I've been home for a few days now, dazed and a little overwhelmed, exhilarated as I reflect on this amazing trip! On the way to Easter Island, we, my daughter Kate and I, and the fun and eclectic running crowd from Marathon Tours led by fearless leader Cliff Jennings, had three days in Santiago. First, it was strange to go from summer to winter and second, the water spins the other way when you flush!
Santiago is a bustling and sprawling city of 6 million nestled in the hills and mountains of the Andes Range. Unbelievable sites with snow-covered mountains --their ski season was about to begin -- museums, wine tours, great food and picos sours -- the official cocktail of Chile. Salute!
Easter Island was a 5 1/2 hour plane flight west into the Pacific Ocean. What a disconcerting feeling it was to be landing and seeing nothing but black! I felt like high-fiving the pilot for finding it. Actually, it's a common run for LAN airlines. Twice a week, it leaves Santiago to go to Easter Island and then continues to Tahiti where then it makes the same trip in reverse. Easter's airport has only a huge landing strip -- thankfully -- thanks to the US as this strip serves as the Southern Hemisphere's emergency landing for the space shuttle and a pavilion as a terminal. These are the only flights in and out so hearing a plane was eventful.
Imagine an island roughly triangular in shape, 6 miles across at it's narrowest with inactive valcanoes roughly at each point. No trees taller than me -- with a few exceptions where there has been reforestation -- no native birds -- I think I saw 2 small chickadee looking things -- hills covered with knee high grasses that looked like heather, wild and tame horses everywhere that roamed the island with the native dog population, again everywhere and no flying bugs. I think I saw one cricket and one crawling bug of undetermined variety. Did I mention the WIND? AND STATUES (MOAI)? There is so much to write about that this is not doing Chile and the Chileans -- Mainland's natives are Napuches and Easter's Polynesian natives are the Rapa Nui -- justice. Sorry! But now to the personal highlights:
- Winning the marathon and the feeling of breaking the tape. Major motivation for the track workouts!
- Being interviewed by Chilean TV having spectators cheering for me.
- Spending 10 days one-on-one with one of my kids and seeing her success in the 10k. 2nd place!
- The stampede of horses coming up on me during the race. This made me run a little faster, for sure!
- The rainbows because of the simultaneous sun and rain. The stark beauty of the island... the cliffs, the clear water, the grasses blowing in the persistent wind, the statues towering over all else.....
Cheers my friends and what a beautiful day for a run -- though I'm still taking a few days off :)