the ancient people carved the moai's out of the side of a crater.  Many locals drive along here to go fishing, surfing, or camping.  There is no road going to the northern shore of the island.  You can only get there by motorcycle or on horseback…or by using your own two feet. 

Many people here don't have cars.  You don't really need one.  The town is small enough to walk through in about 20 minutes.  Our house is on the main road that leads to Anakena, just outside of town.  For those of you who have been here, it's past the airport but before Piditi Discotheque. (FYI – I didn’t spell that wrong.  In Spanish, “discotheque” is the correct spelling.)  We've walked into town several times, and it only takes me 30 minutes to walk from the house to the Hotel Otai, which is all the way on the other end of town.  Rapa Nui is also a very safe place to walk, which is why there isn't a heavy need for cars.  And there are a lot of taxis driving around all the time, so if you're too lazy, late for something, have lots of stuff to carry or get caught in the rain, there's always a taxi.  They only cost $500 pesos, which is roughly $1 US.  And on those rare occasions when you really want to get away but don't have a car of your own, there are always motorcycles available for rent.  C. has rented a bike twice since I've been here. 

No matter how small the place is that you live in, most people will always think it's too far to walk.  So, there are people here who have cars and drive everywhere.  Others have motorcycles, and others ride horses...yes, they ride horses IN TOWN.  Even on the sidewalks. Those who that have been here before will remember the lovely smell of horse manure that perfumes the air as you walk.  It's especially fragrant at night.  :)  Ah...brings back memories...

I have been walking a lot at night recently.  I work at the Hotel Otai now every night from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.   It's always dark when I go home, but I enjoy the walk.  I feel completely comfortable doing it.  You know at home, in Hawai‘i , you really don't want to be walking by yourself at night.  It's scary, especially for a woman.  But not here.  There's nothing to be afraid of. 

One of the things I like most about Rapa Nui is that you can still see the stars at night.  There's no light pollution like we have in Honolulu, so you can see all of those faint stars that, in Hawai‘i, you never knew existed.  And when there's a full moon it's especially beautiful.  I never knew how illuminating a full moon can really be!  When there's no human light to ruin it, a full moon can light up the night like the sun itself.  It's absolutely beautiful...I remember at home I could go about my life and not even notice when the moon is full.  That won't happen here.  You can't help but to notice it. 

When we were here the first time, a lot of the Hawai‘i people compared the terrain to that of Kamuela on the Big Island.  The air was crisp and cool, but the sun was shining, and the ground is littered with rocks everywhere.  That's one thing Rapa Nui has no shortage of - rocks.  Many people have rock walls.  All you have to do is clean out your yard, and there are all the rocks you need for your wall.  Most of the houses are made with rock walls in the interior, with a sort of putty layered over to make it even, with paint over that.  The only problem with that is the rocks sometimes carry moisture.  This problem has appeared in our bathroom, where most of the paint on the bottom half of the wall has started to peel.  I'm one of those people who can't resist, and I have to peel paint when I see it.  That's how I discovered the rock interiors... (kolohe!) 

Only the main streets here are paved.  The road to Anakena is the only one that's paved with asphalt.  The rest are paved with bricks shaped like "Z"'s about the size of a regular brick, all fitted together like some kind of intricate, organized puzzle.  The sidewalks are paved with these same bricks.  All of the smaller side roads as well as most of the residential roads are still dirt.  This is a problem for some roads when it rains.  Some roads happen to run down from the mountain, so when it rains all the dirt gets washed down, leaving only a very uneven rock road.  The construction crews then (at their own time) fill the road with dirt again and even it out.  But then it rains’s a vicious circle. 

Despite what many people think, there are trees here…even some right in the middle of town. Granted, there aren't as many here as there is in Hawai‘i , but is the island certainly not "bald." There are birds those regular brown doves we have, but they look a little bit mixed, like they mated with those little gray finches or something.  No mynahs. 

Of course, they have cockroaches too.  I mention this because it's pretty funny...they don't seem to be as smart here as the roaches we have in Hawai‘i.  TWICE I saw a roach fall off a wall and onto its back.  As much as it struggled, it just could not get back over onto its feet.  So it just lay there until it died.  I saw this happen TWO TIMES!  I never saw that in Hawai‘ home they know how to turn themselves over.  I also have not seen any of them fly here.  And I pray that I never do... 

They also have a lot of stray dogs and cats here.  I don't think they have any kind of animal control systems...  The animals look pretty healthy, however, considering that they're all strays.  They're all very mild-mannered also.  At home, when I would see a stray dog on the street, I would get scared.  I'd try to find another path or even turn back to where I came from.  Here, the dogs are so nice.  And these are big dogs like German Shepards and such.  I even saw a stray poodle here.  I have no idea how such expensive dogs could end up as strays in Rapa Nui , but nevertheless, they’re here.  Some of them are really beautiful too...I saw a German Shepard puppy that was all black with brown only on his underside.  Poor thing was a stray... The only dogs that display any mean tendencies towards humans are the ones that people keep as pets.  Tonti, C.'s dog, is a Rotweiller.  Because he's so strong, we keep him tied up in the yard most of the time.  I think this is having an effect on him, because the older he gets the more aggressive he becomes.  Some people say that Rotweiller’s are naturally aggressive, but I think it's because he's tied up so much.  I told C. that he needs to spend more time with him and let him run around a little bit more, but it may be too late for that.  The last couple times we let him loose, bad things happened.  The first time he went to play with a child, but he plays rough so he completely scared the kid.  The second time he got into a fight with C.'s cousin’s dog.  Tonti won.  C. boasted about it all day...but I think it means that maybe there's no turning back now for Tonti. 

He hasn't been "fixed" yet either.  C. insists that Tonti will die a virgin.  I told him "no way."  Tonti is very strong, and I have no doubt that he could break his ropes when in heat. 

The ocean here is, of course, beautiful - crystal clear with no pollution whatsoever.  …Although the water is colder than in Hawai‘i .  I keep waiting for it to get warmer before I go in, but I think I'm just fooling myself. 

I guess that's about all I can say at the moment.  There's only so much landscape to talk about...  Anyway, take care everyone, and please mail me back when you've got the time! 

Iorana tatou,

Ulu  :) 

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Date:    Oct 23, 2000        ahhh...memories...

Hello again!  Signing in yet again from Rapa Nui .  Grab some milk and's time to read before you sleep...

I've been feeling nostalgic this week.  It occurred to me at some point that this week held a couple of special dates.  The first sign I received that the following dates were near was when we had to turn the clocks back one hour for daylight savings.  I remember sitting in the PVS office talking on the phone with Shantell, who was here in Rapa Nui at that time after arriving on Hōkūle‘a .  I thought there was a 4 hour time difference, and she told me that it was now 5 hours, as they had just changed the clocks.  So when that happened to me here, it was like a light bulb over my head telling me "it's been one year!" 

The very next day after changing the clocks was October 16th.  That was the day that I first started working at PVS, in 1998.  I mention it because on October 16th, 1999 our PVS group left for Tahiti and on October 18th arrived in Rapa Nui .  At the time, I felt the trip was special because we were leaving on my one year anniversary with PVS and because I was able to go to some place new and interesting.

Little did I know at the time that the trip would change my life. 

Well, last Monday was the 16th, and Wednesday was the 18th.  Now that I'm here, the 18th holds a special meaning to me because, unknowingly, that's when C. and I first saw each other.  For those of you who don't know, C. works as a Lan Chile flight attendant between Rapa Nui and Tahiti.  He was working that night.  It's an overnight flight, so I slept for most of it, but I woke up just after breakfast was served to my row.  C. was pushing the second cart down the aisle, saw that I had just woken up and asked if I would like breakfast.  I did, so he had to scramble a little to get to the first cart for my meal.  And the only reason I remembered him is because (aside from the fact that he's incredibly handsome) of his "fang" tooth, just like mine.  And on him, it was rather attractive.  But I didn't think anything more about it after we left the plane. 

Now that I work nights at the hotel, I often walk from the hotel to C.'s mother's shop in the middle of town after my shift is done.  This always reminds me, again, of October 18th.  I am working now at the same hotel that we stayed at during that trip.  That first night Cat and I somehow ended up separated from the rest of the group, and so we went walking by ourselves to find a restaurant to eat dinner - along the very same route that I now walk almost every night.  It was already dark and fairly late.  We were in a strange new place where everyone seems to stare at you, and at first you don't know what the intention behind the stare is.  I don't know how Cat felt, but personally, I was a tiny bit afraid.  The street seemed empty, and we didn't see very many people as we walked.  In fact, I wasn't even sure which restaurants were open and which were not.  It was all so confusing then... 

Oddly enough, I couldn't tell you any more special dates of things that happened while we were here.  The only other date I remember is November 7th - the day we arrived back in Hawai‘i.  I don't remember the date that we left Rapa Nui, but then again none of us really wanted to leave, so maybe I've blocked it out of my memory.  I don't even remember the date that I was supposed to leave, or the date when C. and I first went out...none of it.  Although I'm sure I have all the dates and details perfectly preserved in the journal that I kept during that trip.

Isn't that such a female thing - remembering dates of even the tiniest significance?  I guess I should look up the other ones, and then maybe C. and I can have some kind of anniversary or something.  :)

Our entire relationship has been so strange, I don't think either of us has any real idea of when we officially became "a couple." 

Okay, enough of my reminiscing.  Now on to the news.We are in the depths of a mayoral election here.  The first big (and I mean "big") sign that the election was close was when right in the middle of town (mauka side of that little marketplace) a huge billboard-like sign was erected promoting “Albert Hotus para Alcalde” (Mayor).  Oh yeah, by the way, a new Governor took his position here at the beginning of September.  I have yet to hear any good comments about him... Anyway, I did not like that billboard.  When I was young my mother was highly involved with the Outdoor Circle, and they spent a lot of time fighting against the presence of billboards in Hawai‘i.  So when I saw one here, it was pretty disturbing. 

The very next day another billboard went up for someone else.  Before I knew it, there were billboards all over town promoting all the different candidates.  There's a lot for this election, maybe 7 or so.

But I am left to assume that this is normal behavior before an election because no one has made any kind of comment about it.  (Well, not like I’d catch it if they did, being that everyone around me speaks in a high-speed Spanish…)

I have no idea who all these people are, although their pictures are on all their billboards.  Petero Edmunds (well, I've at least heard of him), Julio Araki (yes, an uncle of C.'s), Raymond Teao Hey, Alberto Hotus, etc. 

Then, the funniest thing happened yesterday.  At about 6:00 in the afternoon I heard a bunch of car horns honking and loud music playing.  Ariana (Kihi's daughter) ran out to the street to see what it was.  Kh. and her friend (and currently a guest here) G. soon followed.  It turns out that it was a sort-of parade.  A bunch of cars drive around town in a big caravan boasting signs and flags for a specific candidate.  Petero Edmunds was the honoree for yesterday's parade.  Kh. explained to me what was going on...apparently this is also normal behavior before an election.  And, they are going to do the same thing for each candidate every day.  Today's parade was for Alberto Hotus.  Tomorrow's - who knows?  Kh. says it's a big waste of gas.  G. said, "It's enough to make me NOT want to vote for him."  I'm inclined to agree with the both of them. 

Although it is rather funny, when you think about it.   

The election in on Oct. 29.  N. has been asked to sit on the judges table, or whatever that is. He has complained about it several's an all day thing and I expect, rather boring.  He said that if he had to be at something all day, he'd rather it be the beach.  (I know that feeling.) 

G. is a woman who's 70 something years old, although I would think she's around 50 something to look at her.  She's an authority on petroglyphs, and spent 10 years in Hawai‘i writing a book with another guy on certain sites on 4 of the islands.  (Don't ask me the guy's name.  All I remember is that it started with an "S".) 

She is here now with a Japanese group filming a documentary on the petroglyphs. G. is getting quite miffed at them.  It seems that they have no real script or outline to follow - they want to film anything and everything, which makes their schedule go so haywire that G. just cannot and does not want to keep up.  They don't speak English, so must speak to her through a translator who doubles as the coordinator for their stay.  Georgia hates not being spoken to directly, especially since if they did speak directly with her, she'd probably give them the straight shot and that would be that for the day. 

This group reminds me a lot of a group that we had to work with once for PVS.  Some filmmakers want the world on a silver platter.  They NEED you to cater to their every whim, and it's really exhausting.  We have to get a shot with the sails open with the sunset in the background with this person standing in front of it with the wind blowing from this particular direction and a dolphin right there next to the hull....come on!  Every afternoon, without fail, when the group arrives back at the hotel I hear from Miki (the coordinator).  This group always wants something - more soap, the bed needs to be made a certain way, that wasn't the way they wanted, we want bacon for breakfast, real coffee please, 4 eggs scrambled with bacon 2 fried and 3 poached with steak, box lunches but we don't like the way you did it yesterday so do it different today.   

For those of you who don't know, it's really difficult (not to mention expensive) to get things like bacon and real coffee here. 

And they wash their clothes A LOT.  I don't even wash clothes that much when I'm at home... 

Last night Kh. and G. needed "a break."  They went to the restaurant next door for dinner.  (Our favorite - La Tinita.  Remember that place?)  G. had 3 pisco sours before they even left the hotel.  (Kh. offered me one but I was still technically working.  Shucks...)

Ariana (9), Kihi's daughter, spent this past summer in Hawai‘i.  When she came back she spoke English very well and was very well behaved. According to Kh., that didn't last very long.  I've been hired to help tutor her in English because her father speaks it.  (Kh. and her husband have a very unusual relationship.  He lives somewhere in Europe and they see each other twice a year.  He's due here sometime in December.)  At first I was apprehensive about the tutoring thing because I have virtually NO educational experience (other than being a student.)  But we've had three lessons so far, and it seems okay.  I think the main thing is that I'm giving her a reason to practice speaking it, so I always speak English with her even though I'm supposed to be practicing my Spanish.  I think she has fun because at the end of the hour she doesn't want me to leave.  So that's cool.  :) 

You know, one of the good things I like here is that I have the time to watch movies.  And because C. likes renting them so much, I've been able to see a lot of the films that I was never able to see at home.  I read a lot more too.  But I wish I had brought some of my books with me.  Like my Jane Austen or some other classics.  I have the first book in the Horatio Hornblower series...I wish I could have the next one.  Ariana had to read Robinson Crusoe for her class, and it made me realize just how many of the classics I haven't read.  Now I wish I could have those books with me.  (They do have a library here, but I'm willing to bet all the books are in Spanish.) 

Anywhos...enough of my going on and on.  Sorry again. But at least I have some more things to write about now.  I was getting pretty bored there for a while… 

I hope to hear from all of you soon.  I still haven't caught up with all the mail I received earlier this month, but I feel better having letters than not having letters.  :)  And I promise to get all caught up very soon. 

Aloha käkou a e mälama pono,


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Date:    Oct 30, 2000        drunk guys... 

Okay.  I have a story for you. 

One morning about a month ago, C. tells me that he wants to go to Santiago to buy clothes for the both of us.  I told him that I already have too much clothes and don't need any more.  He then said that I dress like his grandmother, and need some young people clothes.

I was truly offended.  I had agonized over what to pack for about a month before I came here. It had stressed me out a lot.  I even complained about it to anyone that asked before I left..."the hardest part is picking what clothes to take!"  So I was upset when he said that I dress like his grandmother.  I like to be comfortable, and if that means wearing a t-shirt with long sleeved shirt hanging over it, then that's what I'll wear.  And then there was the fact that when I first came here, he was the very one that told me that no one here cares what you wear.  Yah, no one except him. 

Anyway, after the fight was over, I figured I could afford to give in a little.  So I busted out my nice clothes which I hadn't worn before because frankly, the washing process here takes forever (because of the cold weather it takes a week for anything to dry) and leaves your clothes anything but feeling soft and comfortable.  (No dryers and they don't bother with fabric softener.) 

So now I "look my age" again, and C. is happy.  But that's not the end of the story. 

Since I've started to "look my age," I've been getting hit on, especially by drunk men.  One day as I was walking to work at about 5:00 in the afternoon, this guy calls to me from across the street and signals for me to come to him.  Well, I didn't know him so I wasn't about to cross the street for him, but I figured he must know C..  Why else would he be calling to me, right? Duh...  But since I've been here C. has told me constantly that I must be friendlier, say hi to the people, and not be afraid of them.  So even though I wasn't comfortable, I talked with this guy…just because C.'s voice rang in my ears, "you must talk with the people." 

So he crosses the street to come to me.  He catches up with me, puts out his hand for me to shake, and when I do he pulls me into a hug.  I figured this guy better be a friend of C.'s or he's in trouble.  He asked me my name, and when I said "Ulu," he acted like he didn't believe me or something.  He said something in Spanish, so I said that I don't speak Spanish.  Anyway, to skip over the conversational part a little, he stuck out his hand to shake it again, so I did, and again he pulled me into a hug, then left his arm around me and started walking, like I was now his property or something.  I started to pull away when he started to lean his face towards me, like he was coming in to kiss my cheek or something.  I finally managed to pull away.  I didn't care anymore if I was being rude. 

Luckily, all of this happened just outside of the store that C.'s mom was tending while her sister was on vacation.  She saw me pull away and realized that this guy was bothering me, so she came outside and started yelling at him.  He walked towards her and I quickly went on my way to the hotel. 

All I could think was, "This is all C.'s fault...wanting me to look my age and telling me to be friendlier..."  Truth is I never would have waited for that guy to cross the street if it hadn't been for C.'s voice in my ear... 

Anyway, C. came to pick me up from work that night.  I thought it was so incredibly sweet until I remembered that it must be because of what had happened. 

So things were fine for a while, then after I started spending more time at the hotel the gardeners started hitting on me.  By the time I get there in the afternoon they're usually all drunk.  They're really old guys too.  So this one guy (that Kh. did tell me to watch out for) every time he sees me he points to me then points to himself then crosses his arms over his chest like the "love" gesture. Luckily I'm always deep inside the office and he stays outside.  So I say hi, but nothing more and try to ignore the rest as best I can.  But he does that at least twice a day when I'm there.  Then the other old gardener was in the kitchen talking to Kh..  This happened to be the very same day that the other gardener started doing that.  Anyway, I was leaving and went in to let her know when this other drunken old gardener tells me that I should come home with him.  Yah, whatever.  But Kh. warned me about him too, and this one, she said, was harmless. 

Then this past Saturday night the other guy, who is actually one of the important staff members around the hotel, came up to the office window and started talking with me.  He doesn't speak any English, but I tried my best to understand. 

I had already been working there for about 3 weeks, and this guy was very nice and always helpful and Kh. and N. depend on him.  Plus he has a daughter who comes every afternoon and plays with the other "kids of the hotel."  So I figured he was attached.  We’ve talked in the past and I thought everything was okay. 

So we were just talking story and out of nowhere he invites me to go to Anakena the next day. I said I'd have to ask my boyfriend, because I'm thinking that I wouldn't go all the way to Anakena without C..  Then, and I know my Spanish is not very good yet, but I thought he said something like that I should leave my boyfriend at home, and that he was only talking about the two of us going.  From that moment on I felt uncomfortable.  So I told him thank you, but no.  He kept asking why.  I kept throwing out excuses, and he kept knocking them down.  But I kept saying no.  He kept asking why.  After about 20 minutes or so of this, Ariana and her friend came in.  They were a god-send!  Kids are very honest, and they said that he loved me and told him that I have a boyfriend.  They asked me if I love my boyfriend, I said of course.  So they were trying to brush this guy off for me.  Finally, after their teasing and my saying no, he left. 

After N. finally arrived for the night, I got out of there as quickly as possible.  The next day N. asked me if that guy had been drunk the night before and if he was bothering me.

Apparently Ariana had told him what happened.  I didn't think that they were serious when they told me he said that he loved me or something, but if she told N. also, then it must have been true. 

So now I feel all uncomfortable around him, and try my best to keep my distance.  When I got home that night I told C. what had happened...and I told him that no one ever hit on me when I dressed like his grandmother. 

C.'s solution is to give me advice like "kick him in the balls," or "tell him 'F___ you."  Yah, thanks.  That’s really helpful.  Men will be men...even in Rapa Nui . 

So my efforts to be more friendly have stalled a bit.  I am more friendly when I'm with C., but when I walk to the hotel alone, I am my old "don't talk to anyone" self.  Too bad if they think I'm rude.  Too bad if C. thinks I'm rude.  That's what he gets for wanting a pretty-looking girlfriend. 

So that's the end of my story, folks.  It's all a lot funnier in retrospect. 

On a positive note...TVN is playing "Austin Powers" (the first one) tonight.  That's going to be interesting to see them try to translate a movie like that into Spanish....  How do you think "yeah baby!" will sound in Español?  Or how about "groovy baby, yeah..."?  Or my favorite, "you can't resist my mojo...".  Should provide just as much entertainment as the movie actually does! 

Well, take care all!  I hope to send this soon, and to hear back from all of you just as quickly! 


Ulu  :)  

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Date:    Oct 30, 2000        The best things in life...

The best things in life truly are free, but some of those free pleasures require equipment that needs to be purchased...  STOP IT!!!I know what some of you are thinking...that's not what I meant!  Such dirty minds... 

I was talking about socks.  The weather here is still so inconsistent that I end up wearing shoes almost every day.  Even the sunny days turn out to be very deceptive, as it usually rains in the afternoon or after the sun sets.  Because I work at night now and I know that it will be dark when I walk home, I always have to dress warm when I leave the house, no matter what time of morning or afternoon that might be.  Because I used to wear slippers practically everywhere in Hawai‘i, my feet are now displaying signs that I've never had to deal with before - like odor.  Yuck.  One week I had to wear socks every day for about 5 days.  My feet did not react well.  No matter how much I washed them the odor never completely went away.  One day I washed them 3 times and massaged them with lotion but the odor still was not eliminated completely.  I have discovered, however, how truly wonderful the capilene socks from the Patagonia clothing company are.  Capilene is a material designed to pull moisture away from your skin, with the end effect being that the clothing will still keep you warm even when it's wet.  Although I have several capilene shirts, I never really appreciated the full effect of that phenomenon until I had to start wearing socks so much.  When you're wearing shoes, your feet get hot and they sweat, creating the moisture which causes the odor.  With capilene socks, the moisture doesn't get stuck in there, so you don't have to hold your breath when you take your shoes off at the end of the day.  It's wonderful! 

I have 2 pairs of the really thick ones, so at first I only really used them around the house to keep my feet warm.  But then I remembered about the moisture thing, so I tried them with my shoes.  Bingo!  Now I'm saving up some extra money because I want a couple of thin pairs.  The thick ones are a bit too much to be wearing with regular sneakers. 

By the way, if this sounds like an advertisement, IT IS.  The Patagonia products are great, and I swear by that!  Of course, their merchandise costs a little bit more, but they are so worth it.  If you like to hike, you'll never have to worry about blisters again with these socks.  They're that good. 

Okay...enough of the sales. 

Another positive result of my shoe situation is that C. is buying me a new pair!  Yeah!  Something covered that's nice enough to go out in, since most of my shoes are of the athletic type.  It's our first personal purchase (other that food) since I've been here, and I'm pretty happy about it.  It's so exhausting having to watch every peso you spend...sometimes you just have to get a little reward.  :)    Yipee! 

Speaking of money...I am absolutely convinced that the American monetary system is the most efficient way to go.  It's always so confusing here, because 500 pesos equals (roughly) $1.00.  I think that by breaking up the dollar into change, it's made our system so much easier to function and understand.  Here, a bottle of soda costs 1000 pesos.  A meal can cost up to 10,000 pesos.  When you see such a huge number, your mind tends to think that it's a lot of money.  But if you look at that same bottle of soda and see $2, it seems like a lot less, doesn't it?  Because they don't have the small change, some of the expensive things have really big-looking price tags. For example, a computer could cost about $500,000 pesos - looks rather large, doesn't it?  But with our monetary system, it costs only $1000.They use the dollar sign also in front of the prices, so that makes it seem even bigger in my mind, because it automatically makes me think "dollars". 

Changing subjects now...  C. finally found some good waves and went surfing earlier this week.  I stayed on the tiny little beach here in town and stuck my feet in the water.  It was REALLY cold!  But you know, the more you do it, you get used to it.  When I finally took my feet out, all I wanted was to put them back in again because it felt so good. 

Thank goodness we have hot water in the shower again!  We ran out of gas and didn't have hot water for a couple of weeks.  Needless to say, I was cold a lot during those two weeks. 

More ocean stuff:  We went fishing on Wednesday.  They brought an extra line for me, and the ocean was calm enough for me to try this time.  Everyone here uses hand lines, and to toss the hook out they swing it next to them or above their heads like a cowboy then let it go.  I have not mastered that technique yet...every time I try my hook ends up in the opposite direction from what I intended.  It kinda looks like one of those paddle balls with the little rubber band that connects the ball to the paddle...I throw the hook out and BOING!!!  It comes right back to me but from the opposite side that I threw it from.  I must look so silly...  

I demanded a bobber - something that would float on the surface so I would know when I got a bite.  I just don't have the feeling for the line that they all have.  So with that bobber my line looked even more like one of those paddle balls...  It was a big yellow bobber that looked like a dehydrated lemon.  In fact, at first that's what I thought it actually was...but after careful inspection I had to admit that it was actually that foam like material that they use for ocean stuff. 

The first thing I caught was a rock.  A very big rock filled with sea urchins.  I had to just sit there and wait until the rock was done playing with me and decided to let me go.  I looked at C. and said, "yah, this is a lot of fun."  It did, however, let me go eventually, so I still had my hook and bobber in tact.  I was utterly discouraged, but I tried again anyway.  But I asked C. to throw my hook far away from that rock...

He threw my hook for me the first 10 times or so, but after a while I just threw it myself.  Mind you, I still cannot do that cowboy thing, so I just gave it a little underhand swing and let it go.  It didn't get out very far, but nevertheless, it was in the water.  So at least I can do that part by myself...  Eventually, as the day wore on, C. stopped baiting the hook for me also.  I never asked him to do it in the first place, but he tries to take care of me, and I didn't argue.  They use raw chicken as bait.  I have nothing against touching that, since it's like cooking.  When I was young my Dad taught me how to fish using earthworms as bait.  I always refused to touch them or to bait the hook.  I think I would touch the worm now, but I'm pretty sure I still wouldn't put it on the hook.  It's just the thought that it's still alive at that point...  the chicken is not. 

The second thing I caught was a sea urchin.  It was on one of those ill-fated throws that went anywhere but where I wanted it to.  My hook and bobber got caught on the side of a rock that we couldn’t see from where we were and I simply could not get it loose.  C. was concentrating really hard on his line so he didn't realize that I was stuck, even though I had already called it out to him twice.  It took about 10 minutes before he realized it.  I would have climbed down to get the hook, but he never would have let me do that ("it's not safe!").  So he climbed down the side of the rocks we stood on, but still could not get to the end of the line.  So he broke it then got the crabber his friend brought (a long, thin, round piece of metal, like a clothes hanger straightened out) and pried the hook, bobber, and urchin free from the rock.  The hook and line were all tangled up in the urchin's spines.  There was no way I would have ever been able to just pull the line free...  C. didn't eat the urchin, although I have seen him do it before.  For all we knew, that could have been the only evidence that I caught anything... 

By this time I was really irritated, but I kept trying because if I didn't I would have been really bored.  But the more I tried, the more irritated I got.  These fish just kept eating my bait but never bit down on my hook...those buggers are smart.  About an hour later I think the gods felt sorry for me or something because one brave fish decided to give me a chance.  He bit my line good.  I didn't have to do anything - I didn't have to pull to secure him on the hook or anything special like that.  Nope…he did everything for me.  All I had to do was pull him in.  He fought, but not nearly as much as I think he could have.  So I pulled in my very first catch.  And the only thought in my head was "good, now I can stop!"  (Geez, I must have been really frustrated.) 

C. was more excited than I was.  He was really proud of me!  He went around telling everyone that I had caught a fish…so cute!  :)  And, as it turned out, mine was one of the bigger fishes caught that day.  Later we talked about it, and we both expected my first catch to be really small or one of those rubbish fishes that they never eat.  Neither of us expected it to be a good one, and the biggest one at that. 

I couldn't eat my fish though.  It's some kind of rule or something here.  You can't eat the first fish you must give it away.  And a mother cannot eat any fish caught by her first-born son. That must really suck if you only have one son...  C. says his mother is really lucky because Mo. is the first son, but Mo. doesn't fish, so she is able to eat whatever C. catches.  That day we went home with a bag full of 9 fish total.  C. caught 6 of them.  His friend caught 2, but didn't want to take any because he still had some in the freezer.  We gave 3 to Panda and Nena, and 3 to C.'s mother (which included the one I caught).  That night we were so tired that we didn't even eat the three we had left.  We just ate saimin - hot and fast. 

We were out all day.  We started walking to the shore at about 2:00 and didn't get back into town until after dark, and the sun sets here at about 8:30 .  It was my day off, and C. skipped his English class to keep fishing. 

It was already getting dark when we started walking back.  Just as we got to the road a big truck approached from behind us.  It had a flatbed about the length of 3 regular trucks with no side panels.  On the flatbed was about a hundred or so rocks, like they had simply gone somewhere, picked them all up off the ground, and tossed them on the bed.  They didn't even bother to stack them well, so all the rocks jiggled just a little as the truck moved. 

The driver stopped next to us and asked if we wanted a ride.  There were already two more people in the cab, but we were welcome to get on the bed.  So we did.  C.'s friend climbed on first then C. lifted me while his friend pulled.  C.'s a little bugger, but he sure is strong.  :)  For some strange reason, I didn't grab onto the frame at front of the bed just behind the cab...instead I just found a reasonably flat spot in between the rocks where I could fit my body into.  I didn't sit, I squatted since I then realized that all the rocks were covered with fresh dirt (which was now all over my hands, by the way).  So C. and his friend held onto the bars while I held onto a rock on either side of me.  It was futile, really, as all of those rocks were just as unstable as I was.  I just got as low as I could and as balanced as possible. 

C. couldn't stop laughing.  "This is an adventure!" he said.  I was just as amused as he was.  :) 

We made it into town intact, although sun-burnt, dirty, and stinking of fish and raw chicken.  We went to the grocery store before we went home, which made C. laugh even more.  He told me that we must really stink because everyone walked away from us.  It was pretty funny...  The first thing we did when we got home was take our HOT showers. 

Anyway, this letter must be pretty darn long by now, so I'll say my goodbye's right here.  Thanks all for all your letters back.  I hope all is well with everyone.  And please drop me a line when you've got the time.  :)  It takes me a while, but I do get to all of them eventually. 

Take care!  ~Ulu

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Date:    Oct 30, 2000        English...the universal language

It has become my belief that there are three words everyone here knows how to say in English. 

The first is "hello."  Natural choice, right?  That's the first thing you say when you greet someone...  Simple to understand and to say. 

The second word is "beer."  Shows what our society today values most.  And do you know that the only reason I discovered that this was a universal word is because when people find out that I only speak English, they usually try and list off all the English words they know.  And they're usually drunk at the time... 

The third is, thanks to Hollywood , the "F" word.  Again, a display of our values today.  C. and I have even made a joke about it.  One guaranteed thing that everyone knows is how to swear in English. 

Apparently they don't favor the other English swearing options quite as much.  Hmmm, I wonder why...?

I’m still working on my Spanish…and now I have people asking me if I speak Rapa Nui !  (Where the heck did that come from?)  You know, Papa N. is back (Kh. and N.'s father), and he prefers to speak Rapa Nui with everyone who can.  And when he speaks it, I can understand more of what he's saying.  (It is very similar to Hawaiian.)  With C. and his friends, I can't understand one single solitary word.  I think it's because Papa N. takes his time, and so I can hear and have enough time to understand the words.  All the young'uns speak so fast...  And when people speak with Papa N., they slow down also - maybe out of respect?  So I can understand some of the conversation. 

By the way, for those of you who know and love Papa N., he's doing very well.  He came back from Santiago a changed man.  He walks almost as fast as I do now... 

When Kh. and N. hired me, they said it wouldn't be a problem that I didn't speak Spanish, because 95% of their guests speak English.  Last night Ramon Edmonds escorted one of our arrivals to the hotel, and we talked a little.  I told him that this hotel was one of the few places that I could work given my lack of language skills.  He agreed.  Then I told him that the week after I started, we had 4 Chileans and 6 French people arrive, all in the same week.  (Figures…)  We just got 2 more French arrivals today, but they speak a little bit of English. 

N. speaks English (Australian style), Spanish, Rapa Nui , and as I've just discovered, French.  I suspect that he may also speak German.  I don't know if Kh. speaks French and German also, but she speaks the other three.  Miki, a Japanese woman who recently organized a tour for a Japanese documentary group here, speaks Japanese, English, Spanish, Rapa Nui, and a little bit of French and German.  Most of the tour guides here speak Spanish, and either English and German, English and French, or French and German.  Even C. speaks Spanish, Rapa Nui , English and German.  I feel so inferior...I'm having such a difficult time with just the Spanish....  But being here inspires me to want to learn more.  I just need to stop thinking of it as "difficult".

Such is life it the tourist community. 

I guess that's all I have to say about that.  Talk to you later everyone!Aloha! 

Ulu  :) 

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Date:    Nov 4, 2000        more drunk people...including me?         

Hello again! 

I hope all of you are doing well this fine day!  As you may have guessed from my greeting, it is summer here on la isla - finally!  I feel almost positive that it has taken over at last.  The last week has been sunny and hot, to the point where even I think it's hot.  I love it...although everyone here is complaining that it's too hot.  I like it because it feels just like Hawai‘i.  :)  (Everyone here thinks I'm nuts....) 

Although it promises to be another beautiful day as I look out the window next to me, I am inspired to write about a different subject:  More drunk people…the reason being that I was most rudely awakened this morning by 2 or 3 of them.  Specifically, C.'s brother and one or two of his friends. 

When I first got here I kind of liked his brother, mostly because he was the only other family member that speaks English, so we had a couple of good conversations and he was always very polite.  But all of a sudden things changed...

It turns out that this guy is very obvious.  When I first got here, he was happy with his girlfriend.  There were difficulties, however, because she is much younger than him.  But the real clincher is that she is distantly is related...twice removed or something like that, but still, the familial connection was well established and well known by both families. 

C.'s mom is very nice, and accepted her...the real problem was her father.  I just found out recently that he would hit her because she refused to stay away from her boyfriend.  I guess she finally couldn't take it anymore, since about a month ago she and C.'s brother finally broke it off - and this time it seems like it's for good. 

I thought about it, and I figured that they have been together over a year already.  The worst thing that they could do together has already been done a hundred times over, so what's the point in not accepting it?  If they don't gross out about it, then why should anyone else, right? 

Anyway, I noticed immediately when they broke up because C.'s brother wears his emotions on his face.  It was like night and day.  One day, he was his usual pleasant self, then the next he was gloomy and borderline rude.  He started coming over here a lot more to hang out with C., look for liquor in the house, eat, and whenever he was at the shop he would always be practicing "Wonderful Tonight" on his guitar.  I didn't like this person. 

Since they broke up, he has gone to Piditi on a regular basis.  In the mornings, after drinking all night, he comes in here, opens our room door to, I guess, see if we're here (although I have no clue as to where else we would be at 9 am on a Saturday morning...), brushes his teeth, sometimes eats then leaves the dirty dishes and crumbs all over the table, then departs, leaving the door wide open.  And, he brings his friends in with him, so the morning’s activities are always accompanied with a loud chorus of drunk people's conversations echoing in our empty house.  It ALWAYS wakes me up.  It doesn't bother C.. 

Funny, I am bothered by the noise of other people, but I was never bothered by the sound of traffic when I was at home.  C. is completely oblivious to noise, but the light bothers him.  It doesn't bother me at all.  Hmm... Anyway, in addition to his morning escapades, he has also, on occasion, come here at night when we are not home, before he goes to Piditi.  He has some friends over, they drink and eat, then they leave to go to the club.  All of those wonderful dirty dishes, empty beer cans and mess from the food are left for C. and me to clean the next morning. 

I don't like this person quite so much as I liked the happy one.I suspect now that he has found himself a new girlfriend.  He has been nicer lately, but these other habits have not stopped (which only leaves me to assume that he's just using her as a warm body and doesn't really care about her).  I saw her riding on the back of his motorcycle one day last week.  This morning, she was one of the people in the morning drive-thru party.  And the reason I know this, you ask?

It's not because I got up and went to meet's because she also came and opened up our room door to see if we were here.  I've never met this girl before, but I already don't like her.  And then, of course, after they left I got up to check...sure enough, the kitchen door was wide open.  It never fails.... 

I am confident that the people here could out-drink anyone.  They practice it so regularly.  There have been times when I have seen people after they have been drinking all day.  They are wobbling in their seats, and their speech is slurred and limited to the same comments over and over because their minds, at this point, cannot access any other words.  And I think that they will be going down soon.  Then they reach for their cups.  Their hands are so shaky and, I imagine, their eye sight so blurred that it must take olympic amounts of concentration to actually grab the cup, but they manage to make contact.  Then, they reach for the Pisco.  They swipe air a couple of times, but eventually run into the bottle.  They unscrew the cap (which seems to be no problem) then go to pour.  The bottle opening is swerving around just like their hands did when searching for the bottle, and I am so completely sure that they are going to miss that cup.  But they NEVER DO.  Not with the Pisco.  Never.  The bottle opening may be right on the inside edge of that cup, but the never miss it.  They never spill one drop of that alcohol.

They don't care, however, if they spill all of the coke…so that happens a lot.

It never ceases to amaze me.  When I see people in this state, I think that it won't be long before they go down, but I am completely wrong!  I saw some people like this once at about 5 in the afternoon.  C. and I went home, took showers, slept a little, watched a movie, and then went back at around 9:00.  Their vocabularies were now completely void of any comprehensible words, but they were still awake, still drinking, and still did not spill one ounce of that Pisco.  These people were still awake, although barely, when we left at about 2:00 a.m.  Amazing... 

Speaking of Pisco...for those of you who don't know, Pisco is a type of liquor that is sold (I think) only in Chile and Brazil.  It's the big thing here.  People drink it with Coke, Sprite or Ginger Ale.  Coke ("negro") is for hardy souls, because it's a little more potent.  Sprite or Ginger Ale ("blanco") is less potent because it tastes better, and goes down a bit smoother. 

Then, of course, there is the ever popular Pisco Sour.  It's made with limes and egg whites.  It takes a great amount of effort, so you don't see it too often among the locals. 

However, I have discovered another option.  Wednesday was a holiday (All Saints Day), so we went to the beach with Paola and her family.  (Paola is one of C.'s best friends.)  Her mother had brought some Pisco and Sprite.  I usually don't drink, but I figured, "what the hey..." so I had a cup.  I guess it was being at the shore and everything... 

Anyway, the first drink always makes my face as red as a lobster.  But the rest of my body was already red from the sun, so now I matched.  :)  So I had a second cup.  We were out of Sprite, and I had brought along a bottle of Canada Dry Lemon Soda for me to drink.  So we tried it with that.  In short, I have found my drink of choice in Rapa Nui !  It was yummy...  I was very close to having a third cup, but then I stopped to think about it.  (I hadn't gotten up I didn't know if it would hit me hard once I did.  Hmm, better not risk it.  We had to walk over all the rocks and up a hill to get back to the I stopped at two.)  I was fine when I got up.

C. and Paola kept drinking, as their tolerance levels are pretty much the same as everyone else around here, and even poured more drinks once we were in the truck and on the way back home.  As I watched them make two more, I wished I had taken another cup.  It was really yummy.  :) 

Anyway, that's my drunken story for the day.  Maybe I'll have another one for you all next time...  (I know you're laughing, because most of you know that I don't drink!  Bad influence, this place!) 

Take care all.  Talk to you all soon. 


Ulu  :)

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Date:    Nov 8, 2000        Halloween

Aloha käkou,

I'm not really sure when I wrote my last letter, but I'm sure it was sometime before Halloween. So I'm going to start right there.  :) 

Halloween has always made me feel just a little bit "witchy," like I could cast a spell that night and it would come true.  And if it's a clear night, I feel even more powerful.  October 31st here on the island was a perfect "All Hallow's Eve."  The sky was clear, all the stars were visible, and there was a waxing crescent moon.  It really made me want to sit outside and light a candle or something...but I didn't.  I thought that I might freak C. out just a little bit too much with that one...  :) 

I had almost forgotten that it was Halloween until, just before I left work at the hotel, I saw all the "hotel children" - Ariana, N.'s 2 daughters, and Eduaurdo's daughter - having their own Halloween ritual.  Ariana is very creative, and is the oldest of the bunch.  As the leader, she had ripped apart a bunch of black trash bags and hung them up on a string to decorate the little lanai outside the hotel's kitchen, and they all put trash bags around their heads like kerchiefs...except for the baby of the bunch.  One of N.'s daughters is the youngest; she must be about 3 or so.  I guess her head was too small to wear it like a kerchief, so instead the trash bag was around her head like a haku lei, with its edges reaching so far out that it almost looked like she had wings! 

When Kh. and I walked out of the kitchen, they were all dancing around in a party line, holding on to the waist of the person in front of them, chanting out "Halloween, halloween..." It was so adorably cute!!!  Kh. and I stood there laughing for a good five minutes...I tell you, Ariana is so creative.  It was all her idea.  And it gave me something to laugh about all the way home. 

As I walked to the shop after leaving the hotel, I saw a group walking around with 2 trick-or-treaters in it.  I didn't think they did that here, so I thought it was strange.  But apparently, just as everything else begins late here, so did the trick-or-treating.  I left work at about 9:30.  By 10:30 there were noticeably more trick-or-treaters out. 

I'm not really sure what any of them got, though, since most people don't keep a lot of candy around.  And, they were soliciting the stores, not the houses. 

Anyway, I just had to share that one with all of you, because it was such a sight!  One of those rare moments no matter where in the world you are...  I hope you guys can imagine it and laugh with me. :)

Well, take care all, and I hope to hear from all of you soon. 


Ulu  :) 

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Date:    Nov 10, 2000         Domestic Adventures

I just had to share this one!!!!!  

The other day C. and I were eating breakfast.  It was the day that we went fishing, so we made sure to eat a big breakfast since we would be out all day.  So C. made eggs. 

He had just taken a bite of his bread with eggs on it when a chicken outside started to cluck.  All of a sudden his back got really straight and his eyes opened wide...then he looked at me mischievously and simply said, "Eggs." 

Then he jumped out of his chair and bolted out the kitchen door, stopping just outside of it.  There he stood for a few seconds - his feet just a little more than shoulder width apart, with the knees slightly bent, his back hunched over a little and his arms hanging to his sides but tense...and his head quickly turning from side to side to figure out which way the clucking was coming from.  It was the stance of a hunter about to catch his prey...a true display of his native side. 

It was so shocking and so hilarious that I just had to follow him to see what happened next! 

He went around to the front of the house and started rifling around in the bushes.  When he came out, he proudly held up one freshly laid egg and said, "We will have eggs for a long time now..." 

It was one of those rare moments that makes me so glad I came here! 

C. said that in his youth he was a pretty good egg hunter...whenever his mother wanted eggs, he could always find one somewhere in the yard.  He also said that if you always leave one in the nest, the chicken will come back and keep laying more.  Since that day he's found two more eggs. :) 

I hope you can imagine what that must have looked like!  After it happened I promptly told him "This is definitely going in my next e-mail!"  He just laughed at me. 

Mälama pono käkou!  Talk to you all soon! 


Ulu  :)  

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DATE:    Nov 10, 2000        Fishing with Uluwehi

Hello again! It's time for more fishing tales from Rapa Nui!I just had to share... 

Wednesday is my only day off, so we always try to do something that day.  Today was beautiful, so we went fishing.  When we first got to the shore, C. was a little disappointed because the water was very calm.  He said that was no good for fishing.  Not surprisingly, we didn't catch anything at that first spot.  We only stayed there for a half hour or so. 

Then we went to another spot.  C. tried for a while, but didn't catch anything.  While we were there, I practiced my throwing technique.  (For those of you who didn't get the previous e-mails, they use a hand line to fish here, and to throw the line out you have to swing the hook end around like a cowboy then release...I have never seemed to get the hang of it.)  Since it was so calm and we were on a relatively flat rock, I practiced my throw.  I had one good one out of about 7 tries. 

After we being there for about a half hour, C. decided that this spot was better for swimming than fishing, so he took off his shorts and, wearing only his undies, dove right in.  I have to admit, today was such a nice, hot day that if I had worn my suit, I would have joined him. (They're very open people ceremonial dress they're practically naked!  I'm not quite ready to join those I still need to have a swim suit on to do that.) 

C.'s friend, Flaco, was with us, but I'm pretty sure that C. probably would have done the same even if he didn't have undies on under his shorts. 

So then we went to the next spot, which most coincidentally happened to be the exact same spot where we went fishing last time - the place where I caught my very first fish. 

Just like the first time, the first thing I caught was a rock…it was on my very first throw too.  C. had to break the line and put on another hook.  Darn.  I hate losing hooks. 

And again, just like the first time, the second thing I caught was a sea urchin.  It was on the very second throw, after just replacing my hook.  The urchin happened to also be on the same rock that just ate my hook...  But with an urchin, if you pull hard enough, he'll let you go.  So I managed to save my hook.  :) 

I had a floater again this time.  It was made out of an old slipper we found as we walked today...  It was blue, though, so it was really difficult to see where it was sometimes.  C. prefers that I have a floater because, he says, it will prevent me from losing more hooks.  Okay.  I won't argue with that... 

Anyway, I was a little upset about the rock and the urchin, but I recognized the pattern as being the same as the last fishing trip - first a rock, then an urchin, then a fish.  So in my mind I figured I had to go through this or something, so the next thing I catch would be a fish. worked!  About 2 throws later I got him!  Yeah!

So now I'm thinking, "Maybe the first time wasn't just dumb luck after all..."  But then I told myself not to get cocky...

I didn't catch anything after that. 

We didn't fish for very long today, maybe only 4 hours or so.  That's short compared to the last time.  C. and Flaco didn't have as much success either.  C. only caught 3 this time, and Flaco caught only one.  But, Flaco caught the first one of the that's what made us stay in that spot.  And as for my first fish, I caught him before C. caught his first...  :)  Okay, maybe I'm bragging just a little bit. 

Anyway, both C. and Flaco had decided to give up, so they went to clean the fish that had been caught.  I decided to keep fishing just because there was nothing else to do.  I didn't really think I'd catch anything...  Imagine my surprise.  :) 

They were over a hundred yards away cleaning the fish, so when I realized that this guy was really on my line, I started yelling to them for help.  You see, one of my problems is that I don't roll the line back onto the roll tight enough, so often times it comes off of the roll and wraps around my arm.  With a fish on the line, that can be very dangerous because it can squeeze my wrist and you know what that can cause...and as I was trying to roll the line in with the fish on it, the line started to wrap around my wrist.  That's why I was yelling to them. 

But then I remembered what C. had told me...he said that if that ever happened, let go of the roll and just pull the line in with my hands.  We can always wrap the line back onto the roll later.  So I dropped the roll and pulled with my hands.  It worked.  I got him.  :)

I held the line up to show C., who was watching but made no attempt to come and help, no matter how much I yelled while all this was happening. 

Okay...I have to admit here that yes, I am a typical girl at times.  I will not touch the fish.  Yah, yah, I know..."you shouldn't fish if you can't do it yourself," blah, blah, blah.  Too bad.  Luckily C. doesn't seem to mind that particular girl quality about me, because he's never commented on it or gave me any strange looks.  But, like I said, he didn't come to help, so now I had to figure out how to get the fish off the hook.  And I really didn't want to touch it. 

But someone was on my side today, because the fish flipped and flopped and got himself off the hook!  Yeah! 

But then he kept flip-flopping, and I then remembered that to prevent them from flipping around too much, C. always bites their heads, just above the eye.  Well, I wasn't about to do that!  So...I stepped on it at first, but then decided that I didn't want to stay like that until C. came back, because who knew how long that would be?  So, again I was lucky, because it flipped itself into a little corner-like area in the rocks and before it could flip again, I put the cooler on it.  It's one of those cloth expandable coolers that you get at Costco...I brought it with me and we now use it on all our fishing trips.  (When C. first saw it he said "This for me?"  Well, after all the fishing trips, it is now!  I can get another one...)

So I caught 2 fish today.  I'm pretty happy about it, because I seem to improve on every trip, so that's a good sign.  And, even though I still fully expect it, I haven't caught any bad fish or fish that are too small.  I keep catching good ones.  So that's a plus.  And now C. says he's not going to take me fishing any more. 

The first time we ever went fishing was when we came last year, and I must have lost 3 or 4 of C.'s hooks.  That was the first time we met, so I didn't know him very well, and I felt really guilty at the time.  The only thing I caught on that trip was rock.

Then on my first fishing trip since I arrived here this time, I caught one fish.  Today, it was two.  So I feel a bit more confident now.  :)  I'm not totally helpless after all...  Who would have guessed? 

Thinking back, this really isn't the first time I've ever caught a fish.  My father lives in Maryland , and he likes to fish also.  I went to visit him once, and over there they have lakes that they stock.  He took me fishing a few times, and I remember catching a pretty big bass...I wouldn't touch the fish back then either.  I had to step on it and wait until my father could come and take it off the hook.  And I kept yelling and was all nervous because I could feel the fish trying to flip under my foot.  It was pretty funny... 

Of course back then, I wouldn't bait the hook either, because we used earthworms and I couldn't do that to the worm.  I think it's because it's still alive when you put it on the hook...I have no problem baiting my own hook over here, because we use raw chicken.  It's already dead.  Yes...I am such a girl!  And proud of it!  :p  (stick-tounge face)

Now that I think about it, that night my dad fried the fish whole, with the head still on it.  I refused to eat it because it still had the eyes and I couldn't stand that.  (So girlie...)  I got over that one though...I have no problem eating the fish like that now, although I don't eat the head.

And in case any of you were wondering, I don't clean the fish either.  C. always takes on that duty no matter who we're fishing with because he likes to eat the he always makes sure to be the first to take the fish to clean it.  He says it's really good with lemon... (He even brings a lemon with us whenever we go...) 

Anyway, I know this is a really long story, so I'll stop right here.  It was a nice day, and we're all sunburned and full of fish...

Well, take care all!  And I hope to hear back from you soon!!!



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Date:    Nov 11, 2000        Flaco

Aloha hou!   How is everyone? 

Today's story is about one of C.'s best friends, Flaco.  His real name is G.  Everyone calls him "Flaco" because it means "skinny", and he is skinny.  But C. calls him "Takuana."  I asked him why, and he doesn't remember exactly, but thinks it has something to do with Flaco's grandfather.  Anyway, whenever Flaco shows up, C. sings this little song...  "Taku, taku, taku-taku-ana..."  So even if I can't see him, I know he's arrived. 

He's one of only 5 painters on the island; the others being C., his other friend Pajaro (whose real name is also Cristian), and 2 others whom I haven't met.  Flaco just arrived back on the island last week from Santiago .  He's one of C.'s best-est friends, and they love to paint together.  Flaco has been over at our house pretty much every day since he arrived.  They paint together every day and sometimes even well into the early morning hours.  Sometimes Flaco's family has to tell him to come home early just because they haven't gotten to see him that much since he got back. 

Flaco is very talented.  He designed a poster for the upcoming Tapati, but didn't submit it in time. It's too bad too, because his poster design was light years better than the one they chose. And, as much as I love C., I have to admit that I like Flaco's work better.  I had a vision the other day of him having his own exhibit in the not too distant future, and the woman of his dreams would see his work at this exhibit and instantly fall in love with him.  Don't ask me why...

I think that Flaco is at the point where he is ready to be discovered.  C. still has more to learn.  You can see the difference in their work.  Everyone, of course, always has more to learn, but I think that Flaco is at that point of being a real "artist," whereas C. still needs something more.  (C. will admit that too.) 

C. and Flaco want to create comics together, with story lines based on Rapa Nui legends.  I told them that they should think of doing it as an educational project, because that way they could get a grant and it would have a better chance of being published.  They've done a lot of research into commercial comics, and apparently it's very difficult to sell your have to be a very good artist, and the story line has to appeal to enough of an audience for a publisher to consider you.  Honestly, I'm not sure how many commercial comic publishers would be first.  So the educational focus would be a good place to begin, then later someone in the comic area might see it and find it interesting. 

Unfortunately for both Flaco and C., Flaco's family is now using me as an excuse...they told Flaco to come home early last night because he shouldn't be staying late since I live here now.  That upset both C. and me, because I don't want anyone using me as an excuse, especially since they don't know me. 

Having C.'s friends over and stay up all night drinking and playing chess is one thing...I wish their mothers would tell them to go home early!  But having a friend over to paint all night is completely different...  That's a creative process that produces something beautiful.  They are exercising their god-given talents, and I would never stand in the way of that.  And I support it 100%. 

Flaco even asked me the other night if the sound of the brush on the canvas bothered me...  I thought that was so funny!  The conversations are so much louder than the brush...  :) 

Anyway, it still amazes me at how much talent there is here on the island.  These people can really be amazing at times.  I hope they "make it big" because they truly have enough talent for it. 

Well, that's all for now.  Take care all!  I'll talk to you all soon!!!


Ulu  :)

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Date:    Nov 28, 2000        the food

Hola todos!  I hope all of you are doing well...still recovering from all the Thanksgiving food...  Please remember how fortunate you are, because I didn't get ANY this year...

And, in light of the past holiday and of the season to come, I have decided to dedicate this particular message to the most important aspect of the holiday season - THE FOOD!!!

For those of you who have been here, you may remember that we ate pretty darn well while we were here.  I quickly figured out that was because when we were here the first time, we ate at restaurants every day.  And when we didn't, we had people like Kealoha and Terry to cook for us.  So overall the food was one of the high points of that trip.

Not this one. 

There are some good dishes, of course, but overall I would have to say that being here has made me miss all the good Hawai‘i food even more.  Nevertheless, I will be taking home with me the best of what this island has to offer. 

First let's start with the meats.  Over here they call beef "meat."  Carne is the word which, literally translated, means "meat", but they use it to mean beef.  If they speak English, they will also say "meat" when they are talking about beef.  That one took a while to figure out, which is why I'm mentioning it. 

The beef here is not good.  It's really tough, and it would seem that no one bothers to do anything to tenderize it before cooking.  I haven't even seen any of those hammers with all the spikes on it...  The only place where I've eaten good beef here is at the Hotel, when Kh. has to cook dinner for the guests.  Their beef is good because the hotel spends a little bit extra to buy Argentinean beef, which apparently is light years better.  The local beef is homegrown, and cheap. 

That also means that there's a lot of it.  I'm not a big beef eater, and I've had to ask C. several times if we could eat something else.  Or, I'll only take a small piece and eat more salad or something.  One day C. said there was beef with vegetables (and he stressed the word "vegetables" because I had been saying so much lately that I didn't want any more beef...) but when I got there I found out that it was only one kind of vegetable - manioka, which is kind of like a potato but not as good.  So woe is me.  I've been eating way too much beef lately and my desire to eat soups and vegetables grows stronger every second. 

There is chicken here, and of course fish, but you can only eat fish cooked the same way so many times.  Every time we catch fish, they cook it exactly the same way.  There's never any variation. I asked C. why, and he said because that's how it tastes the best.  It kind of makes me wonder if they've ever even tried any other way...  But I can only eat it the same way so many times, so the thought of fish now does NOT make my mouth water anymore... 

For those of you who may be wondering, they simply cook it.  No butter, garlic, nothing.  Just heat.  And then you put salt while you eat it.  It's amazingly boring. 

As for the chicken, at least they're a little more creative with that.  But, unfortunately for me, the family seems to have an abundance of beef and fish right now, so there are no chicken meals scheduled in my immediate future.  :( 

And now on to the vegetables!  The most important of all here on the island is the tomato. Sometimes a salad is simply sliced tomatoes with a little oil and salt.  And they put it in everything.  Consequently, I've gotten really tired of tomatoes also. 

The recipes here don't vary much.  I miss the experimentation. 

There are carrots here, but they don't use them much.  And the carrots are very small, like they're growth is stunted or something.  The carrots here are about a 1/3 of the length of our carrots.  Midget carrots.  It looks really strange. 

There are green bell peppers too, but they don't use them very much either.  It’s too bad, because I love those. 

But they do have massive zucchinis!  I love must be my favorite vegetable.  And the zucchinis here are HUGE!  They can have a diameter the size of a large orange, or maybe even a large grapefruit.  That's one thing I wish we had in Hawai‘i! 

I love zucchini so much…I often fry it up with a little butter and garlic and eat it just like that over plain rice.  Hmmm....  Eggplant is considered the "vegetarian steak" but with the size of the zucchinis here, it could be considered that as well.A lot of the time they cut up the zucchini and put it in other things, like soups or something.  I don't like that, because it robs the zucchini of all it's inherent taste, and therefore is a waste of good zucchini. 

Fruit...pretty much all of the fruit here is super sized.  You should see the size of the papaya!  Even the oranges are practically twice the size of ours.  The only fruit I've seen here that's smaller than usual are the lemons.  I think it's because they use so much of them that they just go ahead and pick them smaller.  They use lemons more than any other fruit here.  I don't know what they would do if they didn't have any more lemons. 

And, of course, there is an abundance of bananas. 

And as a final note, here are some little facts in case any of you were wondering... 

Yes, they raise and slaughter the cows themselves here.  There is a butcher shop where you can buy it, and they even sell whole sides at a time, and you take it home and cut it up yourself.  I can't watch...  One time C.'s mom brought home a whole side of beef, laid a plastic on the floor and put the side on it and started to carve it herself… 

The first question in my mind was where she got the plastic from, because it obviously wasn't new.  The second thought was that the entire side of beef clearly was not all on the plastic, so some of it was touching the floor.  (God, I hope I don’t get that piece!)  My third realization was that we would be eating a lot of beef from now on.  Ugh.

One day we went to a funeral lunch.  After the burial everyone goes to the family's house and eats.  They make an umu (imu in Hawai‘i).  We were next to the umu when they were bringing all the food out, and I realized that they had cooked an entire cow...head and all.  It was rather frightening. 

There are chickens running around all over the place.  We buy our chicken from the store, but yes, on occasion they do eat the wild chicken here.  C. says it tastes a lot better than the store chicken, but it's tougher - especially the bones.  The people here crack open the bones and eat EVERYTHING.  They can't do that with the bones of the wild chickens...they're too solid.  (C. has a very funny story of a wing he was eating once…  I’ll save that for another time.) 

All the super sized fruit is locally grown.  I don't know what the secret is.  I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the abundance of manure they have here… 

I guess that's about it.  You can be sure that I'll be thinking about all of you eating your plate lunches, holiday dinners, and the outrageous variety of possible foods that faces you every day.  Please think of me...  :( 

Take care all! 


Ulu  :) 

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Date:    Dec 3, 2000        Teleton

Hola!  I have a short story today.  I've been going out a lot in the past 2 weeks, so I have more fishing stories, but I'll save those for later.  :)

Today's story is about Teleton.  Teleton is a big organization here in Chile that sponsors a 48 hour telethon every 2 years.  This year it was held on Dec. 1 & 2.  They earned the equivalent of about 13 million dollars. 

Teleton is an organization that helps children with all kinds of problems - medical, abuse, children of drug abuse, and children with pretty much any kind of ailment such as downs syndrome.  They have no other specific focus other than "children." Many Chilean companies partner up with Teleton and if you buy their products, they donate a portion of every sale to Teleton.  They earn the bulk of their money that way, of course. 

The host of Teleton is a guy who everyone calls "Don Francisco," whose real name is Mario.  He appears on all the commercials for all the products of all the companies that partner up with Teleton.  So in the last few months he's been on almost every commercial they show. 

The reason I'm writing about this is because Chile , as a country, has a couple of things that they can really be proud of.  C. tells me that Chile always helps out its fellow countrymen...whenever there is a disaster, everyone donates money from all over the country to help.  And everyone supports Teleton.  Everyone.  People even look forward to the Teleton telethon, and every region sponsors an event in their local area in conjunction with the telethon being aired on TV. 

I remember when I first got here, there was a house building project going on for homeless people.  Everyone got involved.  Every single day on various TV shows they would show which famous stars came out that day to help build houses.  Whenever there is a project like that going on to help people, ALL the TV shows air the information.  There is so much talk about it that there is no way that you can be ignorant of it. 

C. asks me if the US has something like Teleton.  Sometimes I think about it, and I have to admit that the US does not support its projects nearly as much as Chile does.  I think that the US has the excuse that the country is much bigger, and it's much easier for Chile to act as a whole because it's smaller than the US and because they only have the one Chilean based TV station, so it's easier to get the word out. 

But then again, the US has way more money than any other country.  So do we really have any excuses? 

If there's one thing I've learned while being here is that all Americans have money, no matter how much they say "I don't have money."  Everyone still has enough money to go to the grocery store or on occasion go see a movie or something.  But in other countries, when they say "I don't have any money," they really mean it.  If they didn't grow their own food, they couldn't eat. 

I think that the Chileans have developed some kind of pride because of that unity.  In the Olympics, everyone was interested in what was happening, even here.  It was part of the daily conversation, even for the people that don't have TV's.  Of course, the most focus was on the soccer team, because they are Chile's brightest star... 

Anyway, this Teleton thing was very impressive.  It was a true show of unity, and it kind of blew me away...  So I just thought I'd share it with all of you.  Can you believe they earned 13 million dollars....?  Sheeez... 

That's it for now.  Take care everyone.  I'll talk to you all again soon! 


Ulu  :)

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Date:    Dec 3, 2000         more fishing tales


I know, I know...too many fishing tales lately...  Sorry, but if all you do in your free time is go fishing, then your material becomes rather limited... last e-mail (some of you will remember mention of a tweedle dum and tweedle dummest) took place on a last day off.  This story begins from there. 

Because that day was so completely unsatisfying for me, I had felt restless every day since.  So finally, on the Monday following, we did something. 

It was a beautiful day, and C. had just gotten home from his overnight flight.  But because it was such a beautiful day, I asked if we could go out and do something, just for a couple of hours. 

He mentioned it to his Mom, and she said "Vamos" (let's go).  Then, as we were preparing, A. stopped by for a visit.  So now our party grew by one.  Then we figured "why not..." so A. called Flaco.  Now our entire fishing party was complete - C.'s Mom, her husband Hector, C., me, A. and Flaco. 

We went to our old spot, the one where I caught my only 3 fishes so far.  It was really rough that day, but C. says that makes for better fishing.  Usually at this spot, the rocks are high enough that we don't have to worry about getting splashed, but it was so rough that we had to watch each and every wave, and most of us got drenched more than once...  :)  Hector got it the worst, because he was standing right at the point, and he didn't bother to move when a wave came. 

C. was right about the fishing being better though.  He caught the first one, and the bugger was HUGE!  It's by far the biggest pisi I've seen yet.  It was probably as big as the nanue that Flaco caught the last time...a little longer than a foot in length.  It was the largest fish caught that day. 

Unfortunately, C. only caught 2 the whole day.  Hector was the bread-winner, bringing in a grand total of 10, but it's only because he has a pole.  He was the only one of all of us that was able to get the hook out far enough past the whitewash.  The rest of us all had hand lines. 

A., Flaco and I, it seemed, were there more for the atmosphere...

But overall we had a good time.  Getting splashed, marveling at the large fish, laughing at A. and was a lot of fun.  :D

By the way, thanks to A. and all of her fishing experience in Hawai‘i with her amazingly talented fisherman boyfriend Ti., I found out that the name of this fish in Hawai‘i is Inanue. 

This was the first time that we've gotten to go out with A. since she's gotten back.  She's a lot of fun, but a bit careless.  That's mostly what makes her fun, but also what makes her a bit dangerous when fishing.  We all got bopped with her hook at least once.  Luckily it had bait on it, so no one got hurt.  But that day it seemed that she could not throw the line out at all!  She looked like me when I first tried it...  it was amazingly funny!!! 

But, she does know how to throw a hook out.  I guess she just had some kind of temporary skill lapse that day...because the next time we went fishing, which was 2 days later on Wednesday, she could throw her line out almost as far as C.! 

On this particular Wednesday, the skill lapse had been transferred to me.  For some reason, I just could not throw the hook out.  Even though I had looked like an old pro just two days earlier... 

On Wednesday we went fishing earlier than usual, with A. and her mom.  We called Flaco, but he had other plans for the day.  So it was just A., her mom, C. and me.  We ended up going to about 4 different spots on the South shore. 

The first spot we went to was really nice.  And, although we didn't catch anything, A. and I sat there throwing our hooks out and talking story for an hour or so, while C. and A.'s mom went to another spot to try and catch something. 

Finally the two fishermen signaled that they were going to the other side of the bay, so A. and I were left to carry all the gear over. 

It was nice there too, but it was really rough and we all got splashed a number of times.  A. and I eventually gave up, but C. and A.'s mom stayed for a long time.  The grand total for that spot was 6, all caught by C..  He was the lucky one for the day. 

While they were fishing, A. and I walked inside of the bay, along some rocks.  The water there was deep enough where we could have gone swimming, but we didn't.  A. tried to convince me, but the sun was not constant and I won't go in the water unless I'm really hot...the water is still too cold for me.  Even though I had already been completely splashed about 5 times while fishing... 

It was a beautiful little spot where we sat, and there were a lot of fish in the water.  Eventually we got up because we wanted to get our hooks and try to catch something, but the fishermen then decided to leave, so we had to follow. 

We then went to spot number 3, where C. caught 4 more, and A. and her mom each caught 1. 

I caught a guppy, which A. most kindly threw back for me.  In response I "threw in the towel".

Then we moved on to the last spot.  It was high on a rock which jutted out into the ocean.  The waves were so rough here that although this rock was very tall, the waves were taller and we kept getting splashed.  I caught one wave full on my back. 

We were on our last piece of bread here when I caught another guppy.  However, this one was, as A. said, "big enough."  So we kept it, and C. cut it up and used it for bait.  A. then cut up the rest of it, squeezed some lemon over and ate it. 

On C.'s first throw with the new bait, he caught a guppy.  It was a little bit smaller than mine. 

Unfortunately that was the total catch for that spot.  So we traveled to safe ground and C. and A. cleaned all the fish - 12 in all. 

I watched as they cleaned and feasted on the innards...especially the livers, because just like everything else around here, "it's really good with lemon..." 

Well, that's all for me!  Unfortunately the only thing I walked away with that day was a bad sunburn.  But A. and I had talked most of the day and we had a lot of fun.  So I'm satisfied.  :) 

Take care all!  I hope to hear from all of you soon!  ~Ulu 

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Date:    Dec 5, 2000        music makes the world go 'round

Hi.  :)  It would seems that my adventure stories have subsided for a while...I don't know...I guess I was getting tired of writing about fishing.  Granted, every experience is different, but all the words to describe it are the same.  :( 

So I'm moving on to some of the other aspects of life in Rapa Nui .  One important thing to everyone is music, right?  After all, what would life be like without music? 

The people here in Rapa Nui love to dance.  I mean that literally.  Even grandparents go to the clubs on the weekends.  And boy do they dance! The music at any party can make it or break it.  A bad party is one where everyone keeps changing the music.  A good party is when everyone is happy with whatever is playing.  And the people here are not shy...if they don't like the music, they will change it, and they don't care what any one else says. 

On that note, they're not shy when it comes to dancing either.  Just for your information, the stereotype that all Polynesians and all Latinos are good dancers is not completely true...but they do it anyway!!!!  No one here cares what they look like - all they want to do is have fun! 

They listen to all kinds of music here - Polynesian (Rapa Nui, Tahitian, Hawaiian), Rock, Hard Rock, Pop, Country, Reggae, Latin, even Disco.  In fact, some of their most favorite dance songs around here are over 15 years old now.  They have a very strange variety of music that they enjoy.  One day I heard French Rap music.  That was a trip.  I'm sorry, but I don't think French and Rap go together...  Spanish Rap is okay, but the French just did not sound right.  Try to imagine it and tell me what you think...  ;)

For those of you up to date on dance music, Christina Aguillera is just as popular here, because she sings in Spanish.  But they also love Brittney Spears.  N‘Sync was also just as popular (when their last song was released).  Ricky Martin is popular in Chile, but not too many people like him here.  Hmmm...I wonder why...? 

There's a song right now that's popular by Christina Aguillera - it's the Spanish version of her song "Come with Me" and is called "Ven Conmigo", which literally means "come with me"....funny how that works, huh?  Anyway, I've heard the English version a couple of times before I left HI, but I've heard the Spanish version so many more times that I think I probably prefer it now.  I think it matches the music better...  :) 

They listen to a lot of English music here too...Whoever's popular in the US is pretty much popular here too.  The one bad thing about that, however, is that they don't always know what the song is saying...

This past weekend we were watching TV.  On Sat and Sun mornings there is a show for kids, and on this show they play music videos of songs that are popular.  One song was called "Last Resort" and it was all about suicide!  It was absolutely awful, but these kids on the TV loved it and were dancing to it, because they didn't know what the singer was saying... 

On a side note, they never finish the videos here either.  It's kind of irritating...they play the first minute or so, then they fade out and go back to the hosts of the show, who then introduce the next video.  It's not just with that show seems to be some kind of normal thing around here to never finish the entire video.  They don't even play the credits when they show a movie on TV.It makes me wonder why Chilean artists bother to make entire videos if no one in Chile plays the whole thing.  There are so many videos that I've never seen the ends of....and yet I've seen the beginning about 20 times.

But, the thing that makes me wonder the most when it comes to music is this:  If there is so much new music around here, then why do the clubs always play the same songs every weekend? 

It's a mystery... 

Anyway, I think the music I love the best is anything that C. sings.  He sings a lot, just for fun.  Whatever the song is, he'll change the words and make it funny.  Almost any song can be adapted to have "Guaguis" in it (which is what he calls me, and is pronounced like "wahwee" - it's a Chilean slang).  Cute, huh?  :o)

That's it for me!  Gotta go dance now...  ~Ulu

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Date:    Dec 11, 2000        another fishing adventure

I have an old one to tell...but I just never took the time to write it.  It was during my writer's block period... 

It happened over a month ago now, but it is a day worth telling about.  It was one of my days off, and C., Flaco and I set out to go fishing (as usual), but this time towards Vinapu instead of the northwest shore.  It was a very, very long walk. 

We ended up at the shore after over an hour of walking.  It was about 3:00 now, at the height of the sun hours.  We went towards the ocean at the site of the gasoline storage plant.  There is a cliff behind the plant where there is a nice little bay at the bottom.  We climbed down there, and walked the length of the bay, navigating over rocky shoreline. 

That took us to another little bay, but the shoreline here was made up entirely of ocean-tumbled stones, ‘ili‘ili stones for those of you who know what that is.  They were all small, the ranging in size from that of a melon to that of a pea.  Each and every one of these rocks were colored and swirled in a different way - some striped like a tiger, some swirled like yogurt when you take that first spin with the fruit coming up from the bottom, and all in different combinations of yellows, blues, greens, purples and reds.  It was absolutely beautiful! If our trip had ended with a picnic there, I would have been in bliss.  I sat on this stone beach for a bit while C. and Flaco climbed up to a rock ledge where they discovered powder that, mixed with a little bit of water, is used by the Rapa Nui people as paint for their ceremonial dress.  They painted designs on their faces and arms, then came back down and branded me with three diagonal lines on my left arm.  I asked "does this mean that I'm official now?" 

We continued on in search of the perfect fishing spot.  We walked for what seemed like 2 more hours, over thousands of large and small rocks, all along the coastline.  We finally stopped at one place where C. and Flaco proceeded to collect a fortunes worth of sea creatures a little bit like slugs, but that stick to the rocks like ‘opihi.  When they were satisfied, we continued on. 

We passed over a rock bridge, and my only thought was of how spectacular this bridge must look from a seemed massive while we were on it, as did the water passage under it. 

About 10 minutes later we finally arrived at our fishing spot.  Unfortunately the sun had decided at that point that it would no longer favor us, and the clouds rolled in.  We started fishing, but about 10 minutes into that the wind direction changed, blowing directly into our faces.  We had to change the direction of our fishing. 

As we were moving to a better spot it started to rain.  I put on my raincoat and took shelter behind a very big, very friendly rock cliff.  It had a little shelf in it also, just big enough for me to sit on comfortably.  The rock was also still very warm from the earlier sunshine.  It made for a very nice place to wait out the rain.  The men kept fishing, of course. 

Once the rain stopped and the wind died down a bit, I re-joined them, but I didn't seem to have any luck that day.  The sun never came back out, and in the end, all I caught was one tiny fish, by accident.  I had wanted to give up, and as I was pulling my line out of the water, this little fish grabbed on to it.  It wasn't big enough to do anything with. 

C. only caught one or two good fish for the day, but the big winner was Flaco.  It seemed that all of our luck rubbed off onto him.  He first caught a big blue and pink fish (I don't know the name) that are supposed to be very difficult to catch.  He then caught a huge nanue.  As he pulled it up we realized that the hook wasn't even in its mouth, it was in its eye. It's an absolute miracle that the eye film didn't break and the fish didn't fall back into the water before he got it all the way up.  He then caught a couple more of the common fish that we always catch.  And, apparently, he almost caught a Nanue Para, which is practically impossible to catch.  C. always includes that fact in the story, so I figure it must be important.   

By the time they decided they were done, it must have been about 8:30 p.m.   The sun sets here at 9 p.m. , so we didn't have much time.  And, it had taken us over 2 hours to get out we had to rush back. 

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't afraid of the thought of getting stuck there.  That big shelf rock felt like it would provide us with ample shelter, and I had come prepared.  I had my raincoat and a pair of sweats.  We had beverages and C. had a lighter, and we did have all those fish to eat... 

But C. and Flaco were not prepared.  All they had were their t-shirts, so we couldn't stay.  Instead we rushed back over the rock.  Like most people on a mission, there wasn't much conversation on the way back, just concentration on where to step next.  We made it back to the road in about 30 minutes. 

It brought us up to the back side of Ahu Vinapu.  From there we followed the road back to town.  It was dark and cool, and the perfect weather for such a long walk.  But halfway back to town we got picked ended that trip. 

My favorite part was that pebble beach.  I hope to go back there again before I leave.  I'd also like to go back to that point where we fished.  It was like a small peninsula, and there was a pool in the center of it that was big enough to swim in.  There were even fish living in it that were big enough to catch.  This pool was constantly refreshed with ocean water, as the tide was at times high enough to crash waves into it.  There are so many beautiful pools like this along the shore, I love to explore as much as I can.   

So that's the end of this story.  I'm including a picture of Ahu Vinapu...well, it's a part of that ahu.  Ahu Vinapu is special because the rocks for the platform are cut so precisely, much like the temple at Manchupichu in Peru , that archeologists speculate that there may be some connection.  In any case, it's a feat of ancient construction that makes you really think...  I took this picture because of the rock in the middle.  It looks like the button for a secret compartment or something.  Its amazing how one little rock can draw you in to its ancient mystery... 

Bye all!  Talk to you later!    ~ Ulu

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Date:    Dec 11, 2000         Vinapu

Hi.  I just wanted to send these pictures...I had spoken so much about Vinapu in my last 2 e-mails that I figured I should send a little more info. 

All of the pictures that I'm sending are from my first trip here.  K was nice enough to bring them all the way from Hawai‘i for me.  :D 

Once again, this is Ahu Vinapu.  It is unusual in that the stones used to build the platform for this ahu are cut very precisely and fitted together perfectly, resembling the construction of the temple at Manchupichu in Peru.  Archaeologists think that this represents some kind of connections with Peru. 

You'll see the construction in the first picture.   

The second picture is a view of the Ahu from the front, with all of its fallen moai.  A majority of the moai on the island are fallen...only a few still stand.  Those that are standing had been erected by archaeologists within the last century. 

There is evidence that people lived in the caverns made by the fallen rocks.  This particular Ahu has a doorway leading into a living space. 

That's about it.  I hope all of you are able to view it.  Iorana!   ~ Ulu

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Date:    Dec 11, 2000        Christmas came early this year...

Aloha käkou!  I hope you all are in good spirits...

As for me, things seem to be turning in a positive direction.  Yesterday was an especially good day, which leads me to the subject of my e-mail...because I truly feel like yesterday was Christmas for me! 

It all started on Thursday, when a friend arrived from Hawai‘i.  Because it was her first night in town, we went dancing.  We didn't stay long, but C. and I danced, and that is not something we get to do often.  I had fun. 

The next day, Friday, another friend arrived.  She is a friend of a friend whom I had never met before, but was asked to make sure she had a good time.  Her name is Julie.  She's from Alaska.  As it turned out, she would only be in town for 2 days - arriving on Friday at noon, leaving on Monday at noon.  And, she hadn't scheduled any tours or anything. 

I knew about her arrival in advance, but I didn't know of her plans, so I didn't want to arrange anything until I spoke with her.  After finding out that she didn't have any plans and that she only had one day to really see the island, I scrambled to find a tour guide.  No luck.  But she is a great sport, and she suggested that the two of us just give it a go on our own.  So we did. 

On the day she arrived, we had lunch then I took her up to Orongo.  I couldn't stay because I had to get to work, but we just drove up there so she would know the way, then she brought me to work and went back up alone.  That's not too bad, however, because Orongo is the kind of place where you don't need a tour's the kind of place where you can just wander around and look with awe at everything for hours. 

She had done a lot of reading before coming here, so she was armed with enough information...she basically just needed someone to show her where everything was.  So my limited knowledge turned out to be enough to provide her with a satisfactory tour. 

The next day, Sunday, we started out at about 10 a.m.  I had to be at work by 5 p.m.  So, armed with only a tourist map, a guide book I borrowed from N., and memories of when I was taken on a tour over a year ago, we gave it our best effort. 

Luckily, one of only 2 places that C. has taken me to since I've been here is Vinapu, so I knew the way.  So that was the first place on our tour. 

Many of the places that we went to while we were here the first time as "tourists" came back to my mind, and I did my best to remember where they were and the stories connected to them. 

From Vinapu we went back towards town and stopped at Ana Kai Tangata, which is actually on the way TO Vinapu, but I missed it going, so I made sure to stop on the way back.  Then we passed back thru town and headed to the south coast, where most of the fallen moai are located.  From there we worked our way to Rano Raraku, the moai quarry, then around Poike to the north-eastern shore.  We were running short on time by then, so we only stopped at 4 places along that road - the "trumpet" stone, Te Pito Kura (my favorite place on the island!), Ovahe (one of only 2 beaches), and finally Anakena (the other sand beach where Hōkūle‘a  landed for the welcoming ceremony). 

From there, we drove back towards town, making a quick stop at Ahu Akivi.  There are a lot of really cool caves to see in that area, but unfortunately we were out of time.  In fact, I was a little bit late for work.  Oops.  :) 

From there I gave Julie a brief description of the north-western shore.  There are a lot of moai still standing on that shore, including the only one on the island with eyes painted in it.  The sights are close enough to town that one can walk the shore there.  It's a good 2 to 3 hour walk, but nice.  I told her where to park and what she could expect to see, and wished her luck. 

She told me that she had a great tour, and that I was a good guide.  I told her it was probably just because she didn't have anything to compare it to.  ;)  But really, I do think that she enjoyed the day.  And I did my best to show her as much as possible in one day! 

I thanked her because I've been here for almost 4 months and this was the first time I've been able to see the island.  So the day was just as much a gift for me as it was for her.  And I am very thankful to have had the opportunity. 

As soon as I got to work and Julie left to continue exploring on her own, my other friend K (from Hawai‘i) and her boyfriend Javier pulled up to the hotel's reception office.  I had asked K to bring up a few things for me from Hawai‘i , and she had come to deliver them. 

So after coming back from a wonderful all day tour, I had been given gifts!  I looked through all my new stuff like a kid in a candy store...  I truly felt like it was Christmas morning!  She had also left all of the items in their original shopping bags...I was almost as thrilled to see the Longs and WalMart bags as I was to see the things inside them... 

I had worn shoes all day for the tour, but like anyone from Hawai‘i, shoes are very binding, and my feet were about ready to scream "let me free!"  One of the things in the bags K brought was a new pair of $2 slippers.  Off came the shoes and on went the brand spankin' new slippers!  Ahhh...they felt so good....  Christmas for my feet... 

Then, like many nights, Kh. set aside some food for me from the dinner they served the guests.  But Kh. is such a good cook, and last night's meal was especially good. 

I think I must have done a lot of good deeds in my past lives, because I get treated very well at the hotel.  They always give me the same meal as the guests - soup or salad, but sometimes both, the main dish with all the trimmings, including the little flower to decorate the plate, and desert with a soda or juice.  N. has even joked that I get treated better than him, and that he should stop paying me...but it's true.  Sometimes I even get served.  When I have to stay in the office, they bring the entire meal to me on a tray and everything.  None of the other staff eats as well as I do...  I've never asked for it, but I never take it for granted either, and I am always very thankful for being treated so well.  Before they never even used to let me was the dishes...but now they do.  It's only fair. 

So after a wonderful tour of the island, receiving my "Christmas presents", and an amazing meal, I was granted another gift.  We had about 11 people arriving last night.  First, the flight arrived early, so the people made it to the hotel early.  Second, they were all pleasant and check-in went very quickly and easily, with no problems what-so-ever.  Third, all of the new guests were satisfied.  They didn't need anything additional.  So I was able to leave by10:00...usually when we receive people I leave much later. 

Christmas then continued to work its magic this morning...I was woken by the sound of knocking at the door.  It turned out to be Julie, who by pure coincidence was staying at the hotel right next door to our house.  She came to give me a gift, and ask for my address so that she could mail me a care package.  She's such a great person!  I am so grateful to have met her.

So that's my early Christmas story.  I had a wonderful weekend, the weather here is beautiful, and with K in town the few weeks ahead promise to be a definite break from the "norm". I'm looking forward to it. 

Take care all!  I'll talk to you all again soon!  ~ULU 

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Date:    Dec 14, 2000        I ate grass.

Yesterday I ate grass...among other things, but that was by far the strangest.  It tasted like a sour grape...not too bad actually. 

They have wild grapes here.  Yesterday we were at C.'s friend Paola's house and her son went off into the nearby field where wild grapes grow.  It's not the season yet, but he managed to come back with a vine full of grape seedlings...he didn't know that they wouldn't taste good. Anyway, this brought back memories for C., and he started telling me that as a child they used to eat the grapes and a certain kind of grass.  Then he bent down, found a sample of said grass, and ate it. He then held out a piece for me to I did.  Veeerrry Interesting…

Yesterday was my day off, so we had planned to do something with some friends, Javier and K.  I don't know if I mentioned K yet...she is in the same boat as me.  She came here 2 years ago with a Hawaiian Studies group, and met a local boy.  She just arrived back here about a week ago to visit with Javier, her Rapa Nui man, for a month.  The two of us along with A. - a local girl who fell for one of the Hōkūle‘a  crew members and has lived in Hawai‘i for the past year with him - share a common bond.  And we're all on the island now together.  In a way it's comforting...all three of us know what the others are going through.   

Anyway, C., Javier, K and I all planned to go fishing together.  This would be K's first fishing trip...he, he, he...  However, plans here on Rapa Nui never go exactly as imagined.  That's not a bad thing, because sometimes what happens turns out to be better than what you planned...but if you're a control freak then you wouldn't last a day here.  :) 

We woke up late, as usual.  Then on our way into town, we ran into Javi & K.  They were on their way to go ride horses before the fishing expedition.  They asked if we wanted to come...I said NO.  There's a good reason for that...for those of you who were here on the first trip with me, you know why.  For those of you who don't know the story, maybe I'll include it later... maybe... 

So C. and I went to his mother's shop in town and got all our stuff ready to go fishing. Luckily, Hector, C.'s step father, was going out that way, so he gave us a ride part of the way, which cut our walk in half.  I like walking, but it was raining a little, so I was glad for the ride. 

We walked to our usual fishing spot, called Hiku Te Ika - Tail of the Fish.  I think that C. brings me there all the time because it's a very safe spot to fish off of.  The sea was calm yesterday...just the way I like it.  Supposedly, the fishing is better when the sea is rough, but contrary to the universal laws of fishing, I have always had much better luck when it's calm...not to mention the fact that I have more fun that way.  When it's rough, I end up watching the waves more than I watch my line and have to dodge splashes every 2's exhausting, and I never catch anything in those conditions.  I usually give up after an hour or so when it's rough. 

But yesterday was perfect…absolutely perfect.  We were there for maybe only 30 minutes when I caught my first fish.  Yeah!  However, I whole-heartedly admit that it was a lucky catch...the hook caught on to the side of the fish's body, where the fin is.  I think that any catch where the hook is in some other place than in the fish's mouth is lucky.  After all, how likely is it that he purposely brushed up against your hook so you could catch him, right? 

But never-the-less, I caught him.  Maybe about another 30 minutes passed until I caught my second.  :)  This time, the hook was in his mouth - an honest catch.  About 10 minutes after that, C. finally caught his first. 

Of course, we both broke out like school children with the teasing... "Well I caught TWO and you only have ONE..."; "Mine is HUUUUUGE!...";  "My TWO will be great on the barbecue tonight..."; "Mine is bigger than the both of yours TOGETHER..."It was pretty funny. 

Of course, his was huge.  It actually was almost bigger than the two of mine put together.  (If I could put one of those stick-tounge faces here, I would...) 

Then he caught another, and we were even.  It, too, was pretty big.  Then I caught one - my biggest for the day.  It was about the same size as his second one.  Then he caught a third - again, it was huge.  So now we were even. 

Then Javi & K showed up.  The sun had finally come out, and we hadn't caught anything in a while, so their timing was perfect.  K and I started talking immediately, like most females do, while "the men" stayed together and fished, and talked on and off.  I still had my line in the water while we talked, but of course I didn't catch anything.  I was no longer concentrating on the fishing. 

But, to my surprise, the ocean gave me one more gift.  I caught another one.  Well, C. and Javi put my total at 3 1/2 rather than 4, because the last one was really small...but big enough for the barbecue.  :) 

I asked K if she wanted to try, so she gave it a go.  I felt a little strange teaching her, since I’m still a beginner myself, but in a way it was good because I know exactly the kind of things she's thinking.  When you're first learning, you're always thinking that you're doing it wrong and no matter how many times someone else tells you "that always happens in the beginning..." you never believe it.  I know I didn't believe it when they told me the same.  So, she didn't catch anything, and got bored with it after a while.  (Fishing can be REALLY boring if you don't catch anything...).

In the meantime, C. went on to catch 2 more, and Javi caught 1.  K took a picture of it.  :)  Cute...I did the same thing when I went fishing with C. for the first time. 

Of course, all the fish that "the men" caught were huge.  All of mine were tiny.  Well, only tiny in comparison to theirs...but they were a good size. 

We left probably only 2 hours after Javi & K arrived.  The sun was now out in full force, and both us Hawai‘i girls, who are used to warm Hawai‘i water, were tempted to go swimming.  But we didn't. 

We went to Paola's house, because C. had arranged to have a barbecue that night.  But Paola wasn't there.  So Javi & K left, and said they would tell Paola that we were there.  We waited at her house, and as we waited the clouds rolled in.  We were about to start walking home when the rain started, so instead we found shelter on Paola's back porch.  Paola soon came by with the family truck and took us back to town.  The plan was that we would go home and clean up, then she would pick us up later and we’d all go back to her house for the barbecue. 

That part, most unexpectedly, went exactly as planned.  We arrived back at Paola's house at just about 9:00 , and were just in time to see the sun set.  Paola has a great back porch with an amazing view of Tahai, and the sun was setting just behind the ahu along the shore.  I took pictures. 

A few people came, Paola served out beverages and we helped prepare the salads while C. (the only male there at the time, aside from Paola's 6 year old son) was working on building the fire.  Then a couple more people came.  We barbecued the huge and small fish alike, ate them with 4 different kinds of salads (salad is an important part of any meal here...) and had a great time at Paola's house.  By the way, my small "half size" fish was perfect for Paola's son...Thank you very much. 

We left at about 1:45 a.m.   Taxis don't run after 1 a.m. , so we started walking.  After walking for about 15 minutes, a taxi passed.  We hailed it, and it stopped. 

Now this part could only happen in Rapa Nui ... 

In the front passenger seat was an incredibly happy, incredibly drunk man.  The taxi driver was an older woman, who was incredibly sober.  The man most joyously invited us into the taxi...but when C. opened the back door, a very huge, very furry dog started to step out.  Not one sign, however, of any aggressive behavior. 

The drunk man assured us that the dog was not dangerous, and to come in.  So we did.  The dog sat very politely in the seat next to C., and the only movement it really made throughout the drive was to yawn several times.  I was tempted to pet it, but thought best not to...just in case...  All went well. 

So we were delivered home by a very responsible taxi driver, a happy drunk man and a tired furry dog at 2 o'clock in the morning.  I just had to laugh... 

And of course, eating the grass had made the day just that much more interesting...  :) 

Well, I hope to hear from all of you soon.  Take care!  ~Ulu 

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Date:    Jan 1, 2001        Happy Holidays

(Sorry for this!!!  I originally wrote the following e-mail on Dec. 30, and tried to send it out on both the 30th and 31st, but as fate would have it, I couldn't send it for one reason or another.  So I apologize for sounding like a voice from the past rather than a story from the present...  I hope you can still enjoy it!) 

Happy New Year Everyone!!! 

OK...I had intended to send out a Christmas e-mail to fact, I made a really cool one for the hotel to send out, but I never got around to making one for myself.  I am so sorry! But, I figured, better late than never, right?  So attached is my "Happy Holiday Season" card...just in time for New Year's. 

I hope that all of you had wonderful Christmas days.  And, for those of you who were wondering (and I know a lot of you were because I got quite a few e-mails asking if they celebrated Christmas here or not...) - Yes, they do celebrate Christmas here.  It looks and feels much the same as it does in Hawai‘i , except of course, on a much smaller scale.  There are far less people here, no tall buildings to put lights on, and no shopping malls for people to mob, but the people here make do.

Restaurants, hotels and private homes all put up lights - some of which were pretty impressive.  In fact, C.'s Aunt's house is one of my favorite houses to look at at night!  Most of the little shops (of which there are many) put up decorations of their own also.  There's one house which I call "The Christmas House" because they held a big Christmas decoration party one night when they premiered their outside lights.  Then there is a huge, HUGE tree right across the street from that.  It belongs to the Armada de Chile (navy) and they put lights up the side of the entire tree, with a huge star at the top.  

In the middle of town there is a butcher's shop.  Every morning they sell "Anticuchos", barbecue meat on a stick much like shish kabob (did I spell that right?).  Anticuchos are a traditional Chilean food.  So this butcher's shop has a nice outdoor patio area right in front where they sell the food from every morning.  They also have a very nice wooden fence.  They were one of the first to put up their Christmas decorations - they wrapped real tree trimmings to the top of the fence and decorated it with little red bows.  It was beautiful...I did not, however, take a picture because since it is the middle of summer here, the tree trimmings turned brown within 2 days.  Oh well. 

They, of course, do not sell trees here like they do in Hawai‘i .  Everyone who wants a real tree has to go and cut one themselves...which many people prefer to do.  There are legal trees, which are ugly and oddly shaped, and there are illegal trees which are, of course, beautiful.  Needless to say, most people pay no attention to the law...

Actually, C.'s parents were one of the few people that did mind the law...their tree was so sad!  And then to make up for its odd formation, they over-decorated was so pathetic that it was actually charming.  I took a picture. 

C. went and got a legal tree for us also, but he had very good luck.  He actually found a good one.  He was so proud of himself when he brought it home...he just had to make sure that I knew that this beautiful tree was actually a legal one!Unfortunately, we didn't have many decorations because his mom had used most of them on the misshaped tree, so our tree is not quite as pretty as it could have been with the right decorations.  It looks much better at night when the room lights are out and the tree lights are on. 

Although I really don't know why C. bothered to get us a tree, since all the presents went under the tree at his mom's shop, including the ones for us...not one gift has even seen the likes of our tree...  Sometimes I kind of feel sorry for it. 

I think that the bigger "Christmas celebration" over here happens on Christmas Eve.  Apparently, that night everyone has dinner with their families, and the kids open some, if not all, of their presents.  Then Christmas day everyone goes out and enjoys themselves... not necessarily with their families. 

On Christmas Eve we went to C.'s cousin's house.  His cousin is married to a German man, so he speaks English pretty well.  (Did you guys know that most Germans speak English? They learn it as a basic part of their schooling.)  C. made sure to note that his cousin's husband managed to learn Spanish in only 2 months...  ("See, it is just have to try..."  Yah, yah, yah...) 

Also, C.'s Uncle speaks very slowly when he speaks Rapa Nui , so he told his Uncle to speak with me because I am able to understand the Rapa Nui better if they speak it slowly.  (Side note - Rapa Nui and Hawaiian are actually very similar, and if they speak it slowly, I can understand maybe half or more of what they're saying.  However, it only works with the older people.  The young people speak a mixed form of Spanish, Rapa Nui and slang, which makes it almost impossible to understand.  Admittedly, they don't even understand everything when an older person speaks Rapa Nui .  I've been taking notes on comparisons between Rapa Nui and Hawaiian words which I find very interesting.  I'll mail it out when I compile more info.) 

I really like C.'s cousin.  She just has a really good energy about her.  She doesn't speak much English, but we seem to get along just fine.  She and her husband speak mostly German with each other.  They have 2 beautiful daughters...they're so cute!  I had a good time that night.   

Well, except for the meal.  Earlier that day the family had a special meal for lunch.  It was just C. and I, his parents, and Mo., his brother.  His mother baked a chicken.  It was really good!  And although it wasn't turkey, it really felt like a holiday meal. 

His mother cooked the meal for that night also, but that was...well...different from what I would expect.  She made beef ribs.  Nothing special, no sauce or anything, just cooked the meat, that's all. 

I cannot begin to tell you how unchristmas-like eating meat off of a bone feels....    

C. played chess with his Uncle while the rest of us played some kind of logic solitaire game with a board and pegs, taking turns going around the table.  The German man (N.) and I had the best scores - we ended up with only 3 pegs left, and both on our first tries. 

Oddly enough, the discos were open that night.  I heard that they were packed.  We didn't go. It just would feel so wrong to me...we don't do that kind of thing on Christmas Eve... 

As for our actual Christmas day...well, the morning was really good.  I felt like a kid again!  I love how the universe works... 

C. and I were walking to town to go to his mother's shop.  On the way there, we passed the LanChile Cargo office.  A flight had just arrived, so the office was crowded with people picking up their goodies. 

I should explain here that the LanChile Cargo office is a big warehouse, and the counter window opens up to the street, with a small parking area in it's open to the outside.  As we were walking along the street, the woman working the counter saw us and called out to C., saying that there were packages for him.  Because he's a LanChile employee, we got to go inside to retrieve them... 

There were 3 boxes - 2 large ones and 1 small one - which all turned out to be for me (he, he, he...).  C. was a little disappointed. 

Some of you may remember my previous e-mail titled "Christmas came early".  In it I talked a lot about a new friend, Julie.  She is a friend of the people at PVS, so when she decided to visit here, my friends at PVS e-mailed me and asked me to take her around.  Which I did, and thoroughly enjoyed! 

Julie was only here for 2 days, so we had to do a whirlwind tour of the island in only one day! But we gave it a banner effort!  In the process, Julie and I talked and got to know each other better.  She is a wonderful lady.  She said that she would send me a care package once she got home, and kept asking me what kind of things I wanted.  Well, a lot of people SAY they will send stuff, but imagine my surprise when she actually did! 

And all of the things she sent arrived on Christmas morning. 

Julie had even sent stuff that we talked about in casual conversation, that I never would have actually asked anyone to send.  She has made me wonder, as I have wondered many times in my life, how I got so lucky as to make a friend as wonderful as this person? 

At my first opportunity I ripped open those boxes!  It was the first time in years that I've actually had something to be excited about on Christmas.  I looked at all the goodies with stars in my eyes, just like so many other children around the world... 

Unfortunately, the day went downhill from there.  And it was a very long hill.  C. made a very stupid move, and it took our relationship 3 days to recover from it.  But it's over now, so don't worry.  Things are okay again. 

So now we're moving on to New Years!  Originally, I had planned to hang out with our friend Paola, because C. has to work the flight that night.  (He'll be in the air at midnight in both Rapa Nui time and Hawai‘i time, since his flight goes to Tahiti and Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawai‘i .)  But that plan has fallen through.  Paola had, most unfortunately, gotten into a very bad accident a couple of weeks ago.  She was in the hospital here for 2 days until they had to send her to Santiago for better treatment.  She is currently still there.  We were really worried about her for a while, but she's called a friend recently and it sounds like she's getting better. 

Another side note - Paola was in this accident with a male friend.  They both were hurt very badly, so they had to take the first possible flight to Santiago .  Both of them are employees of Lan Chile , so the airline made them priorities.  Unfortunately, all of the flights to Santiago for the past 2 months have been absolutely full, so 25 people had to be taken off that particular flight to make room for Paola and the other guy, who were on stretchers, and the med staff and equipment.  4 of those 25 volunteered.  21 got bumped - all tourists.  That flight was on a Monday and the next flight to Santiago wasn't until Friday. 

Most coincidentally, it rained continuously from Monday afternoon until Friday afternoon when, miraculously the sun came out at about 2:00 , just after the flight had left.  My theory is that those 21 people were so incredibly upset about being stranded here for 4 more days that their anger brought the rain.  (Most tourists only stay here for 4 days at the most.  Unless you have friends here, there's not much else to do after 4 days.)  It makes sense...think about it... 

Anyway, back to New Years.  So...another option was for me to hang out with my Hawai‘i friend, K (whom I have also previously mentioned) and her boyfriend Javi for New Years.  But, as it turns out, Javi and K are going to spend the holiday with Javi's ENTIRE family, so I didn't think that would be appropriate. 

What I will end up doing is going with C. on his flight to Tahiti .  : )  It turns out that (I guess) the flight will be pretty empty, so for only $28 I can go with him on the flight, hang out in the Fa‘a‘a Airport and shop at the Duty Free for an hour or so, then return on the flight to Rapa Nui. 

I had to think about it a lot, but in the end I figured I would feel better being with C. on his flight rather than being at some party without him.So that's my plan for the turn of the new millennium.  (Since, as some people noted last year, the new millennium doesn't technically begin until 2001.  I forget why.) 

I hope all of you have a great New Year's celebration planned!  And I hope it works out just the way you want it to.  Enjoy, and let me know how it goes! 

I'll talk to you all again next year!!!  ~Uluwehi  :) 

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Date:    Jan 1, 2001        New Year’s on Rapa Nui

Today's date is 01-01-01.  Isn't that pretty cool?  : )  Well, I thought so anyway...

Happy New Year, Feliz Ano Nuevo and Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou! 

I hope all of you had a great New Year's Eve celebration and a wonderful first day of the year. I hope to hear all of your stories...  ; ) 

As for celebrations here on Rapa Nui, well, I'll do my best to describe it. 

First of all I must admit that all of this is via hearsay.  I wasn't actually on the island for the turn of the year.  (I know, I you're wondering where the heck I was.  Don't worry, I'll explain later.) 

New Year's Eve turned out to be a lot like Christmas Eve.  Most people spend the evening at a family member's house where everyone has a grand dinner and starts the drinking for the night. 

At midnight fireworks were launched from the community field along the shore, across from Toroko Discoteque (for those of you who have been here).  I heard that they were really good this year.  Of course, I wouldn't know what to compare that to... 

After the fireworks, everyone makes their way over to Toroko.  I heard that the place was packed last much so that you began to sweat from all the body heat as soon as you walked through the entrance.  I also heard that there were just as many people congregating outside as there were people dancing inside. 

I don't know what time the dancing stopped, but I have friends who left at 6 in the morning, and there were still lots of people inside partying at that time. 

Today, New Year's Day, most people had picnic/beach parties along the shore of the island somewhere with their families.  As it happened, the Gods provided us with an absolutely beautiful day - all day. 

O.K.  Now on to where I was for New Year's Eve.  I was on a plane over the Pacific Ocean on my way to Papeete, Tahiti when the clock struck 12 in Rapa Nui. 

C. and a bunch of his crew mates had to work the flight last night.  So, as a sort-of compensation, LanChile offered each flight attendant one free (well, except taxes) ticket for a loved one, so that they could be with someone at midnight.  I thought that was very nice of them... 

4 other flight attendants took advantage of the offer, so there were 5 of us "loved-ones" on board.  None of which spoke English...but, since we were all "kin" in a way, we all talked and laughed and had fun together.  And even though they all knew that I was at a disadvantage with my Spanish, they kept talking to me anyway.  :)  ....And that blessing in disguise resulted in the longest conversation I've ever had entirely in Spanish in my whole life.  I was rather happy about that crowning achievement...and my partner in the conversation said that I spoke well, and even passed that comment on to C..  (C. has been convinced for the last month or so that I actually do understand Spanish and am able to speak it pretty well...I keep insisting it's not true, but he doesn't believe me.  All I know is that I'm still confused at least half the time when someone is talking to me.  Realistically, however, I think I go more with instinct than with the actual words, because I know I don't understand most of them.) 

On the way to Papeete the crew was able to clear the last 2 middle rows for all of us to sit in. But most of us spent half the flight in the back with the flight crew!  It was a really interesting experience, because I got to see how they all work, what kinds of things they need to do, how difficult it can really be, and all that.  Yet, at the same time, I (and I believe the others as well) felt somewhat privileged because we were being treated as one of the crew but didn't have to do any of the actual work. 

We all got as many dinners as we wanted...some even that we didn't want!  We all got the regular dinner, and just as we were finishing up with that some crew member came by and gave us all first class dinners - seafood salad.  It was so good...mmm...but I hadn't expected it so I ate all of my first dinner, and was unable to finish all the seafood!  But I gave it a good effort...  And overall there were about 3 or 4 different meals to choose from, so if we were still hungry we could have a variety! 

We could choose from any kind of beverage we wished, at no charge of course.  3 out of the 5 of us took advantage of that offer, if you know what I mean.  (Guess who was NOT one of that 3...)  By the way, the deserts were really good too...  :)  LanChile has the best airplane food I've ever tasted.  (But now that I think about it, I really haven't experienced many airlines.)  

So there we were, in the very last rows of the plane, enjoying first class cuisine.  Did you know that in first class, they give you like 8 different pieces of silverware?  Simply because in fine dining they have a different piece of silverware for everything.  It was pretty funny when we all opened our napkins and out fell 3 forks, 2 knives and 3 different sized spoons...  All dinners came with a glass of red wine (seafood), 3 different kinds of cheeses and 2 little balls of butter, yet it didn't come with bread...hmm...I still wonder about that one...  Oh!  And it came with separate pyramid shaped salt and pepper shakers...those were really cute... 

At 5 minutes to midnight Rapa Nui time, all of the attendants told us to come to the back.  Everyone's watches had different times, but we did our best.  The crew is not supposed to converse loudly and disturb the passengers, but at midnight they easily abandoned that rule.  A champagne bottle was popped and foam spilled all over the ground as everyone held their glasses under the stream to try and get some.  I don't drink, but I made this one exception.  It was a great moment...   

The night before, Saturday the 30th, there was a party for all of the LanChile employees.  The reasoning was for the entire staff (ground crew, airport check-in, office, and flight staff) to get to know each other better.  It ended up serving as a New Year's Eve party since the flight staff would be working during the actual date.  That was a truly great party...I had a blast!   

In any case, the crew had to eventually get back to work, but from that moment on we were allowed (welcomed?) in the back to sit and talk story as long as we wanted. 

I got maybe an hour, hour and a half of sleep after that.  It's a 5 1/2 hour flight to Tahiti, and we left Rapa Nui at 10:30 p.m. Tahiti is in the same time zone as Hawai‘i, so both are 5 hours behind Rapa Nui.  We arrived there at 11 p.m.  We were still in the airport when the clock struck 12 in Tahiti (and therefore also in Hawai‘i).  I was thinking about all of you there, and so it was special for me in a way...even though I wasn't in Hawai‘i, at least I was on the same time as you for that special hour. 

We got to see some fireworks there in Tahiti.  We walked out to the plane at 12:30, and some people were still going strong.  And when the plane left at 1:00, we got the aerial view of the few who had spent the most money on fireworks... 

The flight home was full, so we had to sit in our assigned seats…which meant no more first class food either, because we had regular tourists sitting around us.  But we got to eat as much of the regular food as we wanted...  However, by that time most of us were tired, so much of that flight was spent sitting serenely and talking, watching the videos, or sleeping.  C. hadn't slept at all so far, and he was really tired, so I tried to stay up with him as long as I could until it was his shift to sleep.  (I felt bad sleeping knowing how tired he was but couldn't quite yet go to sleep...) 

We finally landed back in Rapa Nui at 11:30 a.m. - approximately 13 hours after our departure the night before. 

Most amazingly, it's about 11:30 p.m. now and neither of us has gotten any real sleep yet today.  Both of us got quick naps, but those totaled to about 30 minutes for each of us.  Frankly, I am surprised that my mind still functions...but then again, has this e-mail made sense to all of you so far? 

It was such a beautiful day that I didn't want to waste it sleeping, so we went to the beach here in town.  C. was going to give me my first surfing lesson, but I still wasn't brave enough to get in the water, so I told him to go surf and when he came back I would go with him. 

Little did I know that the surf would be so good, and he wouldn't come back in until 3 or 4 hours later. 

Luckily Rapa Nui is one of those places where you can go anywhere by yourself and you're almost guaranteed to meet with someone you know there. 

As it turned out, A. had been surfing all morning, and after I had been waiting for maybe and hour or so, she came out of the water to hang with me.  Soon after that, K ended up down at the beach too.  It turned into one of those rare moments that all three of us get to hang out together.  Eventually, everyone turned up at the beach, including Flaco and A.'s brother, Victor, and his family.  We ended up having a nice little gathering. 

And after waiting so long for C., when he finally did come out of the water I was more than ready to get in - it was so hot! 

I did not waste my first day!  I had my very first surfing lesson today.  Start the New Year off right. 

I'm really burned now.  I can't even remember the last time I spent the entire day at the beach like that.  But it was worth it. 

So here I sit at the end of the first day of the New Year - happy, content, and extremely tired.  Isn't life grand?  I hope you all feel the same way. 

Well, take care all.  I hope to hear from all of you soon.  ~Ulu  :) 

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Date:    Jan 8, 2001        And then there are those days...        

And then there are those days...

 ...when nothing seems to go the way you want it to.  On Tuesday I was feeling awful.  I was a little sick and extremely tired, but as soon as I arrived at work the phone started ringing non-stop!  I remember the days at PVS when the phone would ring all day...being here makes me long for those days!  When the phone rings here, it’s usually someone speaking Spanish much too quickly for me to understand, so I have to either figure it out within two seconds, or tell the person as best as I can, "I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish well.  Could you repeat that please?" 

Nothing makes you feel more like an idiot than not being able to fill a simple request just because it’s in another language.

The worst part about the phone calls here is that they’re usually a local calling for one of the members of the Haoa family.  So I transfer the call to the kitchen, where Senora Rosita would usually be at this time.  But for a few days there, no one needed dinner, so the Senora wasn’t in the kitchen...  Then the person calling would get mad at being transferred to a phone that no one picked up, call me back, and yell at me for not being able to speak to Senora Rosita! 

For those of you who have never been here, the hotel grounds are pretty big.  It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the back of the hotel.  And if I have to look for someone on the grounds, the only way is to take a message from the person on the phone then go and look for whomever their calling for.  Usually the person on the phone is not patient enough to wait as long as it would take to go find someone.  Anyone who has been here knows how big the grounds are and knows how long it would take to walk it always amazes me as to why these people who are calling cannot figure that out...after all, if they’re a friend of the family, then they’ve been here before, right? 

On this particular day, the Senora´s sister kept calling for her.  I finally found out that the Senora was in the very back of the hotel helping to prepare the new rooms for guests arriving this weekend.  So when the woman called again, I told her where the Senora was, and could I get her name and number so I could tell the Senora to call her back.  She was so upset at being put on hold the first time she called that she just kept insisting, rather rudely, that she wanted to speak with her.

Finally, after explaining for the third time that the Senora was ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK OF THE HOTEL and that I would have to go and get her, she finally gave me a phone number and hung up. 

Luckily the woman called Kh. at home and brought her into the picture.  I was afraid to answer the phone here... 

That was not a good day.  The foremost thought in my mind was that if only I could speak their language, I could have dealt a lot better with this lady.  The second most thought in my mind was why this person was getting mad at me!  I’m not responsible for where Senora Rosita is at every second...this is a hotel.  I’m responsible for the guests, not the staff. 

Then today a German group arrived.  The group leader did not make a good first impression on me. 

First of all, they told Marcia (the day receptionist) to wait for them until they arrived back from their tours.  At that time they would tell her whether or not the group would be having dinner at the hotel.  Nevermind that Marcia now had to stay an hour longer than she was supposed to.  Nevermind that it’s incredibly inconvenient for the kitchen to wait until 5:30 to find out if a group of 16 people will be eating at 7:30...

But then the group finally came back.  The group leader came to tell Marcia that he didn’t know about dinner yet, and they would be having a group meeting right now, and he would tell her in about 15 minutes. 

She then told him who I was, and said that he should speak in English with me.  He promptly told her, in Spanish yet right in front of me, that although he can speak English, he prefers not to.  Then Marcia had to take a phone call, and while he was waiting he looked down his nose at me and asked, "So you are American?"

This is one of those times when you REALLY wish you could say what you really feel... 

Marcia left, and later the man came back and said that they would not be having any dinner here, and were there any decent restaurants around.  So I gave him the name of one and sent him on his way. 

Rapa Nui is a special place.  Most of the tourists do not come just to vacation.  They come because of the "mysterious stone statues" and all of the interesting history.  This is clearly not a resort destination like Hawaii .  Yet, from time to time, we get people who think that Easter Island is going to be like Cabo San Lucas or something...they expect to see the big elaborate Hyatt with it’s 4 star rooms and restaurants...and when they get here the only thing they want to do is leave.  They complain about the accommodations, the food, the environment, everything.  I suppose the dirt roads and horse kaka all over the streets is just too much for them to bear...

Anyway, I guess I just had to rant a little.  Being here has given me the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world, but at the same time it has given me the opportunity to meet some not-so-pleasant characters...  There are nice people and there are unhappy people where ever you go...  Many people group them into categories.  You’ve all heard it before - "The French are so rude"; "The British are stuffy"; "Americans are pushy", etc...  Well, after being here, I really can’t do that.  I’ve met some really nice people from all kinds of different countries...and then there are these chosen few who dare to threaten my good opinion of their fellow countrymen.  How unfair is that? 

For example, there is a Brazilian woman in the hotel right now.  I have an extremely difficult time understanding her because in Brazil they speak a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish.  Even the locals have a bit of difficulty...  But she’s really nice and extremely patient with me. 

And then there was this very nice couple from California that came here for their honeymoon a couple of months ago.  If they had stayed longer we definitely would have hung out with them. 

And once there was this old French couple.  Everything went wrong for them, yet they were so nice about everything the entire time!  None of that "The French are so rude" stuff!  Even in the midst of their being dissed by their tour company, they were still very nice to me - an American whom the French supposedly hate. 

And although a few people have told me that the Germans are very harsh in their behavior, this guy is really the first one that I’ve met that I absolutely do not like. 

Even N. was saying last night that although he really doesn't do that much, he is always exhausted from having to deal with so many different kinds of people...and from having to cater to obviously unhappy people.  I know how that feels now. 

I can't end an e-mail with a heavy feeling, so let's change the subject here. 

Some friends arrived on Friday.  : )  Ti., A.'s boyfriend and one of the Hōkūle‘a crew members, arrived along with his sister, Amy and her friend Willie and his Aunt.  I went to greet them at the airport.  C. wanted to go, but he was busy cutting our yard at the time.  C. actually is more familiar with Amy and Willie than I am.  When he came to visit me in Hawai‘i last May, he went to Maui to visit A. who was living there with Ti. at the time. While he was there he met Amy and Willie also and hung out with all of them.  So I felt a little weird going to the airport to greet them without C., but all went well.  Ti. knows me well and Amy knew who I was because we have a mutual friend, so everything was okay. 

That night C. and I went to their hotel to say hi and hang out for a while.  Later we went to Toroko Disco and danced for a while.  C. and I didn't stay long, however, because he had been working in the yard then on the construction of the restaurant all day, and all that work finally caught up with him.  Miraculously, however, he and I danced a lot before the fatigue finally got to him. 

For those of you who know Sergio Rapu, they're all staying at his hotel because he and A. are good friends, so she set the whole thing up.  As we waited for their arrival at the airport, I finally got the chance to speak with Sergio.  He's a pretty cool guy....  And it looks like he's a real party animal!  When we went to Toroko, he was the first one on the dance floor and he never left it! 

And, some of you may know, the "Amy and Willie" that I am speaking of is Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom and Willie K.  A. is trying to set up a concert for them while they're here.  I'm really looking forward to that, because I can't afford to go to any of their concerts at home. : ) 

Well, I guess that's about it.  Take care all!  I hope to hear from all of you soon!  ~Ulu 

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Date:    Jan 11, 2001    Rano Kao

Hola everyone! 

I hope all of you have been enjoying your new year so far.  As for me over here, it's been pretty eventful. 

You've all read by now about my new year's day.  That was great...  Well, the next day was all about rest.  So we made sure to get enough of it.  Unfortunately for me, I felt awful.  I had somehow come down with a cough, so that day I was coughing a lot, my nose was running, and I was exhausted.  I was miserable the entire time at work. 

C. was planning on going to his friend's house that night.  I was not happy that I would have to stay home alone when I was sick, but I didn't complain.  Fortunately for me, he changed his mind.  He came home shortly after I did.  It turns out that he went to pick me up from work but I had already left, since he had told me earlier that I should just take a taxi home.  So I got my wish after all.  : ) 

The next day was Wednesday, my day off.  Even though I was still a little bit sick, there was no way we were about to waste another day off! 

We got up at 9 a.m. , when Flaco came and knocked on our door.  He was early...we expected him at 9:30 .  So we got up, ate breakfast, and got ready.  Then we headed out at about 10:30 . 

We were going to the volcano, Rano Kao.  It is a crater with a lake in it, and on the lip of the crater there is a ceremonial village called Orongo.  This is where the birdman contest was held in ancient times.  For those of you who need some history, the birdman contest was where one man from each clan had to compete for the title of birdman.  They climbed down the side of the cliff at Orongo, paddled on a mini-canoe like thing made out of reeds out to an island just off the shore.  There are three islands there - Motu Nui, Motu Iti & Motu Kaokao.  The first man to get an egg of the birds nesting there and bring it back up to Orongo intact would win, and person from their clan would be ruler for a year. 

Anyway, we don't have a car, so we walked.  A lot. 

I wanted to bring Tonti, our dog.  I figured it would be good exercise for him, and since we were going to a place without other people around, we could let him run around a bit.  C. thought about it, but in the end we decided not to because of many reasons.  We had to pass through town first, and we have a very hard time controlling Tonti around other people.  He's not used to a lot of people, so he gets really vicious around anyone he doesn't know.  And if we brought him we would have had to bring a lot more water than we did. 

In the end, it's a good thing that we didn't bring Tonti, because it turned out that we were not the only ones in the crater that day.  He would have devoured those other guys... 

Side note:  I've been afraid of dogs ever since a poodle bit my finger when I was about 5 or 6. But most ironically I am more comfortable around Tonti than I have ever been around any other dog before.  And Tonti is this big, energetic, mean-looking Rotweiller who turns into an absolute beast around anyone he doesn't know!  He's as tall as my waist when standing, and when he gets up on his hind legs he's (of course) taller than me.  And he has a tendency to jump on you when he's excited, because he wants to play.  He's full size, but he's still only a puppy...he's about a year old.  I can't play rough with him because he's way too strong for me...he'd probably knock me on my butt...but I think he's finally learned that because he doesn't get as rough around me anymore. So this beast, who would very well attack a stranger if he wasn't restrained, is tame around me.  That makes me feel good...  : ) 

Anyway, we had to walk to the crater.  We cut across the island's full-sized NASA built airplane runway, and started up the side of the mountain, through the bush and everything.  It was an adventure!   

To be perfectly honest, the walk up to the crater was a whole lot longer than the walk into the crater.  But it was nice, and we stopped several times along the way.  We got a bird's-eye view of the island...we took a picture with a very interesting tree...

As we neared the top of the crater's edge, there was noticeably more obsidian on the ground.  All the obsidian here was bubbly, with little holes all over it, which made it easy to imagine the explosion that must have caused all these bits of rock to burst into the atmosphere and land in their present spots.  The closer we got to the crater, the more obsidian there was...there was so much that you couldn't help but to walk all over it. 

The obsidian is very interesting to me because we don't have much at home.  I've always been interested in minerals, or "crystals", so I've seen stores that sell obsidian.  Here, it's literally all over the ground, and no one cares.  When the locals see someone picking up a piece of obsidian along the sidewalk, they know that person is a tourist...  The only obsidian the locals care about are the pieces that have been formed into arrowheads...the "ancient people" used the obsidian to make spear heads.  All the rest is rubbish. 

Anyway, back to the story.  We finally made it to the top of the crater...It seemed like we had already done a good day's worth of walking, but now we had to go into the crater, and eventually come back out.  I wasn't looking forward to that part... 

Walking in the crater wasn't easy because there were rocks all over the surface, and grass had grown long around the rocks, so you couldn't see exactly where you were stepping.  Many times there were holes between the rocks, so we had to check the area before we made our next step. 

Along the way we had all picked up walking sticks.  I found the coolest looking one - it was long and straight on the bottom and kind of curly on the top, and it was a white wood.  It looked like a genuine Shaman's stick...we gave that one to Flaco because it was tall, and he's tall and skinny just like the stick was.  C.'s was a little shorter and a little bit thicker, but it still looked pretty cool.  It was also made out of that white wood, so it looked like a Shaman stick too.  C. gave me mine.  It was short and brown in color and the top end had obviously been broken off of another piece, so it was frayed.  It was not very pretty, but later I found out why it was perfect for me. 

There is a plant that has all kinds of pods on it with seeds in the pods.  When the plant dries and you shake it, it sounds like a Native American rattle.  As we were walking, a small branch of this "rattle" literally broke off the plant into my hand...and as fate would have it, the stick end of the rattle fit perfectly into the frayed end of my walking stick.  So now my stick was the coolest because I rattled when I walked...  he, he, he... 

Another side note:  C. is really skinny.  When he was in Hawai‘i , we had to buy him a pair of pants, and it was really difficult to find such a small size for him.  But when he stands next to Flaco, he looks positively stocky!  Flaco is tall and thin, and when they stand together C. looks like he's a football player or something!  It's really strange... 

Going down into the crater there were a lot of areas where we kind of had to just slide down. I think I would have been braver if I had worn jeans.  I was in shorts, so I didn't want to just slide because I was afraid of getting all cut up.  So we took our time, and I had to hold on to a lot of branches... 

We finally got to this great big rock with a petroglyph on it.  It was amazingly cool!  I took a picture...  Unfortunately, there was some idiot who for a while had been going around and vandalizing all the petroglyphs by scratching his name into it.  I don't understand how people can be as rude and careless as to do things like vandalize ancient, one of a kind artifacts...  Luckily, the name is scratched very lightly so it's not that noticeable.  It won't show up in my picture (I hope)...   

There was another smaller petroglyph on a nearby rock that was hidden by the trees, but Flaco knew that it was there, so he and C. went and took a marking of it.  They had brought their sketch pads...artists... 

We rested there and had lunch.  That's when two tourists happened by...  C. said they were speaking Russian.  It was a father and son.  The son was in his late 20's or early 30's and spoke English with an American accent, but spoke Russian with his father.  He was asking us if there was a trail to go all the way around the crater's lake...he didn't like the answer that C. gave him.  Apparently, Flaco knows the crater best, so C. had to translate between Flaco and this guy.  The guy walked off unsatisfied...  Oh well. 

We had planned to go to the middle of the lake and go swimming, but we abandoned that idea and went in search of Hei‘a fruit instead. 

In the crater were wild grape vines, guava trees, sugar cane and Hei‘a trees.  Unfortunately, there were no grapes or guava yet, and we were even too early for some of the hei‘a trees.  But after much searching, we found a tree that bloomed early!  Yeah! 

Hei‘a is a oval-shaped yellow fruit a little bit smaller than a golf ball.  The inside is hollow, with only a big round seed inside.  If you shake the fruit, you can hear the seed bopping around.  You eat the outside of the fruit, which is about the same width as an orange peel, but it's not thick like one.  It's really good...I swear it tastes a little bit like honey.  When K was here she thought it tasted like mountain apple, but I never had a mountain apple that tasted that good...  Sergio Rapu says that we have hei‘a in Hawai‘i , but only in certain places and only high up.  I've never seen it before I came here. 

We also found a lone sugar cane plant, which C. promptly broke off stalks from for us to eat. 

So here we were, wandering about the crater, enjoying the fruits provided by the crater itself. It was pretty cool...eating off the land, like our ancestors did. 

We walked, and talked, and rested...and filled up my backpack with hei‘a fruit.  Then we finally decided to head home.   

Walking back up out of the crater was not fun.  Of course, the both of them are in much better shape than me...I'm a townie. 

But after much heavy breathing and praying, I made it out of the crater.  Yeah! 

We decided to follow the road back down, instead of playing Jungle Jim again like we did on the way up.   

As we were about to reach the edge of town, a taxi pulled up.  We took it.  The thing about Rapa Nui people is...they have nothing against walking, but why walk if you don't have to?  That's why there are so many taxis around....   

We went home, C. and Flaco made dinner, and we all sat and ate and watched a video. 

It was a good day. 

I took some pictures, but I probably won't get them developed until I get back to Hawai‘i .  I can't get them scanned onto disks here, so I figured its better just to wait. 

Anyway, I only have a month left here, so you can all expect more adventure stories.  I am constantly reminding C. that we need to do everything before I leave...  : ) 

I'll talk to you all soon! 



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Date:    Jan 12, 2001    life on a tiny island

Iorana everybody!  How is everyone?  Are all your computers still working?  (A friend of some of us was infected with a nasty virus...luckily for me I opened up the virus warning before the infected message that was I deleted all of them.  Thanks for the warning!) 

It's amazingly hot here.  Of course, it doesn't help that I got sunburned yesterday, which is making things just that much more uncomfortable for me.  But its summer and things are beautiful, so I'm not complaining. 

And now, on to today's story! 

Life on a tiny island can be funny sometimes...  Rapa Nui is one of those places where everybody knows what's going on all the time.  One night, I spent the night at the hotel with A. and Ti. and all of those the time I woke up the next day, everyone in town knew that I hadn't slept at home that night. 

And I knew that this would was only a matter of time as to when I became a part of this little ritual...  Just after Christmas but before New Years, I was hanging out with the Karikari group one night.  There was a flight that night, and C. had to work.  And, the flight was arriving late, at about 1:00 a.m.  

We were all in town sitting in front of the moai that fronts the bay, just hanging out, talking story, playing music, whatever...  Then we heard the flight arrive.  In Rapa Nui , everyone knows when the flight can hear the plane's engines all over the island.  All of a sudden, a bunch of guys got up and headed for Mai's brand new car.  I found out that they were going to the airport, so I figured I'd catch a ride since I live just up the street from it. 

I decided to hang with them at the airport first.  When we got there, I finally asked why we were there.  Guess what the answer was...come on now, if you're from a small town, you know what the answer is...  That's right!  We were there at the airport “just because."  It was just something to do.  I had to laugh.... 

Anyway, this little anecdote was just to show how something like a flight arriving can have an impact on a small community like this.  And here's another example... 

There is only one airline that flies here:  LanChile.  They have regular flights from Santiago on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  These flights simply fly from Santiago to here, then back.  On Thursdays and Sundays, a flight again arrives here from Santiago , then continues on to Tahiti , comes back here, then returns to Santiago . 

A flight crew from Santiago works the flights from Santiago and back.  The local flight crew, of which C. is a member, only works the round-trips from here to Papeete and back.  So on the Thursday and Sunday flights, a crew from Santiago gets off here and stays overnight on the island while C. and his mates work the flight to Papeete and back, then when they arrive home the next morning, the over-nighting crew takes the shift back to Santiago. 

Anyway, last night the flight from Santiago arrived as scheduled, at about 11 p.m.   C. was on call last night...when he's on call, he usually doesn’t have to work.  But I guess someone else called in sick, because he got called.  So the local crew's shift began at about 11 p.m.  

Amy and Willie were leaving on the flight to Papeete ...the same flight that C. was now supposed to work.  But the flight never left. 

It was supposed to leave at midnight .  I don't know when the passengers got on the plane, but they were finally asked to get off at 4 a.m.   They were served sandwiches, the regular airline meal sandwiches, in the airport at that time.  At 5 a.m. LanChile finally decided that this plane could not take off any time in the near future.  The flight attendants were sent home, and all the passengers were shuttled off to hotels... 

The moon is still pretty bright, thank goodness, so I wasn't completely scared when C. came knocking at our bedroom window at 5 in the morning...  To be totally honest, I wasn't all that shocked either, because I knew that the flight hadn't taken off...just like the arrivals, everyone also knows when the flight takes off.  The noise is impossible to miss.  But then again, I had fallen asleep at about 2 o’clock or so...

C. said that the flight was scheduled for around 3 the next afternoon.  They called him to work at 2:00 .  All he really had time to do was sleep.  He didn't even eat. 

At around 2:45 p.m. another plane arrived.  That plane, full of passengers and crew, finally took off at 4:45 today.  I really hope they didn't call the passengers to the airport too early...

So now, this flight is not scheduled to return to the island until about 5 a.m. this coming morning.  Everyone that was scheduled to leave for Santiago today will now have to leave their hotels at 3:30 a.m. to go to the airport to leave at about 6 a.m. tomorrow.  And now we will be receiving passengers at about 5:30 a.m.   It's pretty confusing... 

Most ironically, there is a regular Saturday flight from Santiago which will arrive at about 1 p.m.   So tomorrow we will be receiving 2 flights. 

Problem #1 - There are no hotels that had enough vacancies to cater to ALL the passengers.  So LanChile had to do a lot of last minute shuffling... 

Problem #2 - This is Rapa Nui .  Nothing stays open 24 hours...not even the hotels.  So I'm sure that some very unhappy hotel owners got calls at their homes at 4 in the morning... 

Problem #3 - The flight was absolutely full.  They even asked some people to give up their seats during the original check in...  So now LanChile has to pay for room and board for one extra day for about 300 people. 

Problem #4 - This flight was a round trip that goes to Papeete, then back here, then back to Santiago.  So now all of those flights are screwed up...that's 3 one ways and who knows how many connecting flights for all of those passengers...   

Problem #5 - There are only 13 local flight attendants.  That's only one and a half crews.  All flight crews cannot fly more than a certain amount in a day, and there are a required number of hours of rest that they must have in between flights.

Right now, LanChile is in danger of not having enough flight attendants to cover the Sunday flight, because they are all currently working the delayed flight. 

Anyway, who knows what will happen tonight.  I sure hope I don't have to come in at 3:00 this morning...ugh.  And now C. will sleep all day tomorrow, so that day is shot. 

Thus is life on a little island. 

Now, on a positive note... as all of my e-mails are required by law to end on a positive note.  LanChile has done one good thing.  They gave C. a bonus for exemplary service.  : )  It’s an end of the year thing, and because C. has never missed one of his scheduled flights and because of his attendance at all the meetings, he got a bonus.  They gave it to him last week, but when he went to work last night, they told him that they had made a mistake, and that they still owed him a little bit more money...  Now that's news I like to hear!  C. is all stoked, because on Monday he will be getting the additional bonus money plus his regular paycheck... 

Honestly, C. missed a few meetings.  They counted the English classes as part of their attendance.  And C. did miss a few of those.  But his teacher told him that she always marked him as "present" because she knew that he was getting practice every day at home with me.  (Aside from 2 other flight attendants who have lived elsewhere and thus speak excellent English, C.'s English is the best.)

Anywho...that's all I've got to write about our local airline dramas!  Everyone take care of yourselves, and I hope to hear from all of you soon. 



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Date:    Jan 13, 2001    LanChile update


I just wanted to give you all the ending to yesterday's airline drama...

So all the people who were supposed to leave yesterday at around noon ended up having another full day here, at LanChile's expense.  Luckily, the people staying at our hotel were really nice about it.  No one seemed to mind that their trips were now postponed for an extra day...  One of the couples staying here was even glad for it...they didn't want to leave! 

The flight to Papeete left here at about 5 p.m.  I estimated that they would land in Tahiti at about 11 p.m. our time, then leave there at around 12 midnight, and arrive back here at just about 5 a.m.   And that would mean that the flight back to Santiago would leave at about 6 a.m.  

Keep in mind, I am not a professional.  I'm just the girlfriend of a flight attendant. 

Based on my estimates, that would mean that all of the guests in the hotels would have to be picked up at about 3:30 or 4 a.m.  So I was rather surprised when I got to work and found out that tour companies were scheduling pick-ups for 2:30 a.m.   They estimated that the flight would return at 4 a.m., and leave for Santiago at 5 a.m.  

And, there was no way that we could get a confirmed arrival time until after midnight - until after the flight left from Tahiti.  But we couldn't be waking up all the tourists after midnight to tell them their pick-up times, could we?  So we just had to give them all our best estimates even before the flight landed in Tahiti. 

Luckily someone at LanChile finally wised up at about 10:00 last night, and started calling everyone to suggest pick-up times be at 3:30 a.m.  

Hotel owners and tour operators now had to either stay up really late, or get up really early.  N. came into the office and joked on the phone with one of the tour operators that he'll see him at's much easier to stay up all night than to go to sleep for only a couple of hours. 

Well, with all the people that would be needing to meet that plane, I got the distinct feeling that Toroko would be crowded last night...and that maybe I shouldn't have gone home after work.  But I did.  (I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt...and females should NOT go to Toroko by themselves unless they're absolutely positive that they'll be meeting someone there to hang out with.  It's just not wise...) 

Sure enough, the flight landed at 5 a.m.  The Santiago flight took off at 6 a.m.  Just like I predicted. 

C. came knocking at our room window again at about 5:45.  But I heard the plane land, so I was expecting him this time.  : ) 

Then he turned on all the lights to get out of his uniform...and take a shower...and turn on the TV...and turn on the VCR....and finally put a tape in to watch.  Never mind that I had just been rudely awakened from dreamland and really wanted to go back... 

But we ended up watching a movie, and as we watched it the sun came up.  It's the first time I've ever been awake here while the sun is rising. 

After the movie we slept, and woke up at about 1:30 this afternoon. 

Finally, the regular flight that arrives on Saturday afternoons came and went on schedule…so all is well again.   


Hey, we gotta focus on something to keep things interesting around here, right?   

Talk to you all soon!  ~Ulu

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Date:    Jan 18, 2001    Regularly Heard

Here are some conversations that you can hear regularly at our house.  Just for your info, "C" is C., and "U" is me (duh...).  Tonti is our dog, a big Rotweiller of a beast. 

I'm not sure if these will come across as amusing as they are to me, but I figured I'd try it anyway. You have to already be in a good mood to appreciate these...  Sometimes it just makes me laugh... 

1)  Heard one morning, completely out of the blue...

C:  Guaguis!  (pronounced Wuhwee - that's what he calls me)

U:  Yes?

C:  Tonti eat bananas.  (I guess you had to be there...this one had me totally rolling!!!)

2)  Heard often at night, when getting ready to take a shower...

U:  Cockroach!

C:  Kill it.

U:  Come!

C:  Kill it.

U:  Just come look!

C:  Kill it.

U:  I don't have my slippers!

C:  Kill it. 

U:  Just come! 

C:  (comes with the slipper, chases after them - yes, plural "them")  &%*()*#! cockroaches.

3) Heard pretty much at any time...

C:  Do you want to eat, yes or yes? 

C:  Do you want to eat, sí or sí?

C:  Today we go surfing...SURRRFINGGG...  sí or sí?

4)  When talking about almost anything, including (or should I say 'especially') things you wouldn't actually eat...

C:'s really good with lemon...(kisses his fingertips like a chef)... 

5)  And the overall reply for everything, no matter what it is (cold showers, eating bananas, working hard, speaking Spanish, chasing down chicken eggs...) 

C:  It's good for the skin.  

There are other things, like singing...but that's hard to document in writing.  C. sings a lot, whatever song he heard last, and he'll always replace the words with the names of people around him.  For example, if he's with me, then "Ven conmigo, ven conmigo baby..." now becomes "Ven conmigo, ven conmigo guaguis..."  (In the tune of "Come On Over" by Christina Aguilera)  Or sometimes it even becomes "guaguis guaguis, guaguis guaguis guaguis..."  It may not be the same as having a song written for me, but it'll do.  : ) 

Sometimes I wonder how I ended up with someone so crazy.  But then again, he's considered normal around here...   

Well, that's all folks - short and sweet today.  Take care all! 

Aloha,  ~Ulu 

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Date:    Jan 22, 2001    the tourist season

Hola everyone!  I hope today's story finds all of you well and happy!  As for me, things have definitely been changing around here...

The island is gearing up for Tapati.  More and more tourists are arriving, and the locals are all practicing or building or preparing in some way.  There is a dance troupe practicing right up the street from the hotel, but, unfortunately for me, they practice during my work hours so I am unable to go and watch.  For those of you who know Panda, he says that I can even dance with them if I want, since they are practicing right next to his house...but I guess it's just not meant to be for me this year. 

Tapati is the island's big annual festival.  It is 8 days full of competitions, exhibitions and parties.  Many locals make the bulk of their money in just these 8 that they will live off of for the entire year to come.  This year it is from Jan. 26 to Feb. 3. 

Again, unfortunately for me, I must work.  I am leaving in February, but I told N. that I would stay at the hotel until the end of January.  I get paid monthly, and frankly I need the entire month's salary to cover whatever I will lose by not working in February.  So that means that I'll miss the bulk of Tapati, and only be able to fully witness the last 3 days.  But, at least I'm here, and at least I'll be able to see some of it.  : )

The higher influx of tourists has been a bit stressful for me at work as well as at home.  We’ve experienced a steady stream of Spanish-speaking tourists in the hotel for the last month or so, and it has not been easy trying to help them.  The Chileans are not a big problem, since I have grown accustomed to Chilean Spanish, but trying to help the rest of them is so difficult!  About a month ago there was an Argentinean lady here, and I simply could not understand one word that she was saying...not one.  And for the life of me I could not understand why I had such difficulty!  Until I found out that she was Argentinean...Yes, Spanish is one language, but each country speaks it differently.  I guess I can make my way in Chile , but I would be completely lost in every other country. 

More tourists also means that I have to cater to more personalities.  A few days ago one of the guests yelled at me because his room didn't get cleaned that day.  His wife had come to front desk to tell me, but I was helping other guests at the time.  It seemed that at that particular moment, everyone staying here had come back from their tours and wanted something.  So I had to help all of them, which completely irritated the woman.  I told her that I would get someone to clean her room.  So she left...but I guess I wasn't fast enough for her because she came back only 5 minutes later to tell me again.  So I told her again that I would get someone to clean her room.  And she left. 

The problem is that there were only 2 other staff here at the time, and I had to physically go and look for them.  So once I was done with everyone else, which took about 5 minutes more, I left the office to go find them.  While I was gone, the man called the office... twice.  And of course, there was no answer, which infuriated him even more.  So he came to the office to give me a piece of his mind. 

He yelled and flung his arms about and said that this hotel was run by a Mickey Mouse management, and that all of this was going in his report, blah, blah, blah...  You see, this man worked for a travel agency or magazine or something like that, and he was checking out the hotel for that reason.  But what he doesn't know is that here on the island, nobody cares who you are.  Nobody cares what he writes about his stay here, least of all N..  He could say that this was the worst hotel in the world, and N. would just laugh at him.  Because on the island, this is the best you're going to get, and everybody here knows it. 

Apparently the guy knew it too, somewhere inside of him.  He was complaining so much that I offered to transfer him to another hotel if it would make him happy (well, it would have made me happy...), but he declined saying "Why?  They're all the same, aren't they?" 

Some people are so funny when they're mad...and when you show them the lack of logic in their argument, they just deflate and grasp onto anything they can think of... 

I explained that there was no one in the office to answer his call because I was out looking for someone to clean his room, which was ultimately what he wanted.  So when he couldn't use that excuse anymore, he found another one:  He complained about the night before when he checked in.  He had asked me about tours, and I said that if he came back in the morning that Marcia could explain all his options and set it up for him... 

But because he was mad at the moment, he said that I wouldn't help him that night and just passed me off to someone else.  And when I explained that all the agencies deal with Marcia because all their offices close at 5 p.m. so I am never able to help anyone with scheduling tours, and so Marcia had all the necessary information, he was again left with nothing to argue with. 

Well, nothing except "I want to speak to your manager," and "This is going in my report."  I said to the former, "Yes sir, he should be here at about 9 p.m. " and to the latter I said nothing. There was no need.  This guy was going to write whatever he wanted no matter what.  And it's not going to make one drop of difference in the amount of business that this hotel gets... 

At one point he just refreshed all of his arguments because he wasn't done venting yet...even though they were only full of hot air.  When that happened, I just reminded him that he was speaking to the wrong person..."I'm just the receptionist and I've done all I can to help you with what you want."  I think that made him realize that he was, in fact, yelling at me for no reason.  I wasn't the one who neglected his room and I was the one who got someone to clean it.  So?... 

The guy apologized before he left yesterday. 

As for the home front, we have guests.  2 Chileans arrived last Tuesday, so they have been with us for almost a week now.  The man was a very good friend of C.'s father (who is deceased), and is still very good friends with the family.  He is a well-known photographer in Chile and is here to do a book on the island and the Tapati festival.  His son came with him.  

Juan Pablo, or Pao as everyone calls him, is a very interesting guy.  He's very sociable and very likable.  He's traveled a lot and has learned a lot.  Last night, when C. was working the flight, he and I had a very interesting and enlightening conversation about stars and constellations and navigation.  He spent a month on a boat once taking pictures for another book, and learned much about navigation and how to use some of the constellations.  So he found it very interesting when I broke out all of my navigation notes and star charts from when I took the class from Nainoa.  And I had one of Wil Kyselka's books with me... 

His son is a different story.  He's about 25 or so, but acts much younger.  He is as anti-social as Pao is social.  They are extremes of each other.  Pao also says that Damien does not have many friends back home...  The day after they arrived, they both went to Ovahe beach.  C. and I happened to be camping there the night before with friends from LanChile, so we ran into them there.  And, although Damien had 60 spf sunblock, he still got badly burned...  I don't know...maybe he just didn't put it on often enough... 

Side note:  The water was freezing when I first got in, but there were waves big enough to body surf, so I got over it quickly.  We didn't stay in long, and I had a lot of fun.  And, for the first time during my entire stay here, I was smart enough to put on sunblock!  Yeah!  And it worked quite well.  : )  (But thankfully my haole blood is content with only 30 spf...) 

Anyway, after that day Damien didn't go out of the house - AT ALL.  He stayed in all day Thursday and Friday as Pao came in and out several times during the day.  I felt extremely bad and extremely uncomfortable, because the only TV is in C. and my room.  I knew that if Damien had the opportunity, he would have watched TV all day.  But instead he sat in the living room and read.  I guess he felt uncomfortable watching TV in the room with me.  To be honest, I would have felt uncomfortable also.  We were alone in the house, and you don't want to be in your bedroom sitting on your bed watching TV with someone that you hardly know...  So I was somewhat glad that he didn't come in and watch with me. 

By the way, both Pao and Damien speak English.  So that's not a problem.  Thank God! 

But I guess Damien's burn healed enough because he finally started going out again on Saturday.  Whew!!!

Having guests in the house has been good in some ways.  Pao is fairly well off, so the first thing he did was to go out and buy food and necessities.  Some things I am very glad for...  He bought us a trash can for the kitchen with real garbage bags (instead of the plastic bags you get from shopping) and REAL, SOFT toilet paper!  I had forgotten that kind of toilet paper even existed...and now the bathroom constantly smells like baby powder.  And now there's never a shortage of something to eat or drink in the house.  And, given that sometimes I was rather lonely there, now I am never alone. 

But on the other hand, I am NEVER alone!  No explanation needed there... 

C. had to work the flight last night.  When he arrived back home, I went to the airport because he had more friends arriving off the plane.  When he came out of the doors and saw me, he hugged me and told me that (although he didn't know why) he missed me a lot last night (which, of course, made me very happy).  I told him it's because we haven't been able to spend much time alone together lately...In fact, we haven't spent any time alone, just the two of us, since Pao and Damien arrived. 

And now we have more guests.  Last year C. went to a tattoo festival in Tahiti .  While he was there, he met a painter named Gotz, who lives in Tahiti .  Well, he, his wife and their daughter arrived this morning and are now also staying with us. 

Gotz speaks a little bit of English.  His wife and daughter only speak French.  Pao speaks French.  C. can understand a little, but not much.  When he and Gotz speak, it is in English. 

Gotz and his wife, Zabou, are what you would classify as "hippies."  Well, they look the part anyway.  They must be French and not Tahitian...if they are it doesn't show.  Gotz has a shaved head except for a tail in the back about 3 inches long.  His wife brought along a massage table.  She is so skinny that I have a difficult time imagining that she had a child.  Their daughter, Lia or Lea (I'm not sure), must be about 3 years old, and is the most adorable thing I've ever seen!!!  And although I don't understand a word she says, she still chooses to hang out with me.  Tonti doesn't like children and is not used to so many people being around, but Lea is not scared by him at all.  In fact, she wants to play with him, even though he growls and barks and tries to jump whenever he sees her.  She's very friendly and open...I like her a lot. 

C. and I were lying on the bed this afternoon, after all the excitement had died down.  We were just watching TV when Lea came in and sat with us.  Then she made herself comfortable and lay down.  C. said, "Can you imagine if we have a child like this?"  Whoa horsy! 

They are all really nice.  Yet, I'm not completely sure how everything will work out... there is somewhat of a language barrier and they will be here until March. 

The drawback to that one is that I leave in February, so essentially C. and I will not be able to spend very much time alone together before I leave.  And I feel like there is a lot of strain on C., because he is the connecting link to all of us in the house...everyone is there to be with him.  He already looks very tired... 

As for me, I am at the point where I feel like my time here is limited, so I dread going to work every day.  I feel like I should be off learning how to dance Rapa Nui or at the beach or talking to people (since I only now feel confident enough to do so!!!)...  Who knows what I'll do.  We all know that I'm prone to spontaneous acts of insanity at times...  That's how I ended up here!  : ) 

Well, that's it for now.  I hope all of you are having a great year so far.  Hasn't it passed quickly?  I'll be seeing you all soon, in less than a month now!  Still haven't made my plane reservations, but if all goes as planned, I'll be arriving back in Hawai‘i on Sunday, February 18th.  Mark your calendars! 

Iorana!  ~Ulu 

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Date:    Jan 25, 2001    Soy una bruja

Iorana everyone!  How is everything going? 

Things have been pretty eventful around here lately...I think maybe it's because I'm leaving soon, so I'm trying to do more things.  Or maybe it's because we have so many guests in the house.  Or maybe it's because everyone's getting ready for Tapati so the "party" feeling is brewing...  I'm not exactly sure.  In any case, my recent life has been interesting. 

Things have been going well with all of our guests in the house.  If you recall, I wrote about all of them in the last e-mail.  Gotz and his family are different, but by no means are they unpleasant.  And now that Damien has gotten over his sunburn, he goes out often.  And Pao, well, Pao is always the life of the party no matter who the party consists of... 

Last night C. and I sat and played a game of "Tarot De Tahiti" with Gotz and Zabou (his wife).  As it turns out, Gotz did the drawings for this deck of cards.  And, although I am quite familiar with the Tarot, I had never known that there was a game you could play with the cards. 

For those of you who also know the Tarot, this game can be played with a regular tarot deck as well, but that would certainly make it different....

In any case, the game it a little like Trumps, so I picked it up rather quickly...more so than C., who was really confused most of the time.  But who wouldn't be, if a Frenchman who doesn't speak much English had to explain the game IN English to a Chilean who’s English is also a bit sketchy? 

That dilemma, consequently, makes most of our conversations pretty interesting, not to mention funny!  Spanish, French, and English all going on at the same time and not two people know enough of any two languages to function completely... 

Anyway...enough of the small talk.  The subject for my story is "Soy una bruja", which means "I'm a witch."   

At least that's what C. says... 

One day early last week I had a dream...but I didn't tell anyone about it – absolutely no one.  Then, a few days later, a friend of mine had a dream about the same subject.  When I found that out, I told C., because I thought that maybe it was a sign of some sort.  All he said was "Guaguis, you are a witch."  He was joking, of course...

But the very next day, after I told him about the dream and after he said that, something else happened. 

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but there is a lady that always calls the hotel here to speak to Senora Rosita.  It's the Senora's sister.  Well, this woman, by everyone's account, is not nice.  N. equates her to Cruella DeVille.  Consequently, she has never been nice to me on the phone, even though all I've ever done was try to help her, and she even called me "tonta" once, which means "stupid." 

I've been called a few things in my life, but "stupid" was never one of them.  When I told N. about it, he called her to make sure that she wouldn't do it again...although he's not quite as, um, tactful, as I would be... 

Well, on this particular day, after the "you're a witch" statement, I found out that the woman happens to be our next door neighbor!  She owns the Manutara hotel. 

Before he got too strong, we used to let Tonti run around loose at times so he could get out all his excess energy and get some exercise.  The reason we had to stop was because she complained...because he would wander onto the hotel grounds and the guests, of course, would be scared just at the sight of him. 

C. and I were walking around town with one of his friends, and he was the one who informed us that our next door neighbor at the Manutara was this very same woman.  She used to run the school, and all the kids used to call her "Doberman."  Apparently she is not well liked around here... 

Well, when I found that out I joked, "Then we should let Tonti loose...'oops...'!"  We laughed then passed on to the next subject. 

When I came home from work that night, I walked into our kitchen.  The door was wide open, but blocked off by the two brooms spread across making an x, like a gateway or something.  Inside was only Lea, alone, playing at the table.  I thought that was rather strange...and then I found out why. 

I had sat down at one of the seats to rest and was playing with Lea when suddenly Tonti appeared just outside of the door.  There he sat, panting. 

I have to admit, I was afraid for a moment.  Tonti doesn't like children, so I didn't know what he would do, or if he would do anything.  But he didn't seem to be angry at all, so after a while I figured it was safe.  Still, I wasn't about to let her go outside. 

Then Gotz came in, right past Tonti, and Tonti didn't do anything.  So then, I knew that we were safe.  It turned out that when Gotz and his family came home at about 6:00 that day, he was already loose.  He didn't bother them at all, except for when Gotz brought out some food to take to the kitchen...then, of course, Tonti jumped for it.  But that was all. 

And, apparently, Tonti at some point had been wandering around the hotel next door... 

So, I am a witch.  When C. said that, I told him, "No, I'm a wizard..."  ; ) 

Anyway, take care everyone!  I hope to talk to you all soon! 

Aloha, ~Ulu 

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Date:    Jan 25, 2001    I came [ ] this close...

Iorana!  I hope everyone out there is feeling happy and content.  : ) 

Of course, I have a story to tell, otherwise I wouldn't be writing, would I?  Let me first start by saying "Don't Worry!  Everything's fine now..." 

Ok.  Here goes. 

Yesterday, as we have deemed all Wednesday's to be "Adventure Days", we decided to go snorkeling.  Or, as C. calls it, "diving."  We had planned it a couple of days in advance, and I told him that was something I wanted to do before I leave.  However, I also told him that I just wanted to go and look - I didn't want to go when he would be fishing.  I had heard that many times when they go diving for fish, they have to watch out for sharks because the sharks want to get to the catch.  Well, I'm not a very strong swimmer, and frankly I am nowhere near as confident in the water as anyone who lives here, so I didn't want to have that to watch out for also. 

Well, in classic C. fashion, he listened to the "I want to go" part, but not to the "when you're not fishing" part. 

Our little adventure party ended up consisting of C. and me, Pao and Damien, and Pajaro.  I've mentioned Pajaro before, but in the very beginning.  He's in the mid-thirty range and is a painter also, however his age and experience has led to more success with his painting.  He's sold a few to museums.  And, he's also an amazing fisherman.  There have been times when they went fishing together, and C. caught zip while Pajaro caught 10 - in the exact same spot. 

Anyway, to a fisherman, the word "diving" means one thing only - you are intending to catch something.  There is no such thing as going snorkeling just to see the sights... 

So of course they searched around for a good spot to fish in...never mind if it wasn't exactly safe for the rest of us non-fishermen. 

We ended up at this tiny little cove a little way down from Anakena.  You would have to swim about a mile or more to get to the beach from where we were.  I was really scared.  I didn't want to go in.  I knew that they would be fishing, and the ocean wasn't exactly flat.  But C. kept prodding me, and I figured that this would be my only opportunity, so I went. 

It was difficult getting out of this little cove.  The entrance was very shallow, and there were urchins on some of the rocks that we swam over.  And, because it was shallow, what little waves there were broke right at the smallest part of the entrance.  Getting out into the ocean was a little bit difficult, but C. was right in front of me and as long as I could see him I was okay. 

We swam around for a little while as C. and Pajaro went searching under all the rocks for anything worth spearing.  Pajaro was pretty much off by himself, and Pao is a little adventurous too, so he would go off on his own a little here and there.  I stuck like glue to C..  I was scared, there wasn't anything really great to see, and I really didn't want to be out there anymore. 

I must have been out for only a half hour when I finally motioned to C. that I wanted to go back.  I figured that since they were fishing, they would be out for a long time, and I knew that I could not stay in the water nearly as long as them.  I am not a strong swimmer, and I was already getting cold and tired, and I knew that the longer I waited the further away we would be from the entrance back into the cove.  So he swam with me back to the entrance and said "just go in right there."  And then he was gone. 

So I did.  But the backwash kept pushing me back out.  As hard as I tried, I could not get in.  I tried going with the wave, but the backwash would always get me before I could get all the way in.  Each time my body was passing within inches of rocks with urchins on them.  I was getting more and more nervous. 

Finally, I tried again and got caught right where the wave broke.  It didn't toss me around or anything, but all I could see was white, and I got really scared.  So I swam back out into deeper water away from the waves.

By Universal law, in any situation no matter what the circumstances are, there is one thing that you should never do:  Panic. 

Guess what I did. 

C. and the others were long gone.  I didn't have the strength to try again, nor to go find them.  I was scared because I was all alone and there seemed to be absolutely no other way to get on to the shore.  I completely freaked out. 

When you are in a state of panic, the stupidest things make sense.  I saw some rocks on the side of the entrance to the cove.  One of them was big and flat and looked safe.  So I swam to it.  But before I could get to it, a wave came and thrust me right into another rock - this one partially filled with urchins. 

I grabbed on to a couple of ledges for dear life.  I had no idea where all the urchins were, whether or not I had gotten any spines stuck in me, and I had no idea of what to do from here. 

Then another wave came. 

To be perfectly honest, I don't know if it overpowered me, or if I simply surrendered to it.  All I know is that I could not see any way out of this situation.  I could not stay where I was, and I could not see a safe way to continue on.  I had never been so afraid in my life.  I truly cannot recall any other time in my life when I was so completely in Fear. 

The wave tossed me around a lot.  I remember hitting rocks, but I don't remember on what parts of my body I hit the rocks.  Just a few short seconds later, I ended up next to a large, flat rock whose surface was just above water.  I quickly got on top and took off my fins and mask. Then I looked in horror as another wave approached. 

Thankfully, those same rocks that I had just been tossed around upon now protected me from the most turbulent part of that wave.  It was only then that I realized that the wave had deposited me in a safe little inlet, with a dry shore just a couple of feet away. 

With wobbly legs and only one thought in mind – “it's okay, it's okay, it's okay” – I made it those couple of feet and sat against a rock wall in a completely dry spot, protected from the water and the wind. 

There was blood streaming from my knee down my left leg.  As I sat there and cleaned off the blood, I started to cry.  I was all alone, and angry at C. for leaving me there. 

I sat there for about 5 minutes or so.  I was on the opposite side of the cove from where the car was, and I still had to walk all the way around to get back there.  So, once I was done crying, I got up and started making my way over.  I must have looked like a pony when it's first born and it's legs are still wobbly...I was shaking all over from the fear, but to keep my sanity and my focus I just kept saying "it's okay, it's okay, it's okay..." 

Just then I saw Pao trying to come back in also.  He had the same dilemma as I did, and was having a very difficult time getting back into the cove.  Finally he made it, but not without a scrape of his own, also on his knee.  When he saw me he came ashore and then realized that I was not happy.  As soon as he asked what was wrong, the tears came flowing again. 

We made it back around to the car and by then I had calmed down enough.  We cleaned our wounds, then sat and talked while we waited for the fishermen to come back in, which happened to be only about 45 minutes later. 

But of course, Pajaro and C. made it back into the cove, no problem. 

By then I had calmed down enough to put up the brave front.  And I wasn't mad at C. anymore, since I knew that he would feel badly once he found out what happened.  I didn't want him to feel bad, so I figured there was no need to try and rub it in by being angry.  All I told him when I saw him was "Please don't ever leave me alone like that again." And then I told him what happened. 

The Gods were definitely watching out for me.  I managed to walk away from the entire event with only a surface cut on my knee, and several small cuts and scrapes over the rest of my shins and my palms, and a big 'ole bruise on the left side of my butt.  (I guess there's a purpose for all that padding after all...)  No urchin spikes what-so-ever.  I got really, really lucky.   

For the time being I can't sleep on my left side because of the bruise, and because the muscles from my butt to my knee hurt.  Sometimes I have to limp when I walk because of the muscles, and sometimes it's also difficult to go up or down steps, depending on the size of it.  Also, I somehow strained my right shoulder, right at the joint to the arm, so that hurts when I put any pressure on it, like lifting myself out of a chair or something.  I guess no push-ups in my immediate future... 

And, as if I didn't have enough to watch out for on my left side, I went and got another tattoo today above my left ankle.  I looked so silly today!  I had a band-aid on my right palm, a "rapa nui" band aid on my left middle finger (two pieces of scotch tape and a post-it in the middle over the cut), a piece of saran wrap taped around my left leg to keep the dirt off of my new tattoo, and this weeping wound on my left knee (which I keep uncovered simply because I don't have anything appropriate to cover it with.  But I keep medicine on it at all times, and it's still weeping and getting all the stuff out, so that's a good sign.  It's healing very quickly.)  Whenever I felt a little down, all I had to do was think about how silly I must have looked... : ) 

So what did I learn from all this?  First of all, I'm NEVER going diving with C. again.  It's not that he's careless or anything like that... it's just that he's confident in the water, and things like the backwash spitting me back out are not an issue for him.  He is experienced, and when you are experienced you tend not to realize that the things you consider to be simple are not simple to someone else.  If I ever go with him again, it's not going to be when he's spear fishing, and it's going to be with a lot more "amateurs" so I have someone to stick with. 

Secondly, I have a much better idea now of what a "safe" spot to enter and exit the ocean looks like... 

Third, I'm reinforcing in my mind that “Do Not Panic” rule. 

And, of course, never go towards the rocks.  I know, I know...please spare me the lectures.  All I have to do is try to turn a little to the left to remember that lesson. 

And yes, I have prayed and given thanks for keeping me safe.  A lot. 

And yes, C. has been taking good care of me ever since. 

So, like I said in the beginning, don't worry.  Everything's okay.  : )  …but maybe I should stick to shore fishing from now on. 

Well, I'll talk to you all later! 

Aloha, ~Ulu

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Date:    Jan 25, 2001    Tonti


I just wanted to clear the air a bit, because I've been mentioning Tonti a lot in my recent e-mails, and I realize that I make him out to be somewhat of a beast.  He's not.  Well, he sure does look like one...If I didn't know him and saw him walking around free, I would definitely be scared.  But he's been really sweet lately and has behaved very well. 

He's only about 1 year old.  He's a full sized puppy!  It's apparent in his behavior.  He's always got a lot of energy and the appetite of a bear, but I think that must be because he's tied up all day so he doesn't have the chance to exert himself. 

Tonti has his own little house now.  He didn't have one when I first arrived here.  C. just made it about 2 months ago.  He was so happy when they first put it up!  He went inside all day and wouldn't come out. At first it wasn't very well protected from the rain, so he still had to run under the cube house in the backyard whenever that happened, but now it doesn't rain much, so his little dog house is okay. 

There's this one little dog that has always come to play with him.  C. calls him Kittrie.  I don't know why.  But I think that they have a love-hate relationship, because sometimes Tonti truly attacks Kittrie, and he squeals like he's being hurt and has to run away.  And, at other times, Kittrie comes up to one of us and if we pet him, Tonti will get incredibly jealous, and I think Kittrie knows that, which is why he always comes to us in front of Tonti.  So now I don't pet Kittrie anymore.

And if I do, I will only do it when Tonti cannot see it.  

I wish that I was here when Tonti was a puppy.  I would have played with him a lot then, and maybe now he would be a little bit gentler.  For the longest time I was afraid to go near him because he's so big and I didn't know how to handle him.  I was afraid that he would knock me over when I tried to pet him, since he has a tendency to jump at anyone who comes near him. 

I finally knew that I could trust Tonti on Christmas Eve.  I was walking back to C.'s mothers shop after work.  I walked into the yard of the shop and didn't bother to look around me.  All of a sudden I saw something out of the corner of my eye something charging at me! Luckily I was just out of the range of his rope.  I screamed before I realized that it was Tonti.  Once it registered in my brain, I quickly noticed that he wasn't barking – he was simply jumping.  Barking means he's scared; jumping means he wants to play.  So from that moment on I knew that he trusted me, and that now I could trust him.  I immediately got close enough and started to pet him, and he stayed calm for me.  : )  I was so happy! 

Since then I have lost all fear around him.  However, Tonti is considerably fiercer when he's tied up than when he's loose.  I think that maybe it's because when he's loose, everything is on his terms, and therefore he doesn't need to be afraid of anything.  But when he's tied up, whatever he's capable of ends at the extent of his rope.  And, no matter what the case, Tonti will always prefer the company of C. over anyone else.  He'll stay with me if C. is not there, but once C. arrives, he's like a slingshot straight for him. 

I was extremely proud of Tonti the other day when he got loose.  He behaved himself so well, especially since the first people to arrive home that day were Gotz and his family, and Tonti is not quite so familiar with them. 

We've always been afraid about how Tonti behaves around children.  When Tonti was a puppy he was very, very sick and these two boys came and teased him and threw rocks at him.  Now Tonti is psychologically scarred and consequently barks and gets aggressive whenever he sees children.  That's why we were very worried when Lea arrived.  She's only 4, and at first he did bark at her.  But that day he got loose, nothing happened.  I was in the kitchen with Lea, and Tonti stayed outside of the door like he was told, and made no aggressive moves towards Lea. 

When Tonti was a puppy, he walked into the house one day while C. was in the shower.  C. told him to come in, and so he did.  Since then, Tonti has never been afraid of the shower or water like most dogs.  And whenever Tonti does get loose and comes into the house, he always heads straight for the bathroom. 

I remember one time I was taking a shower and I heard panting like a dog.  At first I thought it was C. or the TV...after I got out C. told me that Tonti had gotten in, and I saw all the dirty paw prints on the floor.  At that point I'm not sure what I would have done if he had come into the shower...  Hmmm...  But he didn't.  I guess he knew that it wasn't C. in there, so he turned around and walked back out. 

Anyway, I was very proud of Tonti again because the other day when he was loose he didn't come into the house like he normally would.  He stayed outside of the door.  He was a very good dog that day.  I walked outside with him and petted him a lot as we waited for C. to arrive home.  It was nice to know that it was okay for him to be loose that day, but, no matter how much I would want to, we could not leave him loose overnight.  And realistically, C. is the only one that could get him tied up again. 

C. went to investigate, and found that Tonti's leather collar had simply come off.  Tonti had pulled and tugged so many times that the little metal pin of the buckle that goes into the hole (like a belt) actually bent, and once it bent enough, the pin came out of the hole in the strap and the collar just slipped right off. 

I wonder what that must have felt like for him - to all of a sudden be free, without any warning or anyone to "let" you loose...? 

I constantly feel badly for Tonti because I know it's not fun living most of your life on a leash. I can imagine how small his world must feel, having only 5 feet in any direction to wander about.  I want to let him loose more often, but C. is the one who has to control him, so it's all his decision. 

Anyway, I just wanted to set the record straight.  I've never had a dog, but I feel like Tonti is mine too, even if it's just for a few months.  I will miss him when I leave.  I wonder if he'll miss me too...? 

Well, that's all folks.  Talk to you later. 



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Date:    Jan 26, 2001    Enter Ki., stage left...

Aloha hou!  It's me again....  : )

A good friend of ours named Ki. arrived here last week Friday.  He's from Hawai‘i also, and in fact is one of the conspirators in arranging C.'s and my first meeting. 

Ki. is a very likable guy.  I've always enjoyed his company, so I'm very happy that he's here now.  So are a lot of people on the island.  He's got many friends here... so many that he actually has his choice of who he can stay with whenever he visits. 

Last Saturday Ki. came over to bring us some goodies and hang out for a while.  He and C. got to drinking, and Ki. ended up staying the night.  That was the only time when we can honestly say that every bed in the lot was full! 

At first, when the night was early, all the young 'uns were here.  When I got home from work Ki. was here with C. and Flaco.  Damien was here because that was still one of his "stay-at-home-due-to-sunburn" days.  So, C. made dinner while Flaco, Ki., Damien and I had an English lesson.  (I'm trading Flaco English lessons for a painting...pretty good deal, don't you think?) 

Flaco had to leave right after dinner.  The rest of us stayed and talked.  I wanted to go to Toroko, but C. ruled that out once they had started drinking because we had enough money to get inside, but he didn't have enough money to drink once we got there. 

All this time I've been making my list of Rapa Nui words and comparing them to Hawaiian words, and it turns out that Ki. already knows more than I do.  He's very good with languages, and can already form sentences in Rapa Nui .  He's taken other Polynesian language classes, so he can recognize the similarities in grammar to Rapa Nui .  In listening to them talk, I felt like my little list was worth less than nothing in the grand scheme of things. 

Anyway, the more they drank the less interesting it got for me, so I turned in.  The next day, Ki. and I talked again. He said that he was a little excited to be here because now he could be one of the characters in my little soap opera via e-mail.  I told him that was a guarantee...  : )  But given that Tapati is about to begin, I'm sure he'll do something way more interesting for me to talk about than this little story here... 

One of the first things Ki. asked C. when he met up with him earlier the day before was "Who's Flaco?"  And Flaco happened to be right behind him at the time.  He said it was because Flaco appears in almost all of my stories, like that neighbor who's always there in any TV show.  Once Flaco found out that he was "known", he got kind of nervous, but then Ki. assured him that I've only said good things.  But to be honest, I still think Flaco's a little bit nervous about it. 

It's funny, because one of the first things K asked me when she got here was "Who's Flaco?"  I never realized how much he appears in my stories...  : ) 

And, most ironically, C. has no idea of what I say in these e-mails.  I've never shown any to him.  He, he, he... 

Anyway, I guess that's all for now!  I'll try and send more details about Tapati.  It officially begins tomorrow... 

Talk to you all soon! 

Aloha!  ~Ulu

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Date:    Jan 27, 2001    Tapati - days 1 and 2

Iorana tatou! 

I just wanted to share a short report with all of you of what's been happening so far. 

In case any of you have forgotten or somehow passed over my description in previous e-mails, Tapati is the Rapa Nui annual cultural festival.  This year it's about 10 days long, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 4.  During this time there are numerous competitions, many of which draw much attention. 

The official ceremony began last night at about 10 p.m.   They've been setting up the main stage and all the food booths (hare mauku) at that park across the street from Toroko.  Supposedly all the food booths opened at around 6 p.m. in preparation...which was very smart because people started making their way over there very early yesterday. 

I got off work at 9 p.m. , so I quickly wrapped a pareo around my legs for a skirt, and headed on down there with C. and another friend, T.. 

Everyone on the island was there.  It was the ONLY place to be last night... 

The show started, surprisingly, on time at 10:00.  The stage, which Flaco had designed and built the set for (with a little bit of C.'s help), was lighted up in blue and orange, and looked very impressive.  It was something that you would never expect to see here on Rapa Nui ...It was just like anything you would expect to see at the Blaisdell Concert Hall for "Phantom of the Opera" or something – It looked very professional. 

The show started with one player coming out in ceremonial dress with his entire body painted, telling and acting out a story all in the Rapa Nui language.  Then the other players appeared from out of the darkness on the side of the stage, also all in dress, with torches.  They all jogged in a line across towards the stage and joined the lone player already there. 

It was amazing.  There were 'natives' with fire torches, the sky clear with all the stars showing above, and a very small crescent moon off to the side.  And, to top it off, there were a few shooting stars.  I guess the Gods decided to show their approval too... 

Once the skit was over, the two emcees came out and spoke in only Spanish and Rapa Nui .  After that the reigning Tapati Queen 2000 came out and spoke.  Then they introduced the contestants for this years contest (none of which I know), then Matato‘a came out to perform. 

Matato‘a is probably Rapa Nui 's most famous musical group.  They've got 2 or 3 CD's out and have played engagements all over Chile and I think in Tahiti as well.  And from what I’ve heard prior to last night, they are very good live. 

They came out all in ceremonial dress also, and with them a dance troupe of maybe 40 men and women.  The dancers performed to all of Matato‘a's songs.  It was a great show.  Unfortunately I was too far away to really see the dances and be able to take mental notes...  But towards the end we found a good spot close up to take pictures from.  (They didn't come out...sorry!)

After that they took a break while another music group called Topatangi came out to play.  But they lacked all the dancers, so unfortunately their performance paled in comparison. 

The show ended at about 1:00 or so.  Then C. and I hooked up with A. and Ti. and headed for the food tent.  Just as we got under and tent and sat down at a table to order, it started raining, hard.  We were very lucky that we had great timing last night... 

The rain cleared out most of the people that couldn't get under the food tents in time...but that greatly benefited the Toroko discotheque right across the street...The place was absolutely packed last night!  With more tourists than normal, of course... 

Today's events consisted of the women's and men's swimming competitions, and the "regatta." I missed the women's swimming because frankly, I didn't have a clue about the schedule.  And the only reason we caught the men's competition was because we were looking for Ki. and happened to find him at the pier, which was the starting point. 

It turns out that Ki. entered the race, and since C. had unwittingly gone there to look for him, he got roped into competing at the last second. 

They all got into motor boats and were taken out to a point, maybe 100 yards out from the rocks, here at the beach in town.  I think the entire swim was something like a 100 meters...(I don't know exactly, because I have no concept of what a meter is, but it looked to me to be maybe a little more than 500 yards.  Not too far.) 

Well, although they allow "non-Rapa Nui" to compete, only a Rapa Nui person is allowed to win.  The first to arrive in was a Tahitian named Maui .  Second was Hawai‘i 's very own Ki. Kuoha.  The first Rapa Nui was Pancho, arriving in third.  But because he qualifies, he took first place.  C. was 4th place (so three places after Pancho, which really means 7th, and I pretty much think he was the last one.) 

C. was dying when he got out.  I knew he would be.  He had competed once before, and he told me that when he was done, he was so dizzy that he couldn't even remember who he talked to or what he said, or anything.  And he felt like throwing up...  He felt the same after today's race. 

A. put it best when she said to me "Surfing and Swimming are very different.  All of these guys are surfers, and they THINK they can swim..." 

By the way, A. took first place by a very big margin in the women's race.  She also said that if she were competing with the men, she probably would have won that also.  I believe it. She's pretty much the only person around here who swims every day, male or female, so the race was much too easy for her.  Well, maybe the Tahitian man would have at least given her a little bit of a challenge... 

Ti. didn't swim, he says because of his knee.  He had a brace on it today, so.... 

Ki. says that he's going to train so he can compete again next year. 

Anyway, this afternoon was supposed to be the "regatta", which is a paddling race.  I don't know what happened.  We didn't go.  But they also have a women's and men's competition for that. 

Tonight there's supposed to be another big event at the main stage.  We'll see if it's as big as last night... 

That's it so far!  I'll keep you guys updated! 


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Date:    Jan 28, 2001    Tapati – days 2 and 3

Iorana again! 

Here's more of my daily least I'm trying my best to do it daily while I still can. My last day working here at the hotel is this coming Tuesday, Jan. 30th, so after that I won't have guaranteed internet connection anymore.  But my friend T. will be taking over my job while she's here, so luckily she'll let me sneak into the hotel office at night and send my mail.  : ) 

Anyway, I never bothered to find out the exact details about how Tapati works and what's the purpose and everything, so I'm just going with the flow and picking up whatever information happens to drift in my I'm sorry if at times I sound a little bit I know I probably will in today's letter. 

I just found out yesterday afternoon that all of the competitions during Tapati are designed to win points for the Queen.  There are only 2 women running for Queen this year, and so in all of the other competitions, people compete in the name of one of the contestants for Queen.  Whatever points that person wins in that particular competition goes towards the queenly candidate.  So, for example...yesterday when C. got roped into the swim contest, it was because each queen was supposed to have 5 people swimming for her team.  As it turned out, there were only 5 Rapa Nui contestants that finished the race.  All the rest got tired and jumped into the boats halfway.  How sad is that? 

Anyway, all 5 that finished the race were racing in the name of the same queen candidate.  So that means that the other queen candidate didn't get any points for that competition. 

Did I explain that clearly?  Does it make sense to you? 

To go on...yesterday's regatta that I mentioned turned out to be the children's division.  I guess they were all the race wasn't that long.  Today they are currently (at this very moment) having the adult division, in which they paddle the canoes from Tahai back into the beach here in town.  They have men’s and women’s races.  Unfortunately I can't say any more about that since I'm stuck here in the office...  sorry. 

Last night's "big show" turned out to be not so big after all.  It started out much the same way as the first 10:30 the lights on the stage flashed and they played thunder sounds, then the two emcees came out and announced what was about to happen. 

Following that was the fashion show.  It's supposed to be a competition where they dress in ceremonial attire and show it off and they have to explain what each thing they're wearing represents.  But there turned out to be only 3 contestants, so the show was really short.  We didn't even see it because we had sat down to eat before the show began, and it was already over by the time we were done eating.  And all we ate were empanadas...  (For those of you who don't know what empanadas are, just know that they take about 2 minutes to eat...). 

After that they had two more local groups play music.  I really liked the second guy...I hope I can find his CD before I leave. 

Side note:  Rumor has it that Matato‘a is supposed to release another CD before the end of Tapati.  We'll see...   

The incredibly short fashion show resulted in the entire show ending very early, at 11:30 , which is way too early for anyone in Rapa Nui to be left with nothing to Toroko opened up early.  I have to give them credit...they're pretty smart... 

Luckily the food booths (hare mauku) stay open way into the night...I don't know exactly when they close, but I'm assuming it's when most of the people finally leave.  So after the show we just stayed right where we were and talked and hang out for a few hours.  We got home very early, probably at about 1:30 or so. 

By the way, I have 3 new words for you:  Empanada de Atun.  On the very first night we went to this one vendor and they were selling empanadas, among other things.  Empanadas consist of a bread pocket filled with meat and some other things, like a little bit of onions, a part of an egg and an olive.  (I don't know the exact recipie...)  But this place was offering cheese empanadas (which I also LOVE), and Tuna (Atun) empanadas.  THEY ARE SOOO GOOOD!!!  Yum...  We've eaten at that same place 3 times already, and in fact, we haven't even bothered to eat anywhere else because the tuna empanadas are so good!  And they're only 1000 pesos (like $2).  And, for those of you who don't know, they have an abundance of Atun (Tuna fish,‘ahi in hawaiian, or kahi in Rapa Nui ) in the ocean here, so all the atun that you see here is fresh, caught locally.  That's why it's so cheap. 

Ki. only discovered them last night, at our recommendation.  I think he went back about 3 times within the next 2 hours... 

Today there was a cooking contest.  C.'s mom entered her award-winning ceviche.  This is the very same contest that she has won twice already.  I don't know the results of today's contest...they hadn’t announced anything before we left today. 

After the cooking contest they simultaneously commenced with the carving, necklace-making, and reed boat making contests.  Again, I had to leave before the conclusion of that one, but I managed to get a couple of pictures of all the people busy at their crafts. 

I've also missed the adult regatta today because I was at work. 

Here's a bit of gossip...Axel Rose of Guns-n-Roses is on the island.  He arrived yesterday.  We saw him at the event last night.  He must have been only 50 feet or less away from us, but we didn't ask for autographs or anything.  There were already a bunch of kids asking for pictures....  I didn't go to Toroko after, so I don't know if he appeared there or not. 

Tonight there is supposed to be a big dancing and singing competition...hopefully I can make it.  Of all days, the flight arriving tonight is late, so I may have to stay late at work...ugh.  But I'll let you all know what happens! 


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Date:    Jan 29, 2001    Tapati - days 3 & 4

Iorana!  How's everything going with all of you today? 

Here's today's Tapati update...

Last night was supposed to be a really big show.  In fact, it was a really long show. 

First of all, for the first time so far this week, the event began late.  But it was worth the wait. 

They started with the first dance group.  Apparently there are 4 sections of dancers - the kids (first the really young ones, then the older ones), the teens & young adults, then the older adults.  I don't exactly know how the age breakdown works...

Anyway, the kids were incredibly cute, of course!  I'm glad I got to see that!  I took a couple of pictures...and Ki. most graciously offered to let me sit on his shoulders so I could get those pictures.  (I'm so short I couldn't see anything otherwise...) 

After that they had the older kids, and they were really good!  Their performance was really entertaining, and had everyone screaming from the crowd! 

Once they were done, the plane arrived, so I had to leave to go back to the hotel to welcome the guests.  Luckily I didn't miss anything while I was away... 

During that hour that I was gone, they had individuals singing with and accordion as their accompaniment.  Yes, this is actually a part of the contest.  But it also happened to be incredibly boring.  I could hear everything that was going on down there from the hotel, so I know that I didn't miss any dancers as yet...  And, during those performances, everyone took the opportunity to go eat and talk story. 

Finally, at about 1:30 , the dancing started up again with the young adults groups.  These groups are supposed to be the best ones, but all of the accordion playing had really taken a lot of the life out of everyone, so a lot of the people had lost their attention by then and were off somewhere else or they just plain left early.  I left just as the first group in this category started to dance. 

I don't know how long the contest went on after that, but supposedly the dance contest is supposed to continue tonight.  The dance competition is by far the longest and probably most exciting part of all the competitions. 

Unfortunately C. had to work last night, so I went to the event with some other friends. But for some reason it just wasn't as much fun without him there with me...  hmmm...  that's why I left early. 

The competitions seem to have slowed down a bit today...the only events today was a diving (for fish) contest, which you can't really watch anyway because they're underwater; and a moai carving contest where they have to carve a moai out of a log.  I didn't go to either because I was really tired, so I just ended up staying home all day. 

I think that being out in the sun all day everyday is draining everyone out.  People are starting to choose their homes over the events...saving themselves for the night events only. 

Also, some of the food vendors have already made enough money to satisfy themselves, so they're starting to close up shop a little bit earlier at night than they did in the beginning...I don't blame them.  They've been working days and nights since it started, and that's not pleasant work, especially in all this heat of summer. 

Wednesday and Thursday are going to be big days, with the Haka Pei (sliding down the hill on the banana stump) and the Tau‘a (race in Rano Raraku), respectively.  Then the big finale happens on Saturday night, with the crowning of this year's queen and all that. 

There are some events scheduled for Sunday also, but I don't know what that's about.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see... 

I'll talk to you all again soon! 


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Date:    Feb 1, 2001    Tapati - days 4, 5, 6 & 7

Wow...can you believe that I've neglected to write for the last 4 days?  I guess I have a lot to catch up on...I hope I can remember everything. 

I think I left off telling all of you about Monday's daytime events.  Well, Monday night's show turned out to be very interesting.  It was the "Takona", which is the event where competitors paint their bodies with various motifs, and must go on stage and explain what each symbol means.  At first the young boys went.  They were really good!  In fact, I enjoyed them much more than the adults... 

What they do is the come out onto the stage individually, and the act out a part...for example, if they have warrior motifs painted on them, then they come out all fierce and speak like a warrior, so it's sort of like they're telling a story while they're describing the meaning of the symbols.  It was pretty cool, and the kids were just so entertaining! 

C. went down early because he got recruited to help paint the people.  I'm so proud of him...  : )  He painted at least half of all the people that competed that night. 

After the boys competition was done, they had a group singing competition.  There were only 2 groups, which was a good thing.  They each sang only 2 songs, but that was good because the songs were long.  The groups were dressed in ceremonial attire, and they kneeled on the ground as they sang acapella some traditional song.  The melodies and everything were really great, but if it had lasted any longer I'm sure it would have gotten very boring. 

After that the men's Takona competition began.  Of course, the men do a much better job than the children, but in a way that made it a little bit less entertaining.  More professional, less cute I guess.  But still, they did a very good job. 

There was even one woman who went out.  But I don't know if she was technically competing or not. 

When the Takona was done, Matato‘a played again.  They rocked! 

Small kine drama the end of their show, they played the song "Here Ma‘ohi", which is a really good dance song, and everyone likes it.  The group had somewhere along the line picked up a Chilean (well, he must be Chilean because he's definitely not Rapa Nui ) bass guitarist to play with them.  So at the very end of their song, this bass guitarists starts to pluck a couple of extra cords that aren't supposed to be there.  The song was totally over, the dancers had already struck their last position on the stage...and here was this bass guitarist sounding a bit like he was about to embark on his own little hard rock "let's show everyone what I can do" personal concert.  But the group lead singer cut him off by saying "Maururu" (Thank You), and they started up with the next song. 

So, this bass guitarist goes to the other side of the stage to pick up his guitar case.  Now the next song has already begun, and the dancer in the front is dancing...and this guy just walks right in front of the dancer to go back to his guitar.  On stage.  He puts his guitar away then walks around the back and leaves the stage. 

Now you can see everyone in the group and all the dancers giving each other strange looks because it's obvious that this guy just threw a hissy fit, right?  But the show was still going on and they were still right in the middle of another song...

So one of the guys in the back, I think, goes to talk to him, and he eventually comes back, plugs his guitar back in, and plays for like one verse because the song was almost over by then.  And, it's very obvious when you hear a song without a bass guitar, then all of a sudden one appears out of nowhere... 

So anyway, it took me a while but I think I figured out what happened...  Axel Rose from Guns n' Roses was there that night.  That's a proven fact.  So I'm thinking that this guy wanted to show off for Axel, but the band wouldn't let him go off and ruin the show, which is why he threw his little fit. 

And this is why I say that this guy must have been Chilean.  He was definitely not Rapa Nui , because Rapa Nui people never show off for anybody.  They're just not like that.  Showing off is just not something that they ever feel compelled to do.  Plus he was white and blonde. 

So anyway...back to the Tapati.  

This guy in no way ruined the show...because Matato‘a kept playing for a while after that because the crowd kept clapping...and eventually kids started to get up on stage to dance with the dancers, and before you knew it, the stage was full of kids and even some adults having their own little dance class to many, many versions of "Here Ma‘ohi".  It was pretty darn cool...the kind of thing that could only happen in a place like this. 

By the way, for those of you who don't know, Matato‘a is probably Rapa Nui 's most popular and at this point most successful bands.  They've played engagements in Chile and in Tahiti .  Some guy now even wants to promote them in England .  I'm sure they'd be just as popular in Hawai‘i . 

I can't say much about the next day, Tuesday, because I didn't go to any of the events.  Apparently there was a horse race, but that's not actually part of the the Tapati.  It's independent, but they just do it during the festival, maybe to get attention? 

And, by the way, C.'s mother's ceviche won for the cooking contest.  That makes 3 wins for her now. 

Tuesday night was supposed to be another dance competition with the upa upa competition in between the dancing.  The upa upa is the accordian, like that other night I talked about in a previous e-mail.  But, just as the first section of the upa upa was starting, it began to rain so the rest of the show got cancelled.  That was about 11:30 p.m.   I didn't go that night because we had a party at our house for Ti. and Ki., who are both leaving this week.  (In fact, Ki. left tonight.) 

Wednesday was a big day for events, but unfortunately for C. and I came across some very bad luck.  Or rather, very bad timing. 

There was nothing going on earlier in the day.  The only events scheduled were the Haka Pei at 5 p.m. , and the reenactment of Hotu Matu‘a and Avarei Pua's arrival at Anakena Beach at 7 p.m.   Both are very big events. 

The Haka Pei is where the competitors are tied to 2 banana tree stumps that have been pinned and tied together, and they slide down a very steep hill, one at a time.  This event is very dangerous, as majority of the time people are hurt (broken limbs or something), and once someone even died.  So basically, you'd have to be very brave and just a little bit crazy to do it. There were 9 competitors. 

We went to Maunga Pui (the hill that they slide down) at about 4:00 or so.  C. wanted to go to the top to help paint the competitors, so we went.  I had, unfortunately, worn the wrong slippers out of the house.  I had on the really old ones that are all bald on the bottom, which made for a very dangerous climb up this very steep hill.  C. bolted up, and left me there alone...I was rather upset because it reminded me a lot of just one week earlier when he left me alone in the water to fend for myself, which resulted in my tussle on the rocks that you've all read about. 

So here I was climbing up the side of this hill in bald slippers trying hard not to slip but concentrating more on how upset I was at C. for leaving me...but that was what helped me to make it to the top.  I never really had to stop because I was tired or anything, only to find my next safe step. 

And for those of you who are wondering - No, I didn't take off my slippers because I have very flat feet so the pain of all the tough grass poking into my arches is almost unbearable...history will prove that I've always fared much better if I leave my slippers on.  I function much better that way. 

Once we made it to the top I bitched at C., but he just acted all cute and kept kissing me, so what could I do? 

Anyway, he took me over to where the competitors were gathered, and he went over to talk with them.  I stayed a little ways back because I felt like I really shouldn't be there, because this really is a "man thing."  But C. called me over so, as uncomfortable as I was, I went.  And all the competitors looked at me as I passed them...  The first thing I asked C. when I got there was whether or not it was okay for me to be there.  He said yes.  But I didn't feel right, so I just took our backpack from him then went back around to where I was before, on the outskirts, and sat and watched. 

I guess I was the first, because after that other local girls started coming around, and the competitors didn't tell them to leave...  By then I was thinking that I really didn't want to be sitting there all by myself the entire time, so I modestly picked up the backpack and went back to where C. was, and sat down and tried my best to be small and out of the way.  (I'm really good at that.) 

I felt very badly though, because I think that maybe my being there had started something.  Because, I obviously don't look like one of them and I certainly wasn't having anything to do with the competition, so I think when the tourists saw me there, they thought it was alright to come they came, and they came, and they came.  The competitors didn't say anything at first, but finally they had to because the people were starting to crowd around.  And of course, once the body painting started, they had to tell everyone to leave several times.  But you always have people who don't listen. 

I wanted to take pictures, but I felt like I shouldn't.  The competitors didn't seem to like all the tourists that were taking pictures from afar, and I felt like I was privileged to be there, so I left my camera in the bag.  But all the tourists wanted to get pictures of the men being painted, and kept getting closer and closer.  So the competitors and friends constantly had to chase them away. But there was one local girl who was taking pictures, and they tolerated her because she was Rapa Nui ...  Well, I wanted a picture of C. painting someone, so I took it.  The guy he was painting gave me a really dirty look, because out of all of them he was the one that was most upset about all the photos, but he didn't say anything because he knew that I was C.'s girlfriend.  I think that one is going to be a really good picture... 

And I know that the only reason they let me hang around is because I'm with C..  One of the guys even said so...when a tourist asked him why I get to stay, he said because I was “Ma‘ohi."  Yah, by association to C..... 

C. and I talked about it later, and he said that I was right to feel the way I did, because women are not supposed to be around there and people are not supposed to take pictures of that stuff.  But, he said that none of them would have said anything because they all knew that I was with him.  And he was the painter.  I guess he's somebody...  : ) 

Anyway, like I said before, the competition was supposed to begin at 5 p.m.   These guys only arrived there at 5.  The painting started at 6:15 .  They started to pin together the banana stumps at 7:00 .  So by now it was pretty obvious that the race was going to be incredibly late. And I thought that I had missed the thing at Anakena, which was supposed to be at 7 p.m.   And, while they were working on the banana stumps, they were still hauling more stumps up the hill with a cable and pulley...  With 9 competitors, you need 18 stumps. 

So once all the painting was done, C. and I headed down the hill.  We got to the bottom, and he ate a hot dog.  By then it was about 8 p.m.   We had to decide what to do.  They were still hauling stumps up the hill, so it looked like the race wouldn't happen for a while.  In our wisdom, we decided to head to Anakena. 

I told C., "I have the sinking feeling that we’re going to miss everything."  I was right. 

We got to Anakena, and although a lot of people were there, nothing was going on.  We saw A., and I asked her if everything was over.  She said yes.  So C. and I hung out on the beach for a while then went to look for a ride.  We figured we would just go home. 

So we got a taxi and as we headed away from Anakena, there were all these cars going towards it.  As we passed Maunga Pui (where the Haka Pei was) a bunch of cars were heading out of the lot there and going towards Anakena.  There were nowhere near that many people when we left there to go to Anakena, so we were kind of confused.  But we just kept going and went home anyway.  We told each other, "Let's just pretend that we didn't see that, and that everything went well, and that everyone is at home like us."  It was a nice joke. 

Today (Thursday), I found out that they had, at some time during the day, officially changed the time of the Haka Pei to 9 p.m., and the Hotu Matu‘a ceremony at Anakena to follow at 11 p.m.  Matato‘a played at Anakena after that.  (They had to change the time because one of the band members was competing in the Haka Pei ...)  C. and I somehow didn't get the message along with the other 3000 people that did. 

I was really bummed, because I really wanted to see the Hotu Matu‘a thing, probably more than anything else.  And, from what I hear, it was really good!  They had practiced it a lot, and it was a "chicken-skin" kind of show.  Especially now because it took place at night, so they had torches and everything. 

So I missed two of the biggest events of the Tapati.  Ugh. 

Today was another big event, the Rano Raraku (Tau‘a).  This one started on time, and I managed to be there to see it.   

The race at Rano Raraku is part swimming and part running.  The competitors use reeds, which are abundant in the lake there (Rano means lake).  They tie a bunch of reeds together into the shape of a canoe, then sit on it Japanese style (on their legs) and paddle using one canoe paddle across the lake.  Once they arrive at the end of the lake, they get out and drape 2 bunches of bananas over their shoulders and run all the way around the shore of the lake.  Then, they dump the bananas, run about a quarter of the way back around the lake then pick up a reed "paddle board", which is a bunch of reeds tied together into a small, flat, surfboard-sized raft, then run a quarter more of the way until they get to the entrance to the lake again, then jump in and lie on the reeds like you would a surfboard and paddle to the other end of the lake.  This, of all the competitions, takes the most training and the most endurance. 

First they had the boys, who only paddled across on the flat reed boards.  Then they had the girls who did the same.  After that, the boys went again, but this time with the canoe reed boat and the paddles.  Then, finally, they had the men's race, which is the only one where they do the entire course.  It was pretty neat, and goes a lot faster than you would think.  I’ve got pictures. 

Then tonight there was another big show down at the main stage.  Surprisingly, there were a lot of people there!  The place was packed when I arrived, which was right around midnight . 

Tonight was a signing competition.  2 large groups of singers sat facing each other, and each would take a turn singing a Rapa Nui song.  The singing goes back and forth all night...  I don't know how they determine who wins, or even how they know when to stop, but from what I hear, this thing will be going on till daybreak. 

The singing, however, was a lot of fun and wonderful to listen to!  These groups kept going back and forth, so there was constant, un-ending music! 

I left there tonight at about 2:30 a.m.   I've been sitting here writing this since I got's now about 5 a.m.   You put in a lot of late nights during the Tapati...that's why all the events start late the next day... he, he, he... 

Anyway, I'll try and write tomorrow if I can.  Tomorrow is the big parade down the center of town, and it is the prime picture taking opportunity!  This should be really interesting.  : ) 

Take care all!  I'll talk to you soon!  ~Ulu

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Date:    Feb 2, 2001    more about the food

In re-reading my previous e-mail about the food, I decided that there are many other small things that could be mentioned...some of them are kind of funny too.  So, I hope I can explain them with enough humor. 

Let's start with the traditional "small things" - the condiments. 

First of all, they use salt here like there's no tomorrow.  Salt and Lemon go hand in fact, after they've squeezed all the juice out of the lemon onto the food, they sprinkle some salt on the lemon and eat it, rind and all.  I tried it once.  I quickly discovered that it's an acquired taste... 

There are no salt shakers here.  Everyone puts their salt in an open dish and everyone pinches from that dish.  The only time you see salt shakers is in a restaurant or a hotel.  I really miss the shakers because the imagination soars when you start to think about all the individual fingers going into that salt...  But if you want salt, you have to go along with it. 

Plus when you have to pinch the salt, sometimes you end up grabbing more than you think you're grabbing.  That's not good. 

No one here really uses pepper.  It's a lost condiment.  That's kind of a bummer for me because I used to use it a lot at home.  But C. has this "Aliño Completo”, which has pepper, oregano, and a bunch of other spices in it, which I have come to rely on as a very tasty substitute.  In fact, if I can find it at home, I’ll use that from now on.  

When it comes to all the pasty kind of condiments, you can find everything here packaged in little packets, like the ketchup packets you get at a fast food restaurant, except that they're way bigger - mayonnaise, ketchup, tomato sauce, etc. all come in these super sized packets.  I don't prefer these because there's no way to close it.  You tear off a corner of the packet to get the stuff out, and you just have to leave it like that.  It's messy, and the stuff next to the opening gets dry...yuck.  I'm one of those people who always feel compelled to wipe the top of the ketchup bottle clean, so you can imagine that these packets nearly drive me crazy. 

The other option for packaging here are paper boxes, like the little juice boxes that you buy for your kids to drink.  They package all juices, milk, even tomato sauce in these little boxes...  Again, no proper way to close them...  They don't even have milk in cartons here.  In fact, most people here don't even buy real milk.  They buy powdered milk. 

The first time that C. bought cereal, I told him that we need milk to eat it with.  He said that we had.  It turned out that he was referring to the powdered milk at home...  "It says 'polva de leche'!"  (powder of milk)...  He still doesn't understand that it's just not the same.

On that note, they sell yogurt here in full sized bottles, and people can drink it like milk.  I don't get it... But C. bought that and put it on the cereal...I've grown accustomed to it, and in some ways I now prefer it to milk. 

One thing I do like is the crema de leche.  It's a cream, and they sell it here as a canned good.  At first I was a little weary about that, because canned goods usually don't need refrigeration, but I've eaten it a few times, and nothing's happened...  But here they use it a lot to cook with.  It's quite handy.  I never knew that there were so many things you could put cream on.  I hope I can find it at home too...but maybe the refrigerated version. 

They have shoyu here, but its Kikkoman...ick.  I brought a bottle of Aloha Shoyu, and I've been using it whenever we eat saimin because, frankly, the saimin absolutely needs the extra flavor.  And I still had a little bit left in the bottle.  It looked like it would be enough to get me through my last 2 weeks here.  But then, I think that someone used some for cooking, and in an effort to fit more things in the refrigerator, C. laid the bottle on its side.  Whoever used it last didn't put the cap back on tight (that's how I know that someone else used it...because I always put the caps back on tight) and most of what was left in the bottle spilled in the refrigerator.  You cannot even imagine how upset I was when I saw that!  I almost cried. 

Now all I have left of my Aloha Shoyu isn't even enough to flavor one bowl of saimin...and I still have 2 weeks left and there are 4 packets in the cupboard...  OH!  The sacrifices!!! 

Of course, they have a chili sauce that's really good with pretty much anything.  In fact, it's totally awesome on those ‘ahi empanadas I talked about in one of the tapati e-mails.  Did you ever notice that when you eat hot sauces, you begin not to taste the food anymore?  Yet, we still think of it as tasting good, and we still want to put more of the sauce...  hmmm... 

And then there's Pevre, which is that amazing salsa-like sauce that we all loved when we came here the first time.  I still love it just as much as I did in the beginning.  I've got the recipe...  This sauce is good on pretty much can even eat it on bread like a sandwich.  I've done that before... 

That's all I can think of for the condiments. 

Like all other European countries, they drink all their beverages here warm.  Of course, if it's cold they'll still drink it, and cold is even preferred if it's available, but they're not picky.  It really drives me nuts when people take out a bottle of whatever from the refrigerator, pour out a cup for them selves, and then leaves the bottle out so the next fortunate person can have a warm drink.  So, of course, I am constantly putting things away after C....because if I want it cold, I need to make it so.  He won't do it for me, because he doesn't care about the temperature. 

The worst is when you go out fishing or something...the soda has been in the sun all day and is positively hot.  They don't see anything wrong with this...  They'll even drink warm beer. 

The only time they bother with ice is when they are drinking hard liquors, and even then they only put a couple of pieces.  They put all the ice into a bowl for everyone to grab from, then leave the bowl there over the course of the it's not long before it's all melted.  This has always puzzled me, because it's a huge waste of ice, especially if you didn't have that much in the house to begin with...  All I want is some ice with my soda, because they're not putting the soda back in the refrigerator either... 

The people here love sweet things.  They have sodas that taste like bubble gum.  It's really sweet, and the first time I drank it I hated it.  They also have this very strange affinity for chocolate...  When I first arrived here, I got sick.  I had a cold and was coughing and everything.  And everyone kept offering me chocolate, like it was some kind of miracle cure or something.  I could never understand that!  I mean, the last thing you do when you're sick is eat chocolate, because it gives you more galas...  I told C. that, and he completely disagreed with me.

On the other hand, it was only 2 weeks ago that C. finally tried drinking lemon with honey for a sore throat.  I had told him that before, but he only tried it once Gotz and Zabou told him the same thing.  I think that's pretty ironic, considering how much they use lemon around here.  Lemon for food, Chocolate for a sore throat...hmmm...where are we?   

They, of course, don't eat plain rice here.  They always mix it with something.  Let me tell you, rice with just onions is not good...  I try to stay away from rice whenever anyone else cooks it.  And, they think I'm nuts for eating it plain. 

And finally, I'd like to share a new treat with you:  Pineapple Popsicles.  Pineapples are in season right now, so they're being sold all over the streets.  What they do when you buy one is chop off the green leaves around the sides so that a round, straight section is left in the center, then they chop off the outer part of the pineapple, and turn it over so that the green leaves part is now like a stick, and they just bite at the pineapple part.  I don't know how to explain this just have to see it.  It's quite inventive. 

Well, I guess that's about it for now.  Take care everyone, and enjoy what you eat!  I'll be there soon, eating all that great Hawai‘i food again...I think... 



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Date:    Feb 7, 2001    Tapati - days 8, 9 & 10

Hello everyone!  How's everything going? 

Well, C. and I have run into a bit of luck when it comes to the internet.  I thought that I would have to return all the way to the hotel periodically to send all my messages, but it turns out that C. now has access to an internet account, so we can use the computer from anywhere!  Yeah!  That means I can keep sending messages to all of you up until I leave...

But don't ask me when that is.  I promise, I'll let all of you know when all the arrangements have been made. 

Tapati is over now, and for me, it ended in a fizzle rather than a big bang.  Here's what happened. 

Day 8, which was last Friday, was the big parade.  I stayed home all day while C. slept (since he had worked the night before).  The parade was supposed to begin at 6 p.m. , so I woke him up at 5:45 .  We left the house at about 6:30 ...and of course it hadn't started yet.  Rapa Nui time is just like Hawai‘i time.... 

We went to the starting area where we saw all our friends dressed up and painted.  I took what I hope is a really great picture with Javi, Tito and Gabi all painted up.  I also got a pic with Meherio, who did not get painted but instead opted to wear a mu‘u mu‘u.  Apparently, if you dress up, you can give points to one of the queen contestants.  So everyone was asking me why I didn't dress up.  "Because C. didn't tell me..."  I was a little bummed about that. 

Side note:  Hanging out with a local is really cool at times because you get to see all the things that tourists don't normally see.  But on the other hand, you don't get to see the things that tourists normally see...because the local forgets that you really are, in some cases, still a tourist.  So what I'm saying is - I missed out on a lot of stuff during this Tapati. 

For the parade, anyone can participate - local, tourist, whatever.  It's a way for everyone to get involved.  You could tell that a lot of people either found out about this at the last minute, or decided to join at the last minute, because many people were there in just their underwear and their entire bodies were painted over...including the underwear. 

This, by the way, made it very easy to point out all the Chilean Navy guys...aside from the $2 haircut they have a standard issue underwear...but for some reason they don't bother to give each guy the correct size underwear, so here were all the Chilean Navy guys wearing either too big or too small briefs...  It was pretty darn funny...  And apparently the undies were cheap too, because one guy's underwear broke right on the bottom, so he was literally just wearing "flaps" that hung down and covered his privates.  His mates kept tormenting him by lifting up the back flap... 

And then you have all the brave people, including women, who were literally wearing only bras and panties and had been painted over.  I know, it's the same as a swimsuit, but I'm sorry...I just couldn't do that. 

And then there were the people in swimsuits.  My only thought was that the stain from the dirt paint would never come out...  Because the paint that they use is actually dirt mixed with water. 

But the locals knew how to here they all were with their ceremonial dress on and painted with actual patterns on them.  They looked awesome! 

Each queen contestant has a float, and since there were only 2 contestants this year, the parade was short, but in no way less interesting.  Preceding the float was a group of dancers, made up of women and children.  Behind them walked the singers and musicians.  All throughout the parade, these people played and the dancers danced.  Behind the musicians would follow the float with the queen on it.  Following that would be all the rest of the people who dressed up in her name.

First was Maria's float.  She had all the Matato‘a guys out in front of her.  They were good.  But she had far less people painted up for her... 

Second was Priscilla's float.  Their number of dancers was about equal, but she had far more people painted walking behind her.  And, directly behind her float, was all the male Karikari dancers, chanting and singing and dancing. 

I really have to say, those guys truly enjoy what they do.  Tito and Gabi and Javi, and even Marcos and Mai were dancing, and they were all having such a good time, like they were having their own little party.  But the thing is, they're always like that when they dance.  They really make the show because they just look like they're enjoying themselves so much, and it doesn't matter if everyone or no one is watching! 

The parade started at the end of the main street, over by the gas station.  They walked down the entire main street then turned down towards the shore at the main intersection by the school (on the road leading up to the church), and once they got to the next intersection (at the corner of the soccer field) they turned left.  All the floats were parked right on that street in front of the field and the show continued in the field.  Dancers for each queen then put on a show.  I didn't get to see much of it because of my height and because of my association with a local (who didn't care to watch), but I hear that Priscilla's group was really good.  Those were the Karikari guys. 

Although Maria did have the Matato‘a guys…but I guess they make better singers than dancers. 

That ended at about 11 p.m. or so.  There was no show that night, but all the food vendors by the main stage were open anyway, so we went there for a little snack.  C. and Gotz ended up talking with some guy who claimed that he had been traveling for a little bit now because all he had ever learned about the Polynesian islands was through books, so he wanted to find out what he couldn't learn from books.  So, he was thrilled to meet with C. - "a REAL Rapa Nui person"... (he was in awe...geez...)  So he asked C. a few questions.  I had this feeling from the very beginning that this guy didn't really want to know as much as he said he did, but I listened anyway.  Sure enough, at the first thing that C. said that didn't align with his book learning, he started to debate with C.. 

C. likes to take on people like that.  I don't like to waste my time with them.  They don't really want to learn, and in such cases, all you ever end up doing is wasting your breath.  C. hasn't learned that yet...  So I got up and left because I couldn't stand to listen to him anymore. 

And the most ironic thing is that in all of this guy's "learning", everything he was saying was only 2 days worth of Hawaiian Studies 101.  I wonder what books he read? 

Anyway, I left C. alone with this guy for about an hour, and when I came back he was ready to be rescued.  So we left.  It was an early night, about 1 or 1:30 . 

The next day, Saturday, there was really nothing going on other than the big show that night. It was supposed to be the last big thing, and the coronation of the new queen.  I heard that it was a really good show with lots of dancers and music.

Priscilla won (duh...she always had so many more people in her competitions...). 

We didn't go.  As always, we had a very ill-timed fight.  By the time everything was resolved, it was much too late to go. 

Then the very final event was on Sunday night.  They did a traditional crowning of the queen. They all dressed up in ceremonial dress, and from what I hear there was a slide show that was rather touching, just of pictures of the people and the island.  And then there was music. 

I didn't know about it until about 10 that night.  C. was off working, and it's really difficult to find a taxi by our house, especially since we don't have a phone.  It's not safe for me to walk alone at night because of the dogs, so I decided not to go.  I was a little bummed, but oh well. 

So, that's why I say that for me, Tapati ended in a fizzle.  I ended up missing all of the biggest events.  But I guess that just means that I need to come back another time. 

I hear that Kumu Lake 's group is coming back again next year for Tapati.  So that should be interesting.  Maybe we should make a really big Hawai‘i contingent for 2002 and all come down... 

Well, that's about it.  Take care all, and I hope to hear from all of you soon. 



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Date:    Feb 10, 2001    leaving soon

Well, it's finally here...departure time.  I am leaving the island this Thursday, Feb. 15th.  I will be in Tahiti for 2 days, and will be arriving back in Hawai‘i on the morning of Sunday, February 18th.  One week from today.  I apologize for the late notice to all of you, but I procrastinated on making the reservations.  For good reason...

The time has passed by quickly...much faster than I expected it to.  And, although there are many things I miss about Hawai‘i , I find myself wishing that I didn't have to go quite yet.  Things are not all rainbows and sunshine here, but I am enjoying myself.  I often wonder if this is my life, or if this is just a vacation from my life in Hawai‘i .  I still have not found an answer to that one. 

I still miss all the same things about Hawai‘i that I missed when I first arrived here, but I've come to realize that they are not necessities, but rather luxuries.  Things that are designed to make life more enjoyable, yet at the same time make life more complicated. 

These things that I miss about Hawai‘i are the things I try to think about when I remember that I must go back soon.  My friends, the beauty of Hawai‘i , my hula class, and the things that others seem to think I do well...  These are all definitely worth going back for. 

And then there are the actual "things", like American T.V. programming, with one million and one things to watch at any given moment; stores where you can buy or rent almost anything you want at almost any hour of the day; the food, of course, the food; toilet paper, paper towels and kleenex being used for their respective purposes (here we use toilet paper for all purposes...); clothes dryers and fabric softeners; carpets in houses; "smoke free" zones; movie theaters; reliable toilets; 24 hour film developing; DSL internet connections; and having a car available whenever I need one. 

But then I remember all the things I like about Rapa Nui, and I wish that I didn't have to leave so C., of course; having my days free to enjoy the sunshine, ocean, and the outdoor activities that I never seem to have time for at home; working for only 4 hours every evening and still earning enough to cover all of my bills; and having enough free time to do all the things I've always wanted to do. 

This list, although it is significantly smaller, holds a lot more weight than the previous one... 

Hawai‘i is such a beautiful place, but it's also a place where you have to work most of your time just to have enough money to pay for your daily living.  So you end up losing out on most of your actual life.  Where is the balance? 

This is a question that I have been asking myself often, for the last 3 months. 

I've also met many interesting and generous people here.  Julie, G., K, T., and all the locals like N., Kh., Rosita, Flaco, A., M., and many other people and members of C.'s family that I haven't mentioned yet...  All of these people contributed to my stay here, and helped me in different ways.  Some have become very good friends and I don't want to leave them, yet I know I will keep in touch with them from now on. 

I am not looking forward to going back.  I have to start all over again - find a job, find a place to live, be alone again...  It's not pleasant to think about.  I'd much rather just stay here. I tussled over it in my mind for a very long time, up until just this week (which is why I put off making the reservations for so long), but in the end it seemed that going home is the best thing to do.     

So, I am still coming back, as planned, and I will be staying there.  C. will stay here and save up money.  He wants to move to Hawai‘i , but has no idea when that will be.  It depends on how quickly he can save up enough.  His friends all tell me that it won't be long before he comes to Hawai‘i ...they all seem to be under the impression that he simply can't stay away from me for too long.  But I don't know...only time will tell on that one. 

I am very sorry to be leaving at this point because, as difficult as it was for me to adjust to life here, I feel like I am finally at the point where I am comfortable and am enjoying it.  But isn't that always the case?  Just when you start to enjoy it, it's over. 

The other reason why I am disappointed to be leaving now is because I don't feel like I've learned all my lessons yet.  I know that there were many things I could have learned by being here - many opportunities for growth - and I feel like I have not learned them yet.  I still find myself practicing the same old programs that I've always practiced, the only difference being that I am aware of it now.  And, at the same time, I can feel myself closing up whenever I think about returning to my life in Hawai‘i .  I know that to return to the same old life and the same old way of thinking would be taking a step backwards from where I am now, and I am trying my best not to do that.  But I am only human... 

So, in an effort not to return to my old self, I am going to make a bold move right here and now.  I declare to all of you over this e-mail that I have decided that I would like to be a writer when I grow up.  I love doing these e-mails, and many of you have commented that you like reading them, and some of you have even suggested that I should get them published. Well, why not?  There's no harm in trying, right?  It's definitely a place to start. 

One of my most difficult programs to get over in life is that I never do what it takes to get me what I really want.  I don't take the necessary steps to get to the goal.  I've known this for at least a year now, and yet after being here for the last 6 months and having lots of time to work on things, I still have not started anything.  That is the reason for my declaration.  Now, by stating it, I have all of you supporting me in your thoughts.  And I need all the help I can get...  : ) 

Being here, I have met so many talented people.  And in thinking about it more, I've realized that I've always been surrounded by talented people, and I've always felt so low in comparison.  But no more.  It's not that I lack the's just that I haven't tried. 

So that's it.  I know that I can pull more growth spurts out of this whole experience, but maybe I just haven't realized them yet.  But I will, in time.  There's definitely more...I can feel it. 

Anyway, I'd like to thank all of you for sharing my adventure with me.  I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.  It certainly was interesting on this end...  : ) 

Take care all!  I'll see all of you soon! 



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Date:    Feb 11, 2001    the last couple of weeks


I know it's been a while since I've written about any new adventures, but that's because C. and I have been trying to do so many things that we've been out a lot, and I'm often too tired to write when we get home.  I've got so many stories that I don't even know where to begin! 

Hmmm...let's see... 

During Tapati C. and I had a party at our house.  It was an opportunity for us Hawai‘i people to get together, because both Ki. and Ti. were here at that time.  And, that just so happened to be my last night at work, so it was a double celebration. 

Do you all recall Flaco?  He's C.'s best friend and fellow painter...  I've written about him several times.  Or, as Ki. put it, Flaco is that recurring character in every episode.  : ) Anyway, for the longest time, Flaco was interested in one of the tourists in town.  He and C. initially called her "Rasta", because she has dreadlocks.  She's been in town for about 3 months now, and both Flaco and C. had spoken to her periodically in the first 2 months.  But Flaco is kind of shy, so nothing happened. 

Well, during Tapati I finally got to talk with her.  Her name is Muriel, and she's from Belgium .  She speaks 5 languages (English, French, Spanish, Flemmish, and I think German).  She's one of those people that drift about at their whim, going wherever the wind takes them. I really admire her for that.  It's not easy to trust yourself and life so much that you don't worry about where your next dollar is coming from, or to trust that you'll always have a place to stay, or to trust enough just to go and not worry about where you end up. 

Anyway, C. invited her to our party, and at the party we had the opportunity to talk.  I really like her, and I think she's incredibly interesting.  She is also a painter, and in a way she has encouraged me to see what I can do.  I told her that I wanted to write.  She believes that I can do it.  And she hardly knows me... 

She stopped by our house today to find out when I'm leaving.  I don't know yet if we'll have a party before I leave, but if we do it should definitely be interesting, especially with the mix of people in my life right now. 

Which brings me to the next person who has had an impact on my stay here recently.  T., a masters student from Canada , arrived here just before Tapati began.  She was here for 4 months last winter to do research.  She is writing her thesis on the development of the island in the last 20 years.  She was able to gain some money to come back and do a little bit more research. 

I met her when I first arrived in August.  She left about a week after I arrived, but we met because at the time she was dating M., C.'s cousin.  But this time we've become pretty good friends, and I like her a lot. 

T., K and I have our own little society - we've all dated a Rapa Nui man and have all experienced the same kinds of dilemmas concerning them.  We're thinking about writing a book together...  ; )

But T. is far different from Muriel.  T. talks a lot, and lives to gossip.  Which makes life very interesting around here..  : )  At first, because she talks so much, you get the impression that she's only interested in gossip, but then she starts talking about her research and the things she's discovered and you realize that this is a very intelligent person who has her head on straight.  And, I admire her for her social talent.  She can start a conversation with anyone, anytime, anywhere.  Consequently, she has a lot of friends on the island.  And a lot of admirers.  One of which is the moment.

Flaco has had many admirers himself recently.  It seems that everyone hooks up during Tapati...which is very easy because there are so many tourists in town at that time.  At the beginning of Tapati an old girlfriend started hanging around him a lot...then I introduced him to T., and she thought that he was incredibly attractive...then Flaco actually got together with another young woman who happened to be one of the medical interns in town (who has since left for Santiago ).  And although we all suspect that Muriel was also interested in him at one time, their relationship now seems to be more on a level of mutual respect as painters. 

By the's an interesting little tidbit.  Flaco bears a strong resemblance to Jesus Christ. Everyone notices it, and it was even mentioned in a newspaper article written about him once. It's not only because of the way he looks, but it's also because of his personality and the way he presents himself.  He has a very gentle, friendly energy...and he is incredibly generous.  He gives away many of his paintings.  But he and C. are equal when it comes to generosity... 

It just hit me the other day that C. and the Jesus Christ look-alike are best friends... (giggle...).  Most of the time, our adventures end up being just the three of us, and I'm not quite sure how I fit into this little spiritual trinity.  However, I do know this - Flaco has sold the most paintings of any other painter on the island, not because he's really good (which he is), but because he sells them for dirt cheap – far less than they're worth.  C., on the other hand, has not sold any because he charges too much.  I told them to let me handle the business side from now on...Up Flaco's prices, down C.'s, and then they'll both get the recognition they deserve.  Balance.  At least I can help with that...

The three of us had (maybe) our last adventure together on Wednesday.  We went over to the other side where all the caves are.  We walked a lot.  More than I can ever recall walking in one day before.  I must have gotten an excellent workout... 

We saw a lot of the caves, but we didn't go into many of them.  C. is a little bit claustrophobic, so that limited what we could explore.  I think the most interesting thing we happened upon was a little cave where the entrance was all built up with stones around it with birdman and makemake petroglyphs on them.  The cave is now filled with water, but the petroglyphs outside are still so clear!  It was far away from where the birdman contest was held originally, so the best guess that C. and Flaco could come up with was that the winner of the contest at one time lived there in that cave...which is why there would be birdman petroglyphs in such a remote location.  Makemake petroglyphs are seen all over the place. Makemake is a god, and the petroglyphs were put anyplace where the people wanted the protection of that god. 

We also found a rock with a very interesting petroglyph on is said to be of a dolphin, but I swear it looks like a penguin to me!  I imagine that maybe at one point in history, penguins came here (because it simply does not look like a dolphin!).  I took a picture, so you all can judge for yourself when I get them developed. 

And, as with many of our adventures, this one was also filled with many fruits of the land.  I love going on an adventure and picking up our food along the way!  We encountered a Hei‘a fruit tree (which, Ki. shared with me is called Rose apple in Hawai‘i) and picked a lot of fruit...we found a couple of guava that were ripe enough...we went looking for grapes but it looked like they had all been picked already...and the tree that covered the penguin petroglyph was an avocado tree.

C. and Flaco looted that one...

We've done many other things also, but there's simply not enough time to write it all down.  It's 5 a.m. now and I've been writing since about midnight ...just trying to catch up with all my mail!  And there's still so much more that I want to say...I guess we'll see if I manage to get it all down before I leave. 

Well, take care all.  I'll talk to you all soon. 



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Date:    Feb 14, 2001    the last few days

Iorana everyone!  This is officially my last message from Rapa Nui .  However, I still have so much information that I never got to send don't be surprised if you receive a few more after I get back to Hawai‘i...  ; )  I just can't help myself... 

Well, the last couple of weeks, in fact ever since the beginning of Tapati, the weather has been highly unpredictable.  In the last week it has been downright unfair.  C. and I have been trying to do some fun things, but the weather just keeps getting in the way.  Days are partly hot and sunny with unexpected downpours.  We rented a motorcycle one day but we didn't get to go nearly as far as we wanted because of the rain.  And cost prevented us from renting it again. 

Today is Valentine's Day.  I still have a few things left to take care of, but we have not even left the house yet because it's been pouring all day.  It's 3:00 now. 

You know that last minute stress that everyone goes through before going on a trip?  Well, I have not been excluded from that phenomenon...however my stress has been relieved significantly after yesterday afternoon's shopping trip. 

I needed to get a bunch of stuff for a friend, and all of these things would determine how my packing goes.  I finally got most of them yesterday afternoon.  Still one item left to get, but for some reason I feel relaxed today... 

I realize now that most of my stress was because I know that here, in Rapa Nui , everyone takes their time with everything.  Although whatever you need is close by, the person you need to get it from works on his own you just have to run into him at the right place at the right time.  That can be very stressful when you've only got a few days to get everything together. 

But all I have left to get are things that can be bought in a store...maybe that's why I feel better.  Hmmm...  : ) 

Anyway, I feel certain that I can now enjoy my last day here.  Bittersweet as it may be... 

Thanks everyone for joining me.  I'll talk to you all again soon... from Hawai‘i . 



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Date:    Feb 21, 2001    the trip home

Aloha everyone! 

Well, for those of you who I haven't spoken to yet...I made it home.  I'm back in Hawai‘i, right in the heart of Honolulu.  Far cry from Rapa Nui...

But you know what the strangest thing is...all of this "civilization" being shoved in my face has not seemed to bother me one bit.  

I had to stay in Tahiti for 2 days.  I stayed in a house about 10 minutes outside of Papeete .  We went into town on the first day and got caught in the afternoon traffic.  But sitting there in their covered truck with only "natural air conditioning" in the heat, surrounded by cars all around us and moving at a snail's pace, I was not irritated in the slightest.  Things simply were as they were.  While in Tahiti I also had my first meal that civilization can offer – a cheeseburger at one of the now-permanent crepe restaurants along the waterfront in Papeete . But boy, was it a really good cheeseburger!!!  I ate slowly to savor it... 

I also went to a big Wal-Mart like store, only it was the size of Costco.  This is one of those places that I thought I would feel strange to be in after being without such stores for so long...yet, as I walked down the aisles, the environment felt as familiar to me as it ever did.  It was as if the last 6 months hadn’t even existed, and the last time I went to one of those stores was only the day before. 

The people, the traffic, the multitude of choices of food...nothing seemed to affect me, or should I say "stress me out."  And, even being back in Hawai‘i for 2 days now, I still feel the same.  Everything here is the same, and I've seemed to merge so easily back into everything just as if I never left.  First thing Sunday morning after arriving home from the airport, I got right into my car and started driving again.  You'd think that I'd be nervous for not having driven in 6 months...but I wasn't, not even in the slightest.  I went to Church to visit all my friends, then I went to lunch with some of them at Scoozee's (I wanted my first meal back in Hawai‘i to be a good one...), then I went to Blockbuster's to catch up on what I've missed.  Everything felt the same as it did before I left. 

I have, however, experienced a couple of things since arriving home that I am grateful for that are attributed to "civilization."  First, freshly washed clothes with fabric softener and dried in a clothes dryer...  (ahhh....);  second, not having to worry when you go to the toilet if everything will work as it should when you flush;  and, in accordance with that, the soft toilet paper as well.  : )

The most difficult part of the entire journey is, of course, missing C..  He worked the flight from Rapa Nui to Tahiti so we could at least spend those few more hours together.  And, the other flight attendants all knew what was going on, so they let him take his break for almost all of that flight so he could spend the time with me.  Then, he went into baggage claim with me because I had this huge box and he wanted to help me with it.  But, as fate would have it, there was a problem with the baggage and our flight's luggage didn't come out for about an hour after our arrival.  So he had to leave to get back on the plane before it came out.  So we said our goodbye's right there in the middle of Fa‘a‘a Airport's baggage claim, with all the irritated people from our flight around us as they waited for their luggage.

That first night after arriving in Tahiti was the worst.  We arrived at about 1 a.m. , so we still had the entire night to sleep.  I was dead tired, but by the time I was able to get to bed, I could not sleep.  I just kept thinking "Why am I here?" and "I want to go home."  That's when I realized that I now consider my home to be our house in Rapa Nui .  I felt like I was being tortured, in a way, for having to spend two grueling days in Tahiti .  If I could not be in Rapa Nui , then I wanted to be in Hawai‘i .  So, although there was nothing about my stay in Tahiti that would make it very bad, I did not enjoy myself.  I simply could not at the time. 

There were 3 other guests arriving off of the same flight that stayed at the same house as me. I stayed with a cousin of C.'s of her cousins and 2 more friends were staying with her also.  2 out of the 3 were originally from Rapa Nui , so they know who C. is.  The next morning, as soon as the plane arrived back in Rapa Nui , C. called me.  And, as soon as I heard his voice I started crying all over again.  Most ironically, that helped to break the ice between myself and the rest of the people in the house.  They instantly felt sympathy for me, and ended up taking very good care of me for the rest of my stay.  And when at times I seemed a little sad, they understood why. 

Just as I had a bit of difficulty adjusting upon my arrival in Tahiti , I had a little anxiety upon my arrival here as well.  The source of it was the feeling that I was no longer "home."  My home, in my mind and heart, is in Rapa Nui .  When I left Hawai‘i 6 months ago, I gave up my apartment, so when I came back I had to find a place to stay with friends or family.  After traveling for almost 3 days and pretty much living out of a suitcase for my entire stay in Rapa Nui , all I wanted when I got back here was a place to put all my clothes away into drawers and unpack all my personal belongings and put them away somewhere.  But I did not have a home to do that...I did not have a place of my own to sit back and relax.  That feeling greatly disturbed me all afternoon, until I finally fell asleep. 

I do have a few options on places to stay, but the fact remains that none of them are "my place."  Those few hours of anxiety, after getting over the initial "I want to go back!" phase, helped me to focus on my first goal:  To find my own apartment. 

And, ever since I decided to come home, I've been asking myself why.  The answer finally hit me today.  I am here to get my career on track.  While in Rapa Nui I came to many clarities about work, but in reality it is not possible for me to go through what I need to go through to get what I want career-wise over there.  I need to learn how to do everything over here and get everything on track over here...then maybe I can go back there.  Coming to this realization has greatly helped me to finally give in to my being here and stop thinking about going back to Rapa Nui .  At least for a while...

So, just to answer the most frequently asked questions that I've encountered so far, here are my and C.'s future plans:  He wants to move here to Hawai‘i.  He will do that when he saves up enough money.  He has set a monetary goal for himself, but not a time goal.  So I have no idea when he will be coming.  I will find my way in the world to a job, get my own apartment, and enjoy myself while I set up some kind of foundation for us.  I have no plans to go back at any time in the immediate future.  The reason I left is because C. finds it difficult to save money while I am there because he won't let me pay for any of the expenses (machismo...), and because he wants to spend time with his friends and family before he comes here.  He feels that when I am there, he is not able to spend as much time with them as he would like, so he wanted some time alone over there to focus on being with all of them and mentally prepare himself for having to leave them all.  I came back to Hawai‘i now because I wanted to be here for a friend's wedding in a couple of weeks. 

And yes, everything is still good between us.  In fact, everything is wonderful, which made it even more difficult to leave... 

So that's about it.  Thanks all for listening...or reading.  I hope I'll get to see all of you guys soon! 

Aloha from Hawai‘i,


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Date:    May 5, 2001    Rapa Nui - Series Finale

Hi everybody!  How's everything going with all of you?   

I know I told all of you in my previous letter (about a month and a half ago) that it would be my last.  But due to recent developments, I felt I should send out just one more, although you may not enjoy this one quite as much as the rest.

I guess I should leave off with that fateful day - the day I arrived back in Hawai‘i .  Coming back here was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.  As I sat on the plane and saw Honolulu approaching in the window, my heart sank.  It was the first time that I was ever sad to see the familiar city lights, perhaps because I no longer felt like this was my home, and because I was leaving my heart in Rapa Nui . 

As soon as I arrived home, I was swept up in the whirlwind that was the final 2 weeks before a friend’s wedding.  I offered to help, because I thought that being busy would be a good distraction for me - but being busy preparing for a wedding turned out to be depressing.  And then the worst possible thing in the world happened - C. broke up with me.  He said that he didn’t love me anymore. 

So in the midst of my friend’s wedding bliss, I wanted to crawl into a dark hole somewhere and fade away. 

I didn’t tell anyone for a while, except for a couple of very close friends, and that was only because there was no way I could deal with all of it on my own.  It took me about 2 or 3 weeks before I started to expand that small circle, and only now am I finally announcing it to the world.  Mostly because I don’t know how many more times I can hear someone innocently ask, “So how’s C.?” or “So when is C. coming?”  It still hurts too much. 

And, although some of you already knew about the break-up, most of you do not know the rest of the story… 

The details, at this point, are not important.  So here is the nutshell version:  C. has feelings for someone else.  The “someone else” is T., my (former) best friend during my last month on the island.  She is from Canada and was there doing research for her thesis. 

He confessed his feelings to her just after I left the island, while he was still mailing me “Te quiero con todo mi corazon” (I love you with all my heart) messages and calling me almost every day.

She, at the time, avoided his declaration.  But apparently her moral fiber was not woven very tightly to begin with.  She left the island only 2 weeks after I did, and they have been corresponding via whatever means possible since then.  It was only a matter of a couple of weeks before she confessed her feelings for him in return.  Since then they have been communicating constantly, telling each other how much they miss each other, how much they want to get to know each other better, and talking about how quickly she can come back to the island so they can be together again. 

Neither one of them told me that this was going on.  I found out from another source - on Easter Sunday.  

When I finally confronted them both about it, C. did the honorable thing and confirmed the reports.  T., on the other hand, still insists to this day that nothing is going on and that she does not have any feelings for him, even after I told her that C. already confirmed it.  (In a way, that worries me…) 

Needless to say, I’ve experienced a great many emotions in the last two and a half months, the majority being anger, depression and self-pity.  Aside form the exhaustion caused by such emotions, I’ve also expended a wealth of energy trying to hide these feelings from most of the world.  It’s not been easy. 

I am happy to report, however, that I do finally seem to be making some progress towards a positive outlook once again (which is probably why I am finally able to write this e-mail).

This week has, by far, been the best since I’ve arrived back.  Nothing very eventful has happened; I have simply arrived at a point where this “situation” no longer dictates my overall feelings about life.  Somewhere along the line, C. and T. have, in my mind, become less like real people…they have turned into characters that I’ve seen in a movie or envisioned in my head while reading a book once.  They are no longer two people that have directly affected my life, or who were ever really in my life to begin with. 

Granted, this may not be the “healthiest” way to look at them, but it is only one small step in a very long healing process.  There are still times when I am confronted with the evidence given to me of their ‘relationship’ (for lack of a better term), and I am forced to remember just how real they are…and my heart starts to feel the ache again.  But, overall, I see no harm in thinking of them as fictional for now…it’s just one step, and this step is far more pleasant than the ones I have previously traveled over in the last few months. 

Like most experiences, there are a few positive things that have come out of all this (although I’m sure that when all is said and done, I know I’ll be able to point out more than just a few). I’ve learned a lot more Spanish recently in my attempts to write letters to everyone and to be able to convey to C. exactly how I feel.  I’ve been going out more to get my mind off things, and I’ve had soooo much fun!  I’ve learned how to dance Salsa, and one night I was blessed with an excellent partner - and found myself doing moves I’ve only seen in movies!  I’ve met a lot of new people and have been asked out by 5 different guys in about 5 weeks.  That is simply mind-blowing for me, because my previous record was something like being asked out by 5 different guys in about 5 years!  I’m definitely not as stuffy, conservative, self-conscious or shy as I used to be (although that’s still a work in progress).  I’m also not nearly as anal as I used to be (some of the PVS office staff will remember how I always was about my pens…).  Best of all, I’ve realized that I have 3 friends who have been absolutely PRICELESS throughout this entire process - K, Carol and Christopher.  They’ve listened to me grumble and cry, supported me in my weakest moments, of which there were plenty (and which, most ironically, is more than C. was ever willing to do), and encouraged me to do whatever I needed to get through this.  I will never be able to thank them enough for being my friends. 

On the other hand, I’ve also learned about what kind of person I am capable of being.  I have not behaved well throughout this experience, and I have done and said some things that I am ashamed of.  The best I can do, however, is to make sure that I’ve grown enough so that I would never do such things again.  Cross your fingers on that one… 

At the same time, I’ve learned a little bit about love.  C. made mistakes - lots of them - and although I’m hurt by all of it, I can still feel that I love him.  I mean, there were a lot of  things that I could have done better in the relationship as well…most times, I was even aware at the time that I could be handling something better, but simply didn’t do it.  We both could have done a lot better, but I’m not going to let all of those bad things make me forget the person that I fell in love with. 

You may call him a stupid, idiotic fool - and you may even hear me use those terms too - but please, I don’t want to hear anyone else tell me “he’s not worth it.”  He was worth it.  That’s why I was willing to drop everything and go down there to be with him.  It takes an extraordinary person to get through this iced-over heart of mine, and he did it.  He got through…and that extraordinary person is still inside of him somewhere.  I think that anyone who has met him will agree that he is certainly one-of-a-kind.  But, at some point, he just gave in to his fears, as all human beings do, and as a result he forgot how to love.  I am guilty of the same, so please don’t tell me that he’s not worthy. 

The only difference between the two of us at the moment is that I’m willing to admit to my mistakes and take responsibility for them.  He is not.  I pray that he does find the strength and courage to do so one day, because if he does, the world will be so much better for it. 

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not holding on hoping that we’ll get back together or anything like that.  I don’t want the person that he is now.  But I’m also not afraid to admit how much I loved him and how much I hope that, for his sake, he will find that genuine person within him again. 

And I am definitely not afraid to admit that I DO NOT want him to get together with that girl!!!!!  Yuck!!!!!  (Hey, I’m only human…)  If he does have to be with someone else, I’d rather it be with someone that I don’t know…and someone who tells the truth. 

Sorry…just had to get that one off my chest.

Anyway, this letter is already way too long, so I’m signing off now.  But first, I want to thank all of you for bearing with me through all my trials and tribulations.  Whether you know it or not, you have all inspired me.  These e-mails brought me great satisfaction while I was there, and I deeply miss writing them now that I’m back.  I just wish I had something else to write about now… 

Well, take care everyone.  And from the bottom of my heart:  Thanks for listening. 



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