Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nary a Hanga Roa in Hanga Roa, Easter Island report 2, now with jabón gringo

Before I left for Easter Island, I was charged by one of my work gigs with doing some research (and writing) on the island. This was nearly a first for me. I am the person who managed to go to Milan and failed to see the Last Supper because I simply didn't know it was there. And you'd think I'd have learned my lesson from this tiny snafu, but I have not. I continue to go places without exactly honing in on details before landing. For the most part, it works out.

But I knew more than a smidgen about Easter Island. I had even sort of vaguely plotted out a bikeride before leaving the continent (that's what they call continental Chile, the continent, or even "conti" which makes it sound like we all live in the village of Constanza, for which Conti is also a nickname. I had learned the names of the four volcanoes, and could even name several of the platforms on which the moai stand, and had planned to go horsebackriding and even scubadiving. I had looked at pictures of the two major clubs/discos on the island (Toroko and Topa Tangi), and I had hoped to go to both of them (and I did).

But one of the things I asked myself, which has a whole lot to do with language, which Pam has identified as one of the things I blog about the most (which was confusing at first, because I thought it was culture, but then I realized she was correct, and also a very good houseguest), and which I could find no trace of, in written or online sources is whether or not there would be any hanga roas in Hanga Roa.

A hanga roa is what we (on the Chilean continent) call the vertical sliding shades comprised of strips of bamboo or other thin wood woven together with brown string. They run on metal tracks off of small plastic bobbins, and you pull them across a doorway or balcony to keep the sun out. It took me a while to catch on to the name, and then I classed it together in my mind with salsa americana (american sauce, a bit like pickled cabbage and carrots, not to be confused with chucrut, which is sauerkraut), or cocina americana (literally: American-style kitchen, meaning an open plan kitchen)

I always like to have a secret mission behind the mission at hand (a week of vacation!), and it was to see if there were any hanga roas (see explanation) in Hanga Roa, which is the main town of Easter Island.

And I looked near the horses (the ones in town, there were horses pretty much everywhere):

horses in town, hanga roa

And down the main street:

hanga roa

And at the stop sign near the library:

stop sign, rapa nui

But I never saw a hanga roa. Maybe it's like this sign for jabón gringo (gringo soap), which I've never seen before either. A misnomer by any other name would be as sweet-smelling and/or shady.

DSC_1941

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