It wasn't until after I'd booked my flight to Easter Island that I realized I'd be arriving on Super Bowl Sunday.
While I'm not the biggest fan of the NFL, I do enjoy the spectacle of the game, the camaraderie of the party and any chance to wave -- for at least a few hours -- my flag in the face of whatever foreign country I happen to be visiting. I recall with great fondness watching the Arizona Cardinals in a shabby American-owned pub in Santiago a few years back; the average size of the patrons was astonishing after spending so much time around South Americans. The bar served pitchers, which is all but unheard of in Chile.
While I didn't form any lasting friendships during the game, there was a sense that this event could and necessarily would draw us together, if only for a few hours. Most of the time, in South America anyway, your countrymen are to be avoided. Their recognition of you and you of them a sign that you haven't yet fully assimilated into the host culture -- as if that should be the goal of every trip.
After kick-off, we were able to stop posing, at least for an afternoon.
And so it was that I was searching out the Super Bowl on one of the world's most remote scraps of land, a place where you wouldn't expect to see the game except for the fact that it's The Game, and somebody must have it on, right?
Early reports were not encouraging.
"The island doesn't have cable," said Carlos, the guide driving me from the airport to my hotel. He was not aware that his words were daggers. He didn't know a soul that ever got NFL games, let alone the big one. He did note that the hotel had "probably the best" internet connection on the whole island, so maybe there would be a digital solution.
In the afternoon, I asked a couple other guides, sure that someone would know someone who'd have, at the very least, a pirate signal on which I could tap into the American psyche for a few blissful hours.
A few hours before game time, I struck up a conversation with a couple from California who'd completely forgotten the significance of February 3, 2013. Would they be interested in tracking down a place to watch? Absolutely. But shouldn't the game be streaming online, they suggested, unknowingly endorsing Carlos' original idea, skipping the fantasy of Buffalo wings and seven-layer dip in the South Pacific and simply enjoying a grainy game feed.
Minutes before kick-off, I fired up the feed and was greeted by Kaley Cuoco in her purple suit. Pre-roll ads I could deal with, if that meant watching the game nearly 6,000 miles from home with a local pisco cocktail in hand and a view of the Pacific.
I was feeling good. I was considering how reminiscent the great sculptures lining this island's shores are of a offensive line and the storied legacy of Pacific Islanders in the NFL. Then the feed stalled and "ERROR: Feed Data Error" led to an endless cycle of ads. There was no footage of an early Flacco-Bolden strike.
It was Super Bowl Sunday and I was missing the game. On the plus side, I had an island to explore.