This post is part of a retrospective series on our trip to Easter Island in 2004 for the Tapati Rapa Nui Festival. Note: some of the photos in this post are rated PG for partial nudity.
February 5, 2004
In the afternoon of our second day on Easter Island, we caught a cab to take us to the big "Birdman" competition at the lake in the volcano. By 'taxi" I mean beat-up, grimey blue Gremlin with no seatbelts and a driver who was about 8 months pregnant. I think she may have been our tour guide China's cousin. China wasn't with us on this day, but promised she'd send a taxi for us, and she did. Anyway, the driver didn't speak much English,but she knew where we needed to go. She drove across the dustry roads and went off-road a bit to drop us near an entrance to the festival that didn't require risking life and limb and a steep climb up the side of the volcano to see the race.
We walked through a narrow canyon of red rock a with a stream of people all headed toward the same destination, the volcano crater lake, Rano Raraku. In this event, young men representing one or the other of the Rapa Nui Queen contestants compete in a sort of native triathalon.