The flight to Rapa Nui is long and uneventful, until the computer map that plots the flights course, suddenly changes from a great expanse of ocean to a great expanse of ocean with a small, triangular dot, displayed off to one side. With landing preparations underway, you have no time to take into fact that you are about to land. There is no stacking of aircraft here, no delays because other flights are landing or taking off, this is the only flight today. There probably won't be a flight tomorrow. Once you land, you are here for a while.
Decanting directly to the tarmac, you walk to the arrivals terminal at Mataveri airport. Arriving deep into the night as I did, you are taken aback by what looks like the entire 3,500 population of the island. If it were daylight, you would also be surprised at the length of the mile long runway; it's an emergency landing strip for the Space Shuttle.
Waiting for your baggage, you are cheerfully harangued with offers of accommodation from a long row of small booths advertising all the different places to stay on the island. Some are hotels, some are small houses with a number of rooms, and some are just single rooms staying with a family.
Maria Manutomatoma pate is waiting for me at the baggage claim. The ley (garland for those in the UK ;-) she gives me is beautiful and smells fantastic. With her are Mariane who had set me up with the accommodation and Maria's sister, Rosa. This is a special occasion, I am their first paying guest and through the dead of night, I am whisked away to my home for the next nine days. We chat until the early hours.
Awaking early with the sunrise, I find my room is overlooking the sea, with Rano Kau to my left, a half buried ahu in front and the ana tai kanata caves, down and to my right.
I have arrived on Easter Island.