Our second night on Easter Island, David and I walked 20 minutes down to the ocean and followed the coast to Restaurant Manuia across the street from the ocean and the island’s only cemetery. We ate a wonderful dinner and chatted with another American couple that had been on the island for several days who were thrilled to tell us all the places we needed to go and see. After they left we lingered happily, enjoying sitting in the open night air having each other’s undivided attention for a change. Just about the time we were deciding whether to go or have another drink, the rain came down in torrents. Decision made, we stayed for another drink. The rain and our drinks dried up about the same time. With another break in the rain we decided to make our way back to the bungalow.
Immediately swallowed up by the darkness it became very apparent that our one flashlight was woefully inadequate for the task at hand. David pulled out his trusty Droid with its flashlight app and handed it to me. The meager light from the Droid was barely enough to cut through the dark to the ground right at our own feet. Undeterred, we continued to traipse through the wet grass. The sounds of the waves crashing on the rock cliffs to our left become louder and louder.
This is where the fine art of marital communication melted down. I thought we were going to follow the road up above the cliffs to where it intersected with the road leading up the hill to our bungalow. David thought we were going back the same way we came, travelling along the cliff to the second moai, then head up the field to where the road leading to our bungalow began. As we walked further and further from the road, I began to question David as to whether he knew exactly where he was going.
I was convinced we were heading straight for the rocky cliff and would inadvertently be plunging to our deaths at any moment. Adding to my aggravation was the strange phenomenon that happens every time David holds a flashlight in his hands. For some unknown reason he can’t seem to keep himself from continually shining the blinding light directly into my eyes. Frankly, it was bad enough that I was being lead toward a sheer drop off into the ocean trying to light my way with the luminary equivalent of a birthday candle. But to be continually blinded by David as he swings his flashlight around looking for our landmarks put me over the edge.
Walking this way in the daylight seemed extraordinarily simple. We just followed the coastline and made note of several key landmarks as we went past them. Coming back in the pitch black dark with two flashlights with beams that couldn’t cut warm butter, things seemed more ominous. As I felt we were getting further off course and coming way too close to the edge of the cliff, my questioning of David’s knowledge of where he was going became, shall we say, more intense. Instead of explaining to his increasingly panicked wife that he was going back the same way he came, David pulled out his standard line of “Trust me, I know where I’m going.” This is the same line that had us driving around downtown Chicago looking for a building with a half a car hanging from the façade because David ate the directions in his adamancy that he knew where he was going and didn’t “need no stinking directions.”
Needless to say, this reply didn’t help to make me feel more secure. Just for the record, this would not be the first time David inadvertently attempted to kill me on one of our vacations, but those stories will have to wait for a whole different set of blogs.
Finally we began to find our landmarks, which David excitedly pointed out to me by shining his flashlight directly into my eyes to make sure that I had seen them too. He was more than excited to make sure that I acknowledged that this time he did know exactly where he was going. If I could have seen him in the dark, I’m pretty sure I would have seen him pat himself on the back when our lone moai finally showed up in the beam of his flashlight. Knowing that we were on the right path, that we were not in emanate danger of falling off a cliff in the dark, that there were no man-eating wild horses, the wild dogs were pretty friendly and the island had no vicious wild animals or snakes that would dart out from the underbrush to attack our ankles, marital bliss was restored. We strolled hand in hand, chit chatting the whole way back to the bungalow about what adventures were on the slate for the next day.