As much as I enjoyed Easter Island, I was thrilled to be back in Lima, as I really enjoy the food in this city. For the Missus it was all about Cebiche. For me, it was noticing the interesting way that the cuisine has changed here since we first visited back in 2007. Back then, it was places, which are still around like, Astrid y Gaston, Pescado Capitales, and El Fayke Piurano. On this trip, we'd already seen the evolution of "Nikkei" cuisine at Maido, but were on the fence about our meal at La Mar. The Missus wanted Her Cebiche....a good and pure cebiche, which for Her is the ultimate taste of Peru.
We landed at Jorge Chaevez airport ontime at a shade after 11am. Like before, our driver from Taxidatum was waiting for us as we cleared immigration. It was too early to check in at our hotel, we were staying at the rather new Courtyard Miraflores. So we dropped off our bags and headed out to find some lunch. I knew the Missus really wanted cebiche, so we headed off to one of the places on my list. A place named El Veridico de Fidel.
Located rather close to Maido, Calle Colon is fairly quiet, as was this place when we arrived.
No English menu, just one very sweet young lady who spoke English, I guess she gets any tourist who visits. It was our kind of place. An unfussy menu, which started off with some canchita.....which was decent, but not as good as what we had earlier at La Mar.
On the menu, it said....in Spanish of course, that the "Nuesto Plato Bandera" was Leche de Tigre.....leche de tigre? Now, I love the liquid used as the base for classic Peruvian cebiche....but a dish based around that? I had to try it. I saw "erizo" on one of the versions of this and had to get it, the "Leche de Tigre Super Especial" (28S/$8.50). In case you don't know what "erizo" is, the picture is worth a thousand words.
Yes, it's uni...and a nice fresh and sweet scallop with roe, and nicely marinated lenguado, whitefish, in an interesting broth. Not quite as sour as chugging straight leche de tigre; but creamy, tempered, flavored with cilantro...this was so refreshing, I just loved it. The Missus poached the camote (simmered sweet potato) which She enjoyed. Man, this was good.
The Missus got the Ceviche Clasico (38S/$11.30 US).
The Missus loved the lenguado; She said it was perfectly prepared and flavored for Her taste. We told the nice young lady that we do enjoy "picante" so she brought us some aji limo, which were spicy, but quite sweet and floral. I gotta get my hands on some plants. The Missus of course enjoyed the camote (sweet potato) and the corn. She was less enamored with the concha negras, which were a bit too bitter for us. Still, She loved that ceviche.
I also wanted to try the Causa, so we ordered the Causa Langostinos.
Which we really didn't enjoy too much. The potato portion was a bit too dry for our taste and there was too much mayo.
On the funny end, I hadn't tried Chicha Morada in years! This "Kool-Aidish" style drink was quite sweet, but we still enjoyed this as it made us feel like we were really in Peru.
The place filled up fast. What we noticed was the customers in this faux patio were all limeños having lunch.
Simply put, this is the kind of place we enjoy. It's really no fuss, no muss, straight forward food. Quite good...the Missus loved the place. So we made reservations. We'd have our last meal in Lima here at El Veridico de Fidel.
El Veridico de Fidel Calle Colon 246 Lima 18, Peru
So....we managed to finally get into our room at the Courtyard rather late. And they did a nice thing and we got upgraded to a corner suite.
And in spite of not everything making sense in the room; for instance, the "espresso pod" machine was on a shelf that didn't pull out, so you had to actually unplug the machine, then put in on some table, then plug into run........it was quite a comfortable room.
And when it came down to location, this was great; a nice convenience store across the street, a nice view at night. Or even during the day......
After getting back to Tokyo and a good nights sleep; the Missus was ready to go fairly early in the morning. Being a short minute walk from Tokyo Station meant transportation would be a snap. The Missus had decided on a day trip to Kamakura, the former capital during the Kamakura Shogunate from 1185 - 1333. She was interested in all the temples and of course, the Daibutsu (The Great Buddha). We enjoyed Kamakura so much that we ended up returning the next day.
We arrived quite early.....during this part of the day; before hordes of tourists descend on Kamakura, the place has a relaxed, sleepy feel to. Even Komachi Street......
We decided to find a place to stop for our caffeine fix; so I kept on the look-out. I noticed the sign for Komeda's Coffee on the scond floor of one of the buildings. The place looked open so we walked up the stairs. We were cheerfully seated and handed some menus.
Looking at the menus, we were nicely surprised to see that Komeda's had a "morning special", free toast and a boiled egg with any beverage purchase. I guess the Komeda chain is well known for this special. Perfect!
The Missus and I both ordered coffee along with the "special".
Which turned out to be enough to hold us until lunch.
The young lady working was very nice........and heck, you can't complain about free breakfast, right?
Komeda's Coffee Komachi, 2 Chome−2−18 2F Kamakura
After finishing up; bolstered by caffeine, it was a short walk down the street to our first stop, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. The shrine, dedicated to Hachiman, god of war, is Kamakura's most well known and important shrine.
The backdrop and greenery makes for quite a dramatic sight.
I read that over two million people visit this shrine over the New Year holiday.
The bridges and ponds are quite lovely.
We saw this family; children in traditional garb ascending the stairs..... About halfway up; you could tell the kids were totally over the experience!
We exited via the gate on the northwest side of the temple and ended up on the road leading to our next stop.
I believe this marker is to commemorate the visit of Dogen, the famous Zen Masters' visit to Kamakura.
It was a nice walk; slightly uphill at first, then back downhill. The weather was cool, but pleasant. We had thoughts of stopping at Orindo....but decided to pass.
We also passed on a couple of other temples along the way as well.
And ended up at Kenchoji, Japan's oldest Zen Monastery, founded in 1253.
Things are set-up in the very typical Zen style with all the gates and the main buildings built in a straight line.
The Bonsho (Temple Bell) is considered a National Treasure. The Butsuden (Buddha Hall) contains a well worn statue of Jizō Bosatsu (Bodhisattva).
In direct contrast to the rather austere structures was this gate, which really stood out.
This is the Karamon (Grand Gate).
After lingering for a few minutes more, we set off.....to the next set of temples the Missus wanted to see.
We took a short nap after our poutine lunch. It was pretty warm in Vancouver and the sun didn't set until 9pm, so having dinner fairly late (for us) sounded like a great idea. Upon waking and freshening up, we decided to take the long way to dinner. So we headed Southeast on Robson, then down Richards, and back onto Georgia, where we came across this impressive structure.
This is the Vancouver Public Library. I loved the distinctive design. From here we took a left down Cambie Street, the neighborhood started looking a bit more gritty, though still much cleaner than Seattle.
The main reason for walking down Cambie Street was to view the Gastown Steam Clock. I pointed to it as we headed down the street. At first the Missus said, "that's so puny, what's the big deal?" Until we walked up to it and She saw puffs of steam coming out of the top of the clock.
For some reason She was smitten as were a good number of tourists. This being "Gastown", the steam clock might seem to be a remnant of some bygone era. This was actually built in 1977. Gastown much like Pioneer Square in Seattle is the oldest neighborhood in the city. It has all of the kinds of things that these type of neighborhoods have; tourist shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants, and a good number of homeless. Still, the Missus really enjoyed the character of this neighborhood and we'd return to visit Kit and Ace and Lululemon....and even walk down Alexander to the Alibi Room. But that's for another day.
We walked to the waterfront, the views were quite nice, the air clean and crisp. Looking away from the water, here's a photo of Harbour Centre.
I had made reservations for dinner at Miku and we were trying to find the entrance. There was quite a bit of construction going on and the signs pointing to Miku lead to a locked door. A nice young man saw us and asked, "are you looking for Miku?" How the heck did he know? Anyway, he provided some directions and we found ourselves at the quite busy Miku Restaurant.
I gave my name to the hostess at the stand, who looked, frowned, and asked us to wait a second. A few minutes later, a very nice young man came up to us, and introduced himself as Kevin. I believe he was managing the front of house. He was so pleasant, shook our hands, then told us that they'd missed something on our reservations. I'd requested their kaiseki dinner when making reservations and immediately had reservations about doing so. Kevin explained that they would do the best they could to put together something for us, but I told him not to worry, we'd be perfectly happy ordering from the menu. He smiled and said, "great......I'll make sure that you both get one of the best tables we have!"
I saw this fellow waiting for his mom or dad outside Miku while we waited for our table to be prepped.
Poor guy. Folks kept taking photos or trying to comfort him, but he wanted nothing except his owners. He was adorable.
We loved the view from our table.
In case you're wondering if Miku was one of these touristy, overly fusion, pan-Asian, type restaurants.....you might be partially right. You see Miku is owned by the Tora Corporation headquartered in Miyazaki, Japan. I believe they own a number of Kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) and Aburi/Oshizushi type restaurants in the Miyazaki area. I was quite intrigued by a aplce specializing in aburizushi. I've had a nigiri or two of aburi sushi at a number of places, including Urasawa, though in most American style sushi joints it's kind of a gimmick.
Anyway, we were on vacation...in Vancouver....it was time to relax and have a cocktail....or two.
There were a few interesting custom cocktails along with some standards like a Moscow Mule and Pisco Sours...which I ordered. The Missus looked at me and told me to "not be so boring...." So I relented.
The Missus ordered the Genmai's Tea, which included green tea infused vodka and cucumber. It was fine, but nothing special. I ordered the Shiso Mojito which we both love....shiso was a natural for a mojito, as this tasted so clean.....it also seemed fairly low in alcohol as well. Delish!
We started with the Aburi Beef Carpaccio, which was everything we expected and more.
The torched beef was very beefy in flavor and the texture was fantastic. The sousvide egg added a wonderful creaminess and the yolk tasted delicious. Nice, not too sour ponzu, with a mild kick. The Missus felt that the baby greens was a bit of overkill, detracting from the overall flavors of the dish; though the Asian Pear added a nice mild sweetness and crunch, like in a good Yukhoe.
The Missus had never had Tori Nanban, which I thought was kind of strange....but thinking back, I usually order the stuff for lunch. So I decided to get that.
I was surprised at how much She enjoyed the rice vinegar tones and mild sweetness in this, though She could easily leave the tartar sauce out. The chicken was light and crisp outside, very tender and moist. I was told that they get their poultry from Fraser Valley Chicken in BC. Very nice.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Oshizushi on the menu at Miku. As I've mentioned before, oshizushi is a bit of a specialty. There are three aburi versions here at Miku; Salmon, Ebi, and Saba. Now for me, Battera is the classic pressed sushi. The Missus isn't the biggest fan of saba as in most places it's oily and fishy....though for some strange reason She loves sardines and some anchovy. I convinced the Missus to try the saba version and am glad we did.
The prepared rice was pressed well, though it was rather mild in vinegar tones. The saba, which had cured inhouse and torched was really good, not too fishy, but with a nice cured-cheesy flavor to it. The torching provided a touch of pleasant smokiness. The miso sauce was nice, slightly sweet, savory, but not too salty.
By this time, I needed a drink. Kelsey, who was our Server was fantastic, efficient, pleasant, friendly, but not overly so, suggested something by a local brewery; Strange Fellows. The ale was very nice....the Missus actually loved this and we'd be getting their brews every chance we had.
We finished our meal with a foursome of aburi nigiri. Clockwise from the top left; Hotate (scallop), Wagyu, Toro, and Hirame.
All of the seafood was fantastic and the beef decadent. The one problem for us and since this is nigiri it was a major issue was the rice which was really mushy and formed with too much pressure......I'm figuring most folks wouldn't notice; but any nigiri lover would immediately pick that up. The hotate was tender and sweet, with the torching adding a wonderful touch of flavor. The hirame was very fresh, but the toro was just fantastic as it melted in your mouth as did the wagyu beef which was out of this world.
Night had settled in as we finished up our meal. We marveled at how the service and pacing here at Miku was just perfect for us. They struck the perfect balance in terms of service, friendliness, and made us feel very comfortable. Kelsey was quite knowledgeable and his recommendations, after asking us a few questions, were spot on.
And while Miku looks like one of those stylish-hip places, the food delivered, and the atmosphere was totally not stuffy.
There are times when you just have a great experience....where a place just seems like a perfect fit for you. Miku did that for us. In terms of price; our meal, including drinks came out to something like $115 US......which I thought was a bargain. I've spent more at Sushi Yaro for dinner! I'm sure we'll be back to Vancouver. And we will definitely be back to Miku.
Miku 200 Granville Street Suite 70 Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4, Canada
Here's an interesting tidbit; mention Easter Island to someone in the Spanish speaking world and you might get a blank stare. The official Spanish name is Isla de Pascua. I mentioned Easter Island a few times in Santiago and got quizzical looks. Upon returning, I mentioned Easter Island to one of the folks in another department, she is Peruvian (Tusan!), and she had no idea what I was talking about until I said Isla de Pascua! She loves talking to me about Peruvian food and I'm definitely going to get some recommendations from her next time we travel to Peru.
Our The flight out of Hanga Roa didn't leave until 11, so we had some time to take a short drive and refill the fuel, and stuffs like that. While I was taking the trash out I heard the sound of hooves and took a look around the hedges! There was a guy riding a horse down the street....with a pony following! You sure don't see that everyday here in San Diego!
I quietly walked back to the cabanas, when, I was met by a familiar creature....dum, da, dum, dum......
He looked rather irritated and I'd had enough. I let the cat sit in my lap and gave it some attention. When I put the cat down....it got rather angry, but I moved quickly enough and avoided any parting shots.
Having escaped the clutches of the cat, we headed off and did a last short drive around Hanga Roa.
We got the specialty of the house; the eggs and Nescafe. This time I got a polka dot cup.....
We then went to the gas station, filled up and headed back to the cabanas to relax before our trip.
Check-out went smoothly. When Vero, the wonderful woman at Marae - Cabañas went to call us a shuttle, we told her that we'd rather walk. The airport was just a 15 minute walk away.
Check-In and everything else was fine; a bit slow, but again...this is island life....you don't rush things. Once past security, while waiting we watched the excited visitors exit the place. This is where we were just a few days before.
Due to the time change, it was almost 9pm when we got into Santiago. Our flight to Lima left at 8 the next morning so there was no sense in heading into Santiago. There's a very convenient Holiday Inn right across the street from the airport. After grabbing a sandwich in the airport, this is where we settled in. We decided on a nightcap and went to the bar.
The guy working the bar was so nice and friendly that we decided to stay for a second drink. We talked about Santiago and he mentioned how busy the city is. We asked about classic Chilean dishes and he was nice enough to pull photos from Instagram and other sites, describing the various dishes. What a great guy.
He also made a decent Old Fashioned.....
Soon enough, it was time to head back up to our room. We'd try to grab some shut-eye before our flight to Lima in the morning......though I could still see Moai dancing in my dreams!
After a pretty hectic but exhilarating day we returned to our cabanas and had a short nap. Upon waking we relaxed.....the Missus fiddled around and I worked on a post. The Missus opened the front door and shrieked! The "Killer Pussy" was back! And taunting us!
I mean...there were lots of possible victims.....the chickens looked like fair game.
But no......this cat seem to want some attention, or else!
We decided to wait out the killer cat, who eventually lost interest and left. A few minutes later we headed out for a drive and dinner.....we saw the cat running toward us. Luckily, we made it to the car rather quickly.
We took a nice drive down along the ocean......ending at a nice patch of green. Man, the backdrop of the pacific makes all the photos look great.
Rather than search around for a dinner destination, we decided to head back to Te Moana.
It was much more busy on this evening, but we got the same table as the previous night. Same Server too.
This time I decided on the Ceviche Ika Mata. As before the fish was sparkling fresh, though this seemed a tad "over-cooked" by citrus.
While I wasn't a big fan of adding mustard, nor the sauce to my ceviche....red onions, cilantro, avocado, fresh fish....what's not to like? I also kind of enjoyed the garlic toast as well.....though it didn't seem to go real well with the fish.
The Missus wanted Her favorite from the previous night; the Ceviche Te Moana.
The ceviche was just as lovely this night as well. The touch of coconut milk added a nice counter-point to the citrus and also added a mild creaminess to the lovely fish. The Missus also enjoyed the shrimp. And just like the previous night; that rice was terrible. Of course we didn't order this for the rice.
I also wanted to try the octopus; which was nice and tender, very mild in flavor.
Wasn't a fan of the rather odd tasting sauce, nor the mushy, slightly water-logged mashed potato either.
Overall, Te Moana delivered, the seafood wonderful.
That sunset was fantastic as well.
Te Moana Policarpo Toro Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Valparaiso, Chile
There's a playground just outside the restaurant. Where kids were playing and dogs were hanging out.
The Missus decided to have a bit of fun and a friend joined Her!
He followed the Missus all over the park. Even standing guard while the Missus had fun on the swings.
We wanted to bring him home! But a few minutes later, the pup left for greener pastures.
We took the long way back. Easter Island was an amazing experience. Definitely "bucket list" stuff. But even though we hadn't seen everything, it was time to move on. Tomorrow we'd be flying back to Santiago.
The Missus and I have been pushing hard at work. And while there was no way I'd be able to take any extended time off for a while, I was able to squeeze out a few days off. Naturally, both Portland and Seattle were in the mix, but in the end, we decided on Vancouver. I'd been through the airport twice, on flights to Edmonton and Toronto, but had never been to the city. I'd been itching to visit for awhile, since the food scene seems interesting, there seems to be tons to do, and frankly, just about every Canadian I know (my best friend from "back home" married one), are just plain mellow, friendly, and well.....appropriate. Anyway, we flew up on Delta....which is why the last 48 hours has been kind of a horror....but Delta has always delivered previously, so I'll give them a pass.
I recall my first trip to Canada....it was actually the first time I left the state of Hawaii! My good friend got married and I'd always promised him that I'd be there for the wedding. We were very poor growing up and I'd never had the chance to leave the islands....my first trip outside the state? Canada. I also remember being handed a little cardboard "boat" outside a Dairy Queen....it was French fries, gravy, and white stuff (cheese curds); poutine....now I grew up eating loco mocos, so this just seemed so natural and good. We were staying right off Granville, Seymour and Robson, right in the middle of it all. I wanted the Missus to have a shot at some poutine. And just a few blocks away was a take out window, of a place named Mean Poutine.
The place specializes in hot dogs and poutine, which are available in several combinations. The Missus was ever so distracted by the "Mean Supreme", but I told Her we'd be having dinner in a few hours and I'd like Her to try a fairly classic version.
So we went with the "Classic" ($7CAN - about $5.25US). The only thing different from versions I've had is when asked if I'd like "onions" I said "yes". Which meant scallions in this case.
This was pretty good; the scallions actually added to things, with a nice mild pungency. The frites seems to have been dusted with flour or cornstarch and were quite crisp on the outside, mildly creamy inside. The gravy was nice and creamy, beefy, falling just short of too salty....quite unlike the glooey, gloppy stuff here. Didn't care much for the cheese curds, which were cold, and lacked flavor....and also didn't melt into a nice stringy mess.
I did learn one thing; the Missus was a closet poutine lover......She kept mentioning poutine during our time in Vancouver....though Her poutine fantasy was topped with a fried, easy over egg. So TofuGirl, got a place that might fill the bill the next time we're in Vancouver?
Mean Poutine 718 Nelson Street Vancouver
We were staying at an AirBnB...the location was amazing. As was the view from the Solarium.
Very responsive host, awesome building security, perfect location. The only thing that would be a cherry on the top would be A/C as it was pretty hot during the first two days of our stay.
After breakfast we headed off to a site I was really looking forward to Orongo Ceremonial Village. Because this, like Rano Raraku was one of the two places where you absolutely needed admission, and they didn't open until 9am, we took our time. Meandering along the shoreline near Hanga Roa.
This one spot, where the road basically ends looked wonderful on a day like today....or perhaps it always looks amazing.
We'd soon be heading up that mountain in the background. But for now, we were content to watch the waves crash onto the rocks.
There's a campground right across the street. Quite a dramatic location. Though I wondered how things were during the high winds and rain the night before.
It must be great to wake up and have a banana while watching the wild Pacific doing its thing though.
We soon headed off, up Policarpo Toro and all the guest houses up the mountain. We stopped along the way at various view-points (mirador).
Our little Daihatsu Terios was doing a pretty nice job of getting us around.
At the top is Orongo Ceremonial Village. You need to show your tickets or purchase some, you also need to sign in. At Rano Raraku, I took a look at the country of origin of parties signing in; none were from the US. It was the same here. Strangely, very few people I know even know where Easter Island is, or if they've heard of the place, don't even know where it's located.
There are also some rather sad stories of how the site has been plundered and destroyed over the years.
Things start on a beautiful grassy trail.
Which stops on a dramatic cliff over-looking three small "islands".
It is those islands that the competitors of the Birdman Competition would swim to and collect the first seagull egg of the season. Strangely, the folks doing the actually swimming weren't considered the real competitors, but the actual "sponsors" and those holding important positions who decided who would actually perform the physical duties were. Sort of like today, eh?
Further up the trail are some restored stone "houses" made of basalt slabs. Most have been restored.
One was left half restored so we could see the tiny quarters......
The one thing that really caught my attention when I turned the corner was this.
This is Rano Kau, the crater of an extinct volcano that has become a lake. We found this mesmerizing and just plain beautiful; a bog of reed islets.
I wanted a better look so we left Orongo and went to the Rano Kau look-out.
Looking at this amazing sight, the inner Edwin Malone of my bookworm years arose. It left so much to the imagination......
Looking at the crater below, I recall telling the Missus, "Because its protected from the elements and population as a whole, I'm wondering if there's a special little micro eco-system down there; where there might be plants that are native to Easter island that can't be found anywhere else." Ah yes, there's still a bit of fantasy and romance left I guess. Then I came home and read the story of the Toromiro Tree. Endemic to Easter island, the last tree surviving in the wild was cut down in 1960. However, Thor Heyerdahl had saved seeds from a tree in Rano Kau during his time here in 1955-56. And while the species is basically extinct in the wild, it still survives in botanic gardens. All the trees that survive are thought to have descended from this one singular tree.
It was still rather early in the day. The Missus decided She wanted to visit one more place before lunch; the lava tubes that make up Ana Kakenga. Getting there was bit interesting as there's a definite lack of signage....you just go until the road ends and keep going.
The recent rains had made for some deceptively deep "pools". While nothing of consequence at first, it steadily got worse (sorry no photos - I was just trying to make sure we didn't get stuck). Finally, there was a road block and a makeshift shack where a Park Ranger had everyone park, sign the book and head off on foot.
And so we headed off......
With not a "two legged" soul in site......
Until we came to this......
And the sign said we'd passed our destination.
So we turned back.....
And then came upon a pretty large (like six-four, probably over three hundred pounds) guy. He asked in Spanish if we'd seen "Ana Kakenga" and we said no. So we all headed back. then we heard some exclamations; apparently his young son and daughter had found the place. You gotta love the sign......
We found a woman waiting among some backpacks and what was basically a hole in the ground.
There were folks checking things out, we'd wait until they finished then go down. It was a nice time to check out the scenery.
Finally, it was our chance to go down the rabbit hole. The Missus first of course!
Next me....at which things slowed down a bit. You see, the "big dude" got stuck. Finally, his kids and wife managed to pull him through...... He really wanted to hang with his kids, you gotta love it!
You're enrobed in pitch black darkness, with rocks ready to trip you at any moment. Your iPhone Flashlight is your best friend. You see two lights in the distance and understand why it's called "windows", basically two lava tubes formed perhaps centuries ago.
You head toward the light, making sure not to fall down the steep cliff at the end. No, this isn't the United States where everything is safety friendly.
You are ultimately paid off in full by this amazing view of the Pacific.
You turn the light to the direction by whence you came and go "holy s%!+".
Can you tell I'm not a caver?
You turn tail and get the heck out of there and walk back to your vehicle without getting on the wrong side of the rightful occupants of the place.
And yet, there are those for whom this is the norm.
We got back to the vehicle and made the short drive back to Hang Roa. It was lunch time.
While I've posted photos of the horses, cows, chickens, and killer cat, I really haven't mentioned all the dogs in Hanga Roa. Much like Cusco, they are everywhere in Hanga Roa.
And yet, there's a kind of rhythm to life here. The dogs fit in, they know the rules....those that don't, well, I think they don't make it. The dogs do their thing, most of them looked cared for and what was most interesting was that they will go to the door of shops and markets, but will not go in......I guess that's asking for trouble. They know the boundaries of life. Knowing that makes it a "dog's life".
I had a specific place for lunch in mind. Even though it seemed like a pretty busy lunch hour in town, we actually found the place, which we had searched for and found closed on our first day in town; Makona Restaurant.
There were two things on the Missus's mind for lunch; ceviche....and ceviche, so we ordered ceviche.
The folks working here were very nice; just like everywhere else on the island.
And we got ceviche and more ceviche.
The fish, while not as good quality as Te Moana, was still nice and fresh. It was nicely dressed, not too much citrus, great balanced flavors.
Slight ginger tones and the pungency of onion to balance things out. Like I mentioned before, I'm not a fan of the soy sauce they use in Hanga Roa. A touch of cilantro finished things off. Simple is sometimes best!
Meanwhile, we watched this fellow....who obviously was looking for a handout.
Doesn't he seem to be asking, "anything for me?"
And yet, he would not cross that threshold.
Makona Restaurant Atamu Tekena Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile
It started pouring at about 8pm.......but it was the wind that was quite impressive. I decided to hang out on the porch and have a brew. Suddenly, this little orange tabby hops on the porch and onto my lap....purring away like crazy! Strange..... So I gave the little fella' some TLC and the little cat just ate it up. By now I had finished my beer; it was time to call it a night. I put the cat down and it turned and sunk its claws into me and then bit a nice little chunk out of my leg! Geeeez! It was bleeding pretty good....I washed it out; the Missus was worried about some of the rather common cat bite infections or even...no not that "Cat Scratch Fever", but actual CSD. Luckily, nothing really happened except I bled pretty good. The other strange thing was that the cat would now stalk me....we'd park the SUV and as we would be getting out, the cat would come out of nowhere.....the Missus was terrified and she'd run into the cabanas. I'd wake up in the morning, open the front door and the cat would be there! I actually think this was fairly humorous, but the Missus wasn't amused...... No good deed goes unpunished I guess?
Anyway, the Missus wanted to head back to Tongariki and watch the sunrise yet again. Well, we were on an island, what else would we be doing at 5 in the morning? So the Missus starts pushing me awake....I swear, it's like 230 am and I ask Her what the heck is going on? She shows me Her phone, it says it's 430am, we're going to be late! I show Her my phone, which says 230.....it's that crazy thing where my phone is on Hanga Roa time and the Missus's phone is on mainland Chile time.....
Anyway, we do get up and make it back to Tongariki. The weather says it's going to be a beautiful day; the storm has passed.
The sky is bright and clear....I dunno, I kinda liked the deep red sky we had on the previous morning. This time around there are a few more folks milling about. Also, there's a Park Ranger at the entrance of the place checking passes.
You could tell that it was going to be a bright and clear day.
As on the previous day; there's a good bit of chatter while things are still rather dark. Then it gets quiet, almost solemn as the sun slowly rises over the 15 Moai.....
You realize that you've seen something special. And to see it twice.......
The drive back to Hanga Roa was just as beautiful as the previous morning......
The backdrop has the ability to turn every photo into something special......
Meanwhile, back in Hanga Roa it was morning rush hour.
Looking around, we noticed there wasn't much open at this time of the morning. However, on the previous day, I'd noticed a little coffee stand inside of the "Feria" (fair) building which was full of stands selling all sorts of tourist and other goods. Indeed, the place was open on this morning and full of locals.
The place had a simple greaseboard menu; with items like empanadas (2000 CLP - $3)....you know the Missus was not having that. Coffee, 500CLP (80 cents US), con leche (with cream) 1000CLP. Huevo Frito, fried eggs, 500CLP.
So we got two coffee.....they basically gave you a thermos with hot water and passed the jar of Nescafe to you.
They love Nescafe in Chile, you'll find it everywhere, even here on Isla de Pascua.
Outside of the building produce and meat stands were set-up.
We stopped by one of what seems like one of many mini-marts in the town and picked up a few things. We then headed back to the cabanas to drop said items off before heading out to our next destination.
As we neared the airport end of Atamu Tekena, we noticed this dog tailing the red SUV........
He would not let it out of his line of sight.
Finally the vehicle made a stop at the has station and the guy driving came out and gave the dog a big hug....... I guess it's his dog and he follows him to work every day. Must be some kind of daily ritual?
Meanwhile, we got back to the cottage, stowed things away. The Missus opened the door and out came an "eeeek"!
It looks like we were trapped by the "Killer Pussy".......
** Not much food in this one. But if you like Moai, you won't be disappointed!
The roosters were driving the Missus crazy. They started crowing at around 330am and never let up. Funny, they really didn't bother me. On the other hand, at least we wouldn't be missing the sunrise. The all important sunrise. You see, another item on the Missus's bucket list; Sunrise at Ahu Tongariki. I was tracking the weather.....though the wifi is terrible on Easter Island and for some reason, our phones would sometimes switch between Easter Island time and Chilean time which is a two hour difference.
Finding Tongariki is supposed to be a pretty easy; drive past the airport, take a right at the sign and it's about another 20 minutes along the shoreline. Well, in the pitch black darkness we missed the sign. But we were headed in the right direction. Finally, I saw some signage, we took a right, and ended up at Ahu Tongariki; albeit in a bit of a roundabout way....but heck, it's part of the fun, right?
One look at the 15 Moai on this Ahu as the sun started to rise and I totally got it....
This is bucket list stuff......
The Moai face a large open area that was once the site of a village. Take a look at and remember that mountain in the background. It's important.
This is the largest Ahu ever built.
To say watching the sunrise here is spectacular is an understatement. It is a "must see" if you're ever on Isla de Pascua.
In 1992 the Chilean Government partnered with....now this is a great bit of trivia, the Moai Restoration Committee of Japan. A combined team of Chilean and Japanese archaeologists, Easter Islanders, and other technicians worked together to complete the project in 1996. You can see the timeline here. You can also read about why there's a Moai on Megi Island. People can do great things when we work together......
It kind of looks like we're alone, doesn't it? That's not quite the case....there were several groups of folks; including the inevitable "selfie girls troupe".
Still, probably because of the forecasted weather, there weren't too many people. Speaking of weather; remember that old adage "red sky at morning, sailor take warning"? Well, I saw clouds in the distance and the occasional flash of lightning......
And while it seemed to pass quite quickly, it was time to be on our way.
We turned around and headed back to the main road the way we came. Things looked different in the light of day. Specifically, we could some of the other residents of the area.
The rugged terrain and colors made the horses and cows; which seem to run free, looked stunning....like they jumped off a postcard.
And other than a curious look, they pretty much went on their business.
Along the coastal road toward Anakena we saw a sign and stopped here.
Known as Pu O Hiro - Hiro's Trumpet. Because the name sounded so strangely Japanese, I was curious as to who "Hiro" was. Turns out Hiro is the ancient God of Rain, though there's even more interesting research with ties to the Society Islands. Apparently, you could blow into the main hole and it would make a loud bellowing noise which is thought to attract fishes.
Papa Vaka has several distinctive petroglyphs along a short walking trail.
Some of them have fish, the one above clearly has fish hooks and other implements on them.
In the Rapa Nui language "Papa" means large flat stone and "Vaka Ama" means outrigger canoe. This site was named after the large - 12 meter long canoe carved into the stone.
We made one more stop before getting to Anakena. We saw the sign Te Pito Kura and the Missus read that the Moai which lies here was the largest ever built at the Rano Raraku site.
Nearly 10 meters tall this Moai was last seen standing in 1838 by French Explorer Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars. The topknot on the ground was huge. Just to the left of the Ahu is supposedly (as it was blocked off during our visit) a group of rocks, with several polished rocks and one large one in the middle (photo can be found here) named "Te Pito Kura". I asked Vero what this meant and she told me it was the "navel of the world". I had started noticing some similarities between the Rapa Nui language and the very rudimentary Hawaiian that I recalled from school. Piko is navel in Hawaiian, Pito in Rapa Nui. Mana is divine magical force in Rapa Nui, while it basically means the power and spirit of life in Hawaiian.
Anakena is the only white sand beach we saw. It was starkly empty when we arrived. Probably because it was fairly early in the morning (about 830), but also the forecast of rain didn't help.
There's a nice beach; palm trees, which I read were brought in from Tahiti in the 60's, various picnic areas, food and drink stands, restrooms....you got it, right?
As you can tell, it was blowing pretty hard. We really didn't come here for the white sand and palm trees. Though learning that this is where Hotu Matu'a, the Founding Father and first king of the Rapa Nui people was quite impressive.
No, we were here for the Moai. There are two Ahu here; the picturesque Ahu Nau Nau, which according to the linked site (a very nice one too) were protected from the elements when they were toppled, falling onto the soft sand and then being covered by it. They were restored in 1978.
The beach makes an interesting backdrop for these Moai.
We met the only person in the area at the time; a very friendly Park Ranger, who spoke perfect English. He told us he had lived in New York City for a while.
The other Moai was the one I was really interested in. While in Elementary school, I became a voracious reader. Yes, basically a "bookworm". One of the books I remembered reading; it was one of the few items that made its way to me from my Grandparent's home in Honolua. I think it belonged to my Uncle. Was the book Kon-Tiki, written by the Norweigan Explorer Thor Heyerdahl, about the Kon-Tiki Expedition.
Well, this Ahu and Moai, was restored with the help of Thor Heyerdahl during his visit in 1955-56. It was the first Ahu and Moai restored.
It stands stoically looking to what was a village at this location.
Our last stop on the so called Northeastern Circuit was Rano Raraku. It is one of the areas that where you need to have proof of admission. It was still quite early in the day, so there weren't too many visitors when we arrived. Folks call Rano Raraku "the Nursery", it is estimated that 95% of the Moai were carved from the volcanic rock known as tuff on these very slopes. There are two main trails up the slopes; the one on the left goes to the crater, the one on the right, the "quarry". We decided on going right.
You get kind of an eerie feeling walking along the trail; especially when you're alone.
Everything looks strangely random...... Moai in different states sprinkled along the hillside.
Like the workmen just left for the day......
Further up the hillside you'll come across the other Moai that were still in the process of being carved.
There was even a Moai that was to be the largest ever, being carved.
It's like someone just pulled the plug on this and everything stopped, a snapshot in time.
Right around a bend is my favorite Moai; named Tukuturi. It's quite different in several ways; first, the Moai is in the kneeling position, a posture assumed by folks participating in a singing competition known as Riu. Second, this Moai has facial hair. Third, and most fascinating for me, this Moai is made out of scoria, which is what the typical top knots (pukao) were made of.
Recognize the view over the left shoulder of Tukuturi? Yep, that's Tongariki.
This is the mountain in the third photo in this post.
According to this post, Tukuturi was unearthed by Thor Heyerdahl in 1955. When it was discovered, even the local folks didn't know of it.
What an interesting story this Moai could tell......
Or any one of these......
There are quite a few Moai that are broken littering the mountainside. According to what I read when a Moai fell and broke during the trip down the volcano, it was thought to have lost its "mana" , and left in place.
We had considered taking the other route to the crater of the volcano; but the winds had picked up and it was drizzling off and on. We decided to head on back. Rano Kao (in an upcoming post) and Rano Raraku were my two favorite places on Easter Island. I'm glad we were able to visit.
We headed back to Hang Roa, to grab some lunch. This time we took the road that we should have found in the morning which was along the ocean.
We weren't super hungry when we got into Hang Roa, so we decided to head on over to Casa Esquina, which was closed on this Tuesday as well. I seemed quite busy along Atamu Tekena on this day, so we just headed in the direction of the airport, found parking and started poking our head into places. Next to one of the markets was a little shop making Empanadas. These were baked, not fried, so the Missus got the Pollo Queso. I'd read that the one that was a "must try" was the Atun, tuna, so I got that.
As you can see; these were quite large. The Missus thought the chicken was decent, a bit on the dry side, but not bad.
She had a tiny bite of the tuna empanada and just could not swallow it! It was pretty dry and somewhat fishy. The cheese did this no favors. The pastry shell was nice, but the Missus had gotten Her fill and I promised that there'd be no more empanadas in our future.
It was time for a short nap, then we hoped to beat the rain and do some more exploring.