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Christmas road trip - Page 5

post #121 of 273

Hi. Sorry about the crazy entrance, but I couldn't get a cab.
I believe I was sent for by a certain cat fancier?
post #122 of 273
Wow! Cool! I love dragons. Is the dragon female or male? What's her or his name? Anyway, welcome aboard! Your dragon friend can stay in the nice big room set aside for shipboard dragons. This is the modern Navy, you see, where everyone's welcome.


Lisa_CatFancier, I'm glad you like it aboard this boat! Yes, we have satellite hook-up — for all kinds of things in addition to commercial television. Have a good nap and we'll catch you in a bit.

Lorie D., yes, we're heading for Easter Island! It turns out there are too many crabs on Christmas Island just now — according to the biologists, not the sailors.

post #123 of 273
I think the dragon's name is "RRAAAR." He keeps saying that over and over. But, I call him Jim. Jim would love to stay on board. I mean, he is my ride.
So Easter Island, is it? Always wanted to go there.
Big stone heads. Weird.
post #124 of 273
So, Jim is it? Well, Jim is more than welcome to stay aboard. The inhabitants of Easter Island are quite looking forward to meeting Jim, as they've not seen a dragon before. I suggest, as a matter of good will, that when we get there you offer to take people up for dragon rides — if that's all right with Jim, of course!

post #125 of 273

Easter Island! Man, what a rockin' joint that was back in the day! RRAAR! I'd be glad to give rides around the island!
And don't worry about my ferocious teeth, I hate the taste of human!
post #126 of 273
Jim, it’s nice to meet you! Anything you need, just ask. And thanks for helping out by giving rides when we reach our port of call.

Say, here’s a fun thing to do whilst we’re en route to Easter Island: Let’s try seeing the picture at the bottom of this reply in three dimensions! Just follow the instructions below.

Free-Vision Fusion (Cross-eyed method)

This technique has the advantage of not requiring special viewing equipment. Fusion is the term used for the process for visually merging the left-eye image and the right-eye image into a single three-dimensional image. When using a viewer, most of the work of achieving the needed abnormal convergence for stereo viewing is done by the optics and design of the stereo viewer.

Free-vision fusion requires patience and practice, because your will power and eyes must do the work of the stereo viewer. You must be able to focus where your eyes aren't looking.

¶ Place the image in Figure 1 in the center of your screen.
¶ Sit at your normal distance.
¶ Slowly cross your eyes. You will see a double image, or four dots.
¶ Continue to cross until the middle two images overlap.
¶ Adjust focus on middle image, keeping the two images overlapped.
¶ You should see the blue circle floating above the black circle.

Figure 1

If you are having problems with this method, try the following alternate method:

¶ Place index finger between images at bottom.
¶ Focus on your index finger.
¶ Slowly bring your finger towards your nose, staying focused on your finger but paying attention to the background images in your peripheral vision. You will notice that instead of two images, there are four images floating about.
¶ Continue bringing your finger closer to your nose. You will see the two middle images moving towards each other.
¶ When the two middle images are aligned, or are on top of each other, stop moving your finger. You will now see three images in the background. The middle one contains the left/right images overlapped.
¶ Slowly remove your finger from your field of vision, while keeping the middle two images aligned.
Gradually force your focus out to the combined left/right image in the middle.
¶ If you have problems keeping a lock on the middle image try leaving your finger in the image for a while, but still focusing on the center image. Use your finger to regain left/right fusion.

If at first you fail, don't worry. Relax, go away and rest your eyes; and try it again later.


post #127 of 273

Ach! My eyes!

I told you not to stare too long!

post #128 of 273
Ladies, have you taken a good look, at the crew of this vessel? I don't think that I want to disembark!
post #129 of 273
Thats it. I am staying on the sub. I dont think I can get off!!!!
post #130 of 273
This was the best Christmas ever! We went through some sort of time warp and saw everything at once! The stars, arora borialis, cities, villages, islands, lights....It would take me years to describe the beauty and joy we saw and felt on this sleigh ride! Every thing so clear in my mind, but, so jumbled when I try to share it with you! The stars were a river of glittering ice crystals scattered across the sky...each star points the way to a deserving child. We couldn't see the homes with our eyes only our hearts and the most humble of homes were palaces of joy and love. So much love and compassion it makes your heart ache and overflow with tears of happiness. We were in and out in an instant, but , that instant is frozen in time and our minds. There are billions of children who only recieve the knowlege that they are loved and it is enough.
Wow, I really need to sleep and will share more when my mind can settle these images a bit more!
Thank you so much for this trip!
post #131 of 273
Mr. Cat, Whew, I really needed that nap! Just wanted to know "ARE WE THERE YET?" I feel like I've been asleep for days...I just visited Jim and he seemed to be getting a little restless! Can we let him go for a ride? I would hate to see what happens if he sneezes back there near the galley. The cook managed to drop a huge container of pepper and personally, I don't know if Jim can sneeze without scorching everyone within a ten-mile radius! Maybe we should find Thirtysilver and see if he can talk to him.
post #132 of 273
Of course I can talk to Jim! He bends to my slightest whim!
Okay, He tolerates me because I feed him . . . but I doesn't hurt to dream.

Careful, Jim! You almost burned that person to death!

Say, how close are we to the island?
post #133 of 273
Boy that Dragon has got some really bad breath!! Nice dragon! Here kitty, kitty... *backs up slowly*
post #134 of 273
While we’re approaching our next port of call, let’s have a look at the map:

Maybe we’d better look at a newer map:

Here’s a satellite view of the world:

Easter Island is west of South America, at the toe of the “E†in the blue “Pacific Oceanâ€:

A closer look at Easter Island:

And here’s Easter Island itself:

This is the Reimiro flag, the flag of the Easter Islanders themselves:

But Chile has jurisdiction on Easter Island, so it’s the Chilean flag which is flown over government buildings:

Here are morai, the big stone statues for which Easter Island is famous:

Since we’re here in the “off†season, there won’t be many tourists; so Easter Island’s one white-sand beach is rather vacant just now:

In the evening, native dancers (equipped with the requisite missionary covers) will entertain us:

Then we’ll have a nice supper, one which has been cooked in the ground:

The best way to get around on Easter Island is on horseback:

There are all manner of morai to be seen, if one explores a bit:

So have fun, everybody!

post #135 of 273
Thank you for your beautiful description of the sleigh ride! Now I wish I'd gone along, as it must have been wonderful to see such sights! If only everyone could perceive such a vision, we'd all be much better off.

Lisa_CatFancier, we are here (or "there")! Take a walk around and get some fresh air. Isn't it lovely here?


ThirtySilver, I know you and Jim will have a good time. And Debby, don't let Jim's fierce facade put you off: He's really a nice guy at heart.

post #136 of 273
I missed Theresa's post somehow, but I was thrilled with the magical sleigh ride. Somehow time seemed to wait for us!
The wonders we saw defy description. The fact that Santa Claus lives and does his good work every year proves to me that altruism really exists! His loving spirit permeates every gift! What a wonder he is. I wish he would stay all year.

Easter Island is fascinating! This should be great! But are you
serious about that flag, Mr. Cat? What is the significance of the
pattern? Debbie, stop trying to pet Jim! He's a feral dragon, I fear.
post #137 of 273
Here is a description of the flag accompanied by a brief history of the island's native inhabitants:

The inhabitants of this charming and mysterious place called their land Te Pito o TeHenua, "the navel of the world." Ancient master navigators who settled the island related stories of a great flood when all humans perished and nothing alive was left above the sea except the navel of the world and its people. Other pre-historic tales mentioned that they were the only people on the world.

However, these inhabitants — cut off in one of the loneliest place of the globe — created a complex and prosperous culture. In 1722 a Dutch explorer, Jacob Roggeveen, sighted and visited the island. This happened to be on a Sunday, Easter Sunday to be precise; and the name stuck: Easter Island ("Isla de Pascua" in Spanish). And since then, what Roggeveen saw has captured the imagination of every visitor.

Today's inhabitants are of Polynesian descent, but for decades anthropologists have argued the true origins of these people — some claiming that ancient South-American mariners settled the island first. According to Dr. William Mulloy, an archeologist who studied Easter Island for many years, ". . . .anybody who got here, in prehistoric times, was lost and had to stay."

Sadly and much later, what many explorers who visited the island found was a scattered population with almost no culture they could remember and without any links to the outside world. The Easter Islanders were easy prey for 19th-Century slave traders which depreciated even more their precarious culture, knowledge of the past and skills of the ancestors. Today the knowledge of belonging is much more in evidence.

After decades of neglecting traditional art forms, Easter Islanders have begun to take pride in their heritage. In On Giants of Easter Island by Charles Lebaron, a more in-depth study of the culture and research done on the Easter Islanders is presented. The Polynesian name of the island is Rapanui, which is a name given by a Tahitian visitor in the 19th century who says that the island looked like the Tahitian island of "Rapa" but bigger: "Nui."

With this clear Polynesian connection, symbols and elements began to be used by the islanders. The first flag-like object we have knowledge to be used by the natives was ". . . .the 'Te-reva,' which means 'to hang' in Polynesian," writes Grant McCall from the University of New South Wales. McCall also added that "Te-reva is the name used for such standards in Tahiti. One of such Te-reva is preserved in the Museum of Valparaiso in Chile. The banner has on it many devices of Polynesian origins, like the paoa (warrior's paddle or club) on each side; two facing Tangata Manu, or bird men; and two Reimiro."

However the most striking symbol of the island is absent on the flags: the famous Moai, monolithic statues carved from the island rock. The Moai are seen all over the island in different shapes, sizes and stages of completion. Many Moai are left unfinished at the quarry site. No one is sure yet as to what purposes did the Moai serve, but outside scholarly research together with accumulated local knowledge shows evidence that the Moai were carved by the ancestors of the present inhabitants. Ron Fisher in his work Easter Island: Brooding Sentinels of Stone mentions as one explanation for the statues that ". . . .two classes of people, the so-called Long Ears and Short Ears, lived on the island. The Short Ears were enslaved by the Long Ears, who forced the Short Ears to carve the Moai. After many generations and during a rebellion the Short Ears surprised the Long Ears killing them all, which explains the abrupt end of the statue-carving."

Perhaps this is the reason as to why the Moai were not chosen as a symbol of Rapanui, since the Moai are a representation of oppression and slavery. Further, the tourist industry and commercialization of the island since the mid 1970s have made the Moai a very commercialized artifact. On the other hand, the Reimiro is presently used as the main and sole device of the current Rapanui un-official flag. Georgia Lee of the Easter Island Foundation describes the Reimiro as ". . . .ancient ceremonial wooden pectorals worn by chiefs. It is of lunette shape with heads on the ends." It is a symbol of kinship and authority. Further to this significance, Grant Mc Call added: "One of the precious surviving samples of Rapanui writing, the Rongo-rongo, is carved on a Reimiro."

The current flag is of a white field with a red Reimiro at the center. The flags are homemade and held in secret. The flag does not represent separatist feelings or intentions, but rather is representative of the Polynesian past and culture of the Rapanuians ("Pascuenses" in Spanish).

But according to Georgia Lee, writing after returning from a recent trip to Rapanui, the Reimiro flag has separatist intentions today; whether or not this was true in the past. "I noted," she goes on, "that on New years Eve 1999/2000, the Rapanui flag was flown by some islanders with the Chilean flag BENEATH it." However the government of Chile, which had given to the island larger autonomy than in the past as well as the means to get connected to the outside world and other Polynesian cultures, isn't supportive of the Reimiro flag. The only official flag allowed to be hoisted is the flag of Chile.

post #138 of 273
Very interesting, Mr. Cat. Thank you!
post #139 of 273

"Feral" implies that there are tame dragons somewhere. We Dragon Kin are slaves to no man! We choose our masters . . .
Much like your cats.
To prove myself, I'll take anyone on a ride around the island if they wish! Hop aboard!
post #140 of 273
Say, I'd love a ride around the island! Would you mind? Where should I sit? Have you any pre-flight admonitions, such as are given by flight attendants in aircraft? This will be fun!

post #141 of 273
Would you care if I went for a ride as well? I would prefer to sit anywhere but over a wing! I'm not that tall and I want to make sure I can see everything...Do I need to wear any special type of clothing or is it fairly comfortable way up there? I'm really looking forward to the ride, it will be a rare treat. I've ridden on a few planes before, but, I have never had the pleasure of a real dragon ride!
post #142 of 273
I would love to join you for a ride! It would be lovely to feel the wind in my hair and smell the rich salt air! Just tell me where to sit!
post #143 of 273
I've never ridden on a real dragon before. I want to come too, it sounds like fun!!!!
post #144 of 273
Just climb here between my spine ridge scales, folks! Though the skin there looks tough, it is actually slick and soft like a saddle. And you needn't worry about the wind, magic keeps dragon riders protected from wind, rain, and birds!
To the order of pre-flight admonitions . . . I have none. However, there will probably be no movie or refreshments on this flight!

Everybody on?
Off we go into the waxing dawn.
Could those be more of my kin below?

Distant Moai turn dead faces to the deeps of time . . .

Fishermen in the still tide . . .

What a beautiful sunrise!

Pretty enough for golf . . .
post #145 of 273
Uhhhhhh....I think I'll pass on the Dragon ride...as you yourself said, there is no such thing as a "tame" Dragon.....how do I know you wouldn't decide to make an example of me and drop me into the Ocean?? I am also a bit afraid of heights...and I can't swim either...so I think I will just stay grounded and wait for everyone to come back.

Besides...I get a weird feeling that Dragon doesn't like me very much!
post #146 of 273
dragon riding is definitely not for acrophibics. Oh, Jim likes you . . . he's just a little nervous about humans. He's afraid they'll discriminiate against him because of his size, teeth, and fiery breath. He's very sensitive. In reality, Jim's a vegetarian, as this baby picture shows.
post #147 of 273
Oh how cute! I just really want to cuddle up with him now!
post #148 of 273
Well, one thing's for sure, dragons are nice and warm!
post #149 of 273
That was a blast — so to speak! Jim, thank you for the excellent flight! And I thank your friend ThirtySilver as well, for having the foresight to include you in our travels.


I highly recommend this dragon-riding, as there's so much more to see than from either the ground or a noisy aircraft. Besides, one never reads about dragons falling from the sky; so they're much safer, um, conveyances than the man-made varieties.

The scenery here is much more beautiful than I'd imagined! We've got to leave at some point as we're expected in Australia, New Zealand and Bethlehem in Pennsylvania; but let's just be layabouts on Easter Island for a while.

post #150 of 273
That sunrise was so beautiful...no...wait a minute...maybe that was a sunset. That sleigh ride with Santa and then a dragon ride right after that has me all confused.
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