But we were due to be heading east. Due easy in fact. 2000 miles out to sea. To one of the most remote inhabited places on earth. Easter Island. The place of those giant stone heads known as moai.
The flight there was great (a super comfortable Boeing Dreamliner), the airport was simple (basically a hut), and the welcome warm (purple garlands all round).
Easter Island is small. Very small. It is a simple triangle of scrub land 14 or so kilometres across connecting three dormant volcanoes. There are very few trees, thousands of wild horses, a bit of tourism, and lots and lots of moai.
We were staying in the south part of the island away from the only town - obstensibly so we could experience island life at its most genuine. But in reality we were staying in a high end tourist lodge that locals probably never see the inside of.
In its defence, tourism is really the only industry on the island and all the money generated by the lodges, hotels, guides, and rangers goes back into the local economy. Also the relatively high entrance fee to the national park is ploughed back into protecting the unique ecology of the island.
Our first afternoon was spent acclimatising and going on a trek down to the sea to see one of the ancient maoi platforms. All the statues we saw had been tipped over there though in one of the tribal wars the island suffered 1000 years ago so it was a bit disappointing. Nice view of the sea though.
In the evening there was a local dance performance which rather caught our eye, for some reason...