At Residencial Petero Atamu, our home for one week, we met the extended family of Senora Dalia Pakarati, her daughters, grandchildren and cousins. They all live on this plot of land in seven bungalows surrounded by banana and mango trees. One building is reserved for tourists, but as soon as one of these rooms is empty, a family member moves in, bringing a TV along of course.
We spent a lot of time talking with Pina, one of the daughters, who actually manages the place and takes care of several children of friends and family members. She gave us a lot of insight information on the island, on the Tapati Rapa Nui and on the people and their culture. Without that knowledge, we would not have understood many of the things we noticed but were not able to decipher. It was always a great fun talking to her and she has a big heart.
As in many budget places, the Residencial was a great place to meet people from all corners of the world. There we befriended Macarena and Gonzalo, a couple from Santiago de Chile. They are spending their honeymoon on the island and are really fantastic people! Gonzalo, a lawyer who works for the Ministry of Economics, has an enormous knowledge of European history and politics. Besides that, he took an immense effort of speaking slowly and clearly to us so we were able to spend endless hours discussing various issues and learning about Chile. His wife, Macarena, was granted a scholarship for a PhD in Washington, DC, so both are going to spend the next four years in the USA and are now very ambitiously working on improving their English.
We also met Jerome or Jeronimo, as he enjoys introducing himself: a Dutch man of Indonesian origin, who has traveled every corner of the world and thus was the most valuable source of recommendation and entertaining stories. Only once did he briefly mention that he spent his early childhood in a Japanese forced labor camp where his mother was a prisoner during World War II.
Given the prices in restaurants, we prepared every single meal ourselves and no restaurant on the island could produce such tasty dishes. So Macarena & Gonzalo, Jerome and us cooked up the storm every evening often together with the family and eat together on the big table outside.
On the last evening, we met again Atariki, a young man who spends most of his time on the Chilean mainland and returns Rapa Nui for the summer. We had originally met him at the Tapati horse race. We were hiding under the same tree from the merciless sun when we picked up a conversation. He turned out to be an expert on using camera and explained a lot of features of our camera we had not discovered. We had promised to get in touch and finally on the last evening, we asked Pina to call him and we were really happy when he dropped by.
So for a week we lived like a big happy family without the negative aspects of such a life, since we all went our own way after that.