You would think by now I would realize that the utterance of the most innocent phrase by my husband, David, could create some of the biggest adventures. But no, even after 27 years of marriage, it appears that even I can still be caught off guard by David’s dog-with-a-bone mentality when he get his mind set on accomplishing a goal. Our first dinner on Easter Island found David and I seated on the outdoor deck of a wonderful restaurant eating slipper lobster appetizers, garlic chili hot octopus and drinking Mahina, the locally brewed beer. We watched as the sun set on the ocean, throwing beams of light down through the clouds to the water below. It was at this moment David said to me, “I want to walk and take a picture of the moai down the street from the bungalow at sunset one night.”
On our second day, our bungalow owner at Hare Swiss and wonderfully knowledgeable private tour guide took us to Rano Raraku to see the moai quarry. We spent a wonderful day hiking up and down the trails, looking at all the moai. We then drove down the coast to Anakena. We then zigzagged our way back across the island visiting various ahu with standing moai of importance. After the long day of hiking about, David didn’t even fathom asking me if I was willing to traipse down the path to the moai just so he could to get his picture at sunset. We had 7 more days in paradise; the sun had been setting on the moai for hundreds of years, so surely it could wait one more day. He is a very smart man.
On the third day the rain came. Big black clouds clogged the sky. The rain came first in pitters and patters. Then the rain came in torrential downpours. David had painstakingly researched our top ten travel destinations list to make sure we were somewhere warm in January with as little chance of rain as possible, but as luck would have it, we found the one place that would book an historic rain event this January. Every mid-morning we would watch as the clouds began to retreat. By mid-afternoon we would be lulled by the caress of the tropical breezes into believing that today would be the day David would have his sunset rendezvous with his moai only to watch with dismay as each late afternoon the clouds would begin to build darker and thicker, ensuring that the beautiful array of reds, oranges and pinks from the setting sun would be completely absorbed by their dark and brooding facades.
On our second to last night David and I made a desperate trek down from our bungalow to the seaside and had dinner at what had quickly become our favorite “close to the moai” restaurant so we could be at our moai at sunset even though thick clouds covered the horizon and the wind had picked up to a gale force. I sat on a rock on the moai ceremonial grounds, wind whipping so hard my hair was standing straight out from my head as David diligently took picture after picture of the moai in hopes of catching the one stray glimmer of color that floated out of the gray and surly sunset sky. As I sat on my rock, quietly communing with the moai, watching the man I love with all my heart running around like a little kid in a candy store snapping pictures by the dozens, it dawned on me. I had made a critical error in judgment. I should have grabbed the opportunity to walk down with David on the second day when the sky had been so beautiful. I had taken for granted that by virtue of being alive and on the island, the gods of fate would bring forth a beautiful tropical sunset day after day to delight and entertain me. Sitting below the looming silhouette of our moai, my face began to burn with shame at my arrogance (of course it could have just been the wind buffeting off my cheeks).
Our last night once again found us running down the dirt road from the restaurant toward the moai to catch the sunset. Luckily this time there were brilliant colors of red, orange and pink filling the sky. David ran on ahead to make sure he didn’t miss a single minute of his final photo op with his moai. Since I knew there were no mean people, man-eating horses or vicious ankle-biting rodents to run out and attack me, in true southern style, I sauntered my way to our destination. It’s not like I didn’t know the way like the back of my hand by now. Sitting on my rock, I watched as David ran about happily snapping pictures from every conceivable angle to ensure that he would finally get his perfect moai at sunset picture.
After the last of the light left the sky, David and I walked hand in hand up the grassy courtyard to the parking lot where Peter and Tiare were waiting for us in the parking lot, completely content that after seven days of chasing, David had finally gotten his photo op with his moai at sunset. For me, life lesson learned. Even when in a tropical paradise, cherish every sunset, you don’t know when you might be in for an historic rain event.