I found myself, seemingly all alone, staring up at the ancient and mystical Moai. I had met an Englishwoman the day before, a sculptor, who insisted she could “feel the magic” when facing the Moai. As I stood in front of a 30 foot statue, I felt an inscrutable power. Perhaps it was incredulity I felt, stood where I was with the waves crashing in the distance, but it was mystical. The feeling was palpable.
My eyes fell on a tiny speck on the world map spread out before me. Easter Island. One of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. I leaned in to inspect the map closely and came to a jarring realisation – Easter Island was a territory of Chile, a country that was on my itinerary! In my ignorance, I’d always thought it as a largely inaccessible Polynesian island! But wait! If I was going to be in Chile, was there even the slightest possibility of visiting? And with that seed firmly planted in my mind, I began my lengthy, almost neurotic research on getting to a place I’d only ever dreamed of.
As our taxi wound its way down the wide avenues of Santiago, our driver, despite his rudimentary English, regaled us with his vacation stories. “Viña Del Mar! Very good! Nice beach! Nice food! I go on weekend,” he announced excitedly, as he fumbled in his pockets while stopped at a red light.
As part of my fortnightly travel column “South of the Equator,” I write about relishing in the serenity of Viña Del Mar.
In the first installment for my fortnightly travel column for The Daily Star,”South of the Equator,” I come to grips with the reality of backpacking with a toddler. Jetlagged, we discover the nocturnal side of Santiago.