WHO: Jeff Ziskowski, 36, of Beacon Hill
WHERE: Easter Island (Rapa Nui in Polynesian), Chile
WHEN: Nine days in May
WHY: ''I like out-of-the-way places," said Ziskowski. ''It's amazing when you look at it on a map, just the remoteness of it. It's in the Pacific between Tahiti and Chile -- 2,300 miles from Santiago."
GETTING THERE: Chile annexed Easter Island in the late 1800s and the native Rapanui became Chilean citizens in 1966. The tiny Mataveri Airport opened the following year. ''
MAGICAL MOAI: ''Moai are scattered all over the island," Ziskowski said of the more than 800 ancient statues that draw tourists to the middle of the ocean. ''It's like seeing the pyramids: You get there and stand next to those moais and you can't believe it. There's hundreds of them in various states of repair, about 14 feet tall. Most of them are just lying on the ground. When you stand next to these things, it's amazing how big they are, how detailed they are. There are still some attached to the quarry in the ground. You think, why did they do it? How did they do it?"
GETTING AROUND: ''There's just the one town [Hanga Roa, the capital, where most of the island's 3,700 inhabitants live]; the rest of the island is basically open land. There are wild horses like you cannot believe. It's mostly motorcycles there, really more like motorbikes. I rented one for two days. I saw a couple cars, and there are taxis, but I don't think the locals can afford cars. One day, I decided to take a taxi to the other side of the island and planned to walk back on the trails, but I ended up asking a tour operator if I could get a ride back. I was thinking, I was by myself, it's 7 miles, it's by the ocean, there're horses. You're going up and down; it's a rocky, rocky coast. I had two bottles of water with me. . . . If I hurt myself, or got a bite, there's no one there. If something stupid happens, is it worth it?"
LOCAL FLAVOR: ''The fish was amazing," he said. ''I was there nine days, and had fish eight of those days. It was that good. Mainly I had tuna. The drink there is a Pisco sour. It's like a brandy. You can buy it in the US. . . . After dinner, I spent some really late nights walking around. The nightlife wasn't like rock and roll, but was local Tahitian music."
SURF'S UP: ''The beaches were very clean, but the water was absolutely freezing. I brought shorts but went in the water only two times," Ziskowski said. ''It's wild being in the Pacific in the water and up on the sand are the statues. People were sunbathing, but there aren't a lot of beaches. You could do deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving. I considered going in the deep-sea boat just for the ride, but they're like 20-foot boats, and those are big waves. Even though I'm sure thousands of people have done it, it just did not seem the right thing for me."
NATURAL WONDERS: ''The flowers were amazing," he said. ''I've got two pages in my album on just the flowers. Oranges, reds, greens, I don't know what kind. There were banana trees and coconuts. And the sunsets -- they were absolutely beautiful."