Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Andes and Easter Island

We're now in Easter Island, and the internet connection we have is so slow that uploading pictures is not really feasible at the moment. When I have a chance, I'll edit this post and add a whole bunch of pictures, but in the meantime, I can least give an update on what we're doing.

On Thursday we hired a car and driver to take us up to Valle Nevado, one of the ski resorts in the mountains about an hour and a half drive from Santiago.

It was an incredible drive, through gorgeous valleys for about half of the way, and then on an insane switchback road up the mountain to the ski resort. I have no idea how people traverse that road in the winter, because it was steep and scary enough in the summertime! And of course, Carter spent the entire drive watching episodes of My Little Pony on the iPad. Occasionally he'd look up and watch the scenery for a while, but for the most part the iPad was far more interesting.

The resort is perched on a peak and the views are incredible.

I have a video of condors perching on top of one of the buildings and soaring around; I'll post it when I can. They're the largest flying birds in the world, I believe. Here is a still shot one of us took.

One of the chairlifts was operating and we rode it to the top of another mountain. Carter has never ridden a chairlift before and was really excited about it.

We hung out at the top of that mountain for a while and took pictures of the scenery. We could see snow on some of the peaks in the distance, which goes to show that we weren't that far into the mountains, because there is a lot of snow in that range all year round.

And Carter, of course, spent the entire time playing with rocks. He made a tower of rocks, pretended to be a grapple lifting rocks, and so on. We kept saying, "Carter, look at the mountains! Aren't they beautiful?" And he'd say, "Yeah, but I'm delivering this shipment of rocks." It's funny that he finds his own way to make things fun every day.

After the chair lift ride we had lunch on the deck of the resort.

Then Carter had even more fun playing with sticks in the dirt. When it as time to go, he dragged his fee and whined -- which means he had a lot of fun playing with rocks and sticks and dirt. I think this is probably what he'll remember about the day we drove up to the Andes!

On Friday we got up very early and said goodbye to Santiago. Doug and I were ready to move on after three weeks, but Carter was sad to leave. He sniffled a bit in the car to the airport, sad that he wouldn't be able to play in his favorite park anymore. He seems to be very attached to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, for some reason, and he keep talking about how it's his favorite hotel in the world. I'm not sure why, since he was so miserably sick there, but something about the place really stands out in his memory as good.

The flight to Easter Island was a long one, more than 5 hours. Easter Island is part of Chile, but it's incredibly remote. It's apparently the most remote island in the world; it's farther from any other land of any other place on earth. We landed and I was immediately reminded of the other remote places I've been to. The airport is a small, open-air building, and we walked off the plane and across the airport grounds to the airport building.

The owner of the hotel came to pick up up and gave us leis (I'm not sure if that's what they call them here, though) and said he was going to take us on a tour of the town of Hanga Roa on the way to the hotel.
Now keep in mind that there's basically the one town on the island. There are some other villages, but this is basically it. And it's TINY. Seriously, there's kind of one main road, and everything is on it. I can only imagine that everyone here knows everyone else, and is related to everyone else. It's very humid and tropical, and it rained off and on for most of the afternoon.

The hotel we're staying at is typical of hotels here, in that there are half a dozen rooms surrounded by a garden.

It's owned by a large family, and there are tons of little kids running around. Carter immediately took up with some of them (and calls them his "Spanish friends"). A few of them speak a little English, and the fact that kids his age could speak two languages kind of blew his mind. I think this is something he thinks just grownups do. It's been great to see him have a little more freedom than he had in Santiago. He can run out of the room and right out into the hotel grounds to play.

He found a large mud puddle within hours of arriving and got incredibly filthy in it.

This morning we're going to go on a tour and get to see some of the amazing statues around the perimeter of the island. I'm sure I'll have some fantastic pictures to post later. :-)


  1. Looks awesome! Loved the update!

  2. Loved the pictures...I also love reading about your adventures. I can't wait to see more pictures...Love you!