For this post, I’m going to talk a little about my travel plans. Many of you may be surprised that I did not have all of my travel planned out, down to the last little logistical detail, before I left. The reasons are many. The semester and holiday season were busy, and I didn’t have the brain capacity to put towards planning. I also thought that with eight weeks in Chile before traveling, I would meet people who would recommendations and tips on where to go, what to do, stay, avoid, etc. So I decided to go with the flow. Shocking, I know. 😉
Easter Island was at the top of my list. While in Santiago, I did some preliminary research on flights, only to discover that there were literally no flights left to or from the island in March. At all. I was so upset. I had thought lodging would be the biggest hurdle. Flights never even entered my mind. Going to school one day, I happened to speak with a Swiss woman who also wanted to go to Easter Island, and found similar difficulty. So I dropped it, and thought to focus on the south (Patagonia) and the north (Atacama Desert).
Fast forward ten days. David asked me about my travel plans my first night in Vina. I told him about Easter Island, and my disappointment. I had wanted to go to Easter Island, but there were literally no flights left and I was looking to simply go north and south (excellent options, both). And he says, “I might be able to help with that.” Seriously? I wasn’t really sure I believed him, but I was game to play along and see what he might (be able to) do. Evidently, he travels to Easter Island three times per year, completely loves the place, has paraphernalia all over his apartment from the island. His job even relates to the island. Maybe he could help me.
Meanwhile, I meet a young woman from Idaho (25), who is in the same Spanish language with me. She also arrived in Chile knowing no Spanish (this was her first week) so we are sharing the trials and tribulations of living in a Spanish-speaking country. And we picked quite possibly the most difficult country in which to learn Spanish. One of my professors said “learning Spanish in Chile is like trying to learn English in Scotland”. Evidently, the country is known for its slang and departure from standard Spanish. Sigh. Though – I do really enjoy learning the slang. When I use it, I always get a good reaction from the Chileans. 🙂
She and I are talking about our travel plans after school, and when she hears where I want to go, she asks, “Can I come with you? You want to go all the places I want to go and I would really like to have someone to travel with.” She admitted that it sounded kind of odd for a complete stranger to ask if she could travel with me for several weeks, and to tell me “no” if I didn’t want. Not at all. She seems like a perfectly normal person, and very laid-back. So I may have myself a travel partner!
Friday (this is my tough week, remember) David comes home and says that he found out there are flights going to Easter Island, but there are no flights leaving the island until March 29, and would that work for me. Would that work for me? Yes, that would work for me. It actually works perfectly because I return home March 30. “Great”, he says. We agree to go to the airline office Saturday morning (before the party) and get a ticket. Wait, I say. Can we bring my new travel friend (Madison, from Idaho)? We can pick her up on the way. Sure, he says, and invite her to the birthday party as well. Wow – is this really happening? Because these things just don’t happen to me.
It does. He takes me and Madison to the ticket office Saturday morning, and does all the talking in Spanish. Thanks heavens! We discover that we have to leave for Easter Island on March 23 (it really is a busy month). That is more time than I wanted to spend on the island, but I’m not backing out now. We also discover that there is only one ticket left returning on March 29th, so Madison and I decide on the spot (I do like her) that she can come back March 30 and I can come back March 29 (to catch my flight home). I literally got the last ticket.
We are both so excited that we are getting to go to Easter Island that we can talk of little else the rest of the morning. David also says he might be able to help us with lodging and a car, since he knows where to say, go, etc. And he comes through! Monday, he comes home and says he got us a house (a house!) for about $75/night and a Suzuki jeep for driving around. It’s where he “always stays”. I cannot wait to see what this place looks like, and I’m over the moon excited about this trip.
So, I’m getting to go to Easter Island, for a full week. It will be my last hurrah, and I can’t think of a better way to finish this adventure. Ok, now we can talk birthday party. 😉