The flight from Santiago to Easter Island is almost as long as a Trans-Atlantic flight from Europe to North America. The comfort of LAN Chile was almost surreal! I had expected to fly with some old noisy prop machine over the blue of the Pacific, but no nostalgia – LAN Chile brought us there in the most comfort that we had experienced on our World Tour so far.
On Easter Island, we were again greeted at the arrival lounge by colorful and most charming representatives of the local government …with the famous flower garlands hung around our necks. Everything was extremely well organized and I could immediately feel that this remote place is by no means a lost place, to the contrary. It seems like human relations benefit from the luck of distractions. Everything is well thought out and prepared in such a way that it makes our working visit almost feel like a holiday. The beauty of the natural backdrop and the people of this island make it a very special experience and, together with the discovery of the Moai statues, a complete feast for our visual and all other human senses.
The Mayor of Easter Island, Pedro Edmunds Paoa, is himself a unique, very articulate character. He told me that he had studied at UCLA and his first student job was to sell Ferrari cars …and through this, of course, he met the most illustrious Hollywood personalities, famous actors and producers. After having seen behind that mostly superficial scene, he then decided to “drink his last Coca-Cola” and return to Easter Island to serve its small community, where he was immediately elected as a consultant to the Council of the Elders. Within a short time, he was elected Mayor, a position he has held – with flair – for the past 15 years.
He and the President of the Council of Elders have great, intelligent plans. The first is to use this isolated society as a study and role model for bigger countries (the mechanism of a relevant macro-cosmos), and the President also has plans for food production plants in the Pacific that could easily help to produce enough proteins to eliminate hunger in the world. Indeed, very surprising and yet totally realistic approaches to practical issues of our world. I shall write more about these concepts once I have had the time to study these proposals.
The Moai statues, the focus of our visit, reflect very much the spirit of the people around them. This is the case with all of the New7Wonders finalists and it gives a truly human side to the monuments. The Moai have a unique quality of shape and design. Each figure represents a family of this most friendly and peaceful island. It seems like their design was born as a perfect shape and they all look very much alike (with variations in size). Neither Walt Disney nor Henry Moore could have created such a compelling figure. The pleasant, positive response that these stone colossi elicit in our minds is incredible and fascinating. They are funny, friendly, majestic and imposing at the same time. You want to go and hug them!