Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Blogs from the Eighth World

So much to tell you all, and now most of it will probably have to remain plan had been to make this blog my daily journal, and to keep my friends and family updated on a regular basis while I am so far away, but the death of my laptop combined with the intensity of our work schedule and the difficulty of Internet access has kept me from either writing much or posting anything. We are actually off today, so perhaps I will at last make it to one of the WiFi places in town and wait to pay for my 15 minutes on one of the slow-ass desktop machines at some exorbitant rate...

When I was here in ’02, there was one little Internet place on the sea road down the street from the hotel. It’s long gone now, but back then it had a single computer and a freezer with ice cream bars that had interesting names like “Eccentric”, “Crazy” and “Stereo”. I used to go down there with my roommate Mike Lu and take turns on the computer. The girl who ran the place was nice, and I gave her an Emmylou Harris CD before I left. Emmylou Harris is huge here, though not so big as Kenny Rogers or the Kelly Family (a multinational European country group that is apparently huge elsewhere in the world but unknown in the US). The night we went to see Topatangi (my favorite Rapanui band), Marc Kelly brought this girl up to say Hi, and it was the girl from the Internet place. She remembered me after all this time, and she said she still had the Emmylou Harris CD. I wonder if Gram Parsons ever caught on here...I left a few of his CD’s here last time, hoping to spread the gospel of the Grievous Angel.

The most popular song throughout the South Pacific, BTW, is “Queen of Hearts” by Juice Newton. I have heard versions in at least three different Polynesian and Micronesian languages. I’ll bet it’s big in Chile, too...go figure.

I’ll write a little more about Rapanui music shortly, but back to my original topic first, which was how much of my experience here has gone unwritten and will probably stay that way forever. But here are 10 things that have happened:

1. My laptop crapped out. Sergio asked a friend of his who does computer repair to check it out for me. He said: A. The problem is the monitor, not a virus; B. It CAN be fixed; and C. It can NOT be fixed here on the island.

2. I got to do an archaeological survey of the entirety of Ana te Pahu, one of my favorite caves in the world, and I recognized some complex and amazing features used for water-collection and agriculture. This helped me to spot related features in other caves later. “Cave agriculture”. Google that, amigos y amigos, and see what comes up. Bupkis, I bet.

3. I saw Topatangi live. Their first two CD’s, which I bought here in ’02, are among my favorite recordings ever. I got their new CD, too.

4. I got to see Matato’a live. Matato’a is the great Rapanui band who had a world music hit back around ’01 with “Tama’i”, which really is a fantastic song. Excellent video, too, with traditional gannets.

5. I got dragged up on stage to dance with the Matato’a dancers. Dragged probably isn’t the right word. When the pretty Polynesian gal came down the aisle and reached out her hand to me, I said what the hell and went up there and shook my moneymaker for all I was worth. I probably looked like Elayne on Seinfeld, but I was not going to pretend I was shy. After all, I probably had more clothes on than all nine male and female dancers combined. The guys, particularly. I joked with Jut that I was going to start a collection to get those poor bastards a Brazilian...

6. I am getting to see Terry Hunt, John Dudgeon, and Amy Commendador-Dudgeon again. They were the lead faculty of the UH Archaeological Field School when I was here in ’02, and I learned a lot from them. I see them most every year at the Society for American Archaeology meeting, but it is great to see them here on the island again and be able to speak with them at greater length about archaeology, evolutionary archaeology, Dunnell, Rapa Nui, etc.

7. Got two new fishhook pendants, one made from makoi (thespesia populnea) and one from shell. I am very happy with them. Now I have three from Rapa Nui. I need to go back to Hawai’i and get one made of bone, and finally to go to Te Aotearoa and get a jade one.

8. Making great new friends. I love making new friends.

9. I grew back my beard for the first time since ’03. The middle part anyway.

10. My caving gear really stinks, even after being laundered. That’s a good thing!

So that catches you up a little, if anyone is still reading. In case I don’t manage to post again, I am due back in the States on 20.July.

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame you weren't able to blog as you had hoped. I myself am still reading despite the long delay inbetween. Glad to hear you are having so much fun and meeting new people. And how cool about the girl and the cd. Nice story. Wish I had been there to see you shaking your money maker, I'll bet that was a hoot and a half. Well, hopefully when you return maybe you will share some of your stories with us anyway. Much love to you. Safe journey.