EVERYONE HAS THAT FRIEND WHO SAYS “I THINK WE SHOULD GO TO…” THIS TIME IT’S A DESERT I NEVER HEARD OF. CHILE’S DRIEST PLACE ON EARTH. THIS AREA IS SO VAST AND INTIMIDATING THAT I BEGAN THINKING ABOUT SURVIVING IF I GOT STUCK OUT HERE. MAYBE A DAY IF I WAS A WARRIOR. LAND MASS REQUIRED 0400 AM CALLS TO BEGIN TRAVELING TO LAGOONS, VOLCANOES AND GEYSERS. DRIVING INSIDE A CRATER TAKES ALL DAY AND MONUMENTAL BOMBASTICAS CREATED FROM EXPLOSIONS MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO ARE MIND BLOWING. OUR BASE IS SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA OR AS A GUIDE SAYS “ITS THE TOWN LIKE THE MOVIE FOOTLOOSE”. NO MUSIC NO DANCING. I FOUND OUT LATER THE TOWN NEEDED A PURGE FROM THE BOLIVIAN BLIZZARD THAT SET DOWN AND CREATED COKED OUT ZOMBIES. BAD FOR TOURISM I WOULD AGREE. SALT LAGOON FACT 160 GRAMS PER LITER OF WATER RIVALS THE DEAD SEA. AND A CRUST FORMS OVER YOUR WHOLE BODY IN SECONDS ONCE YOU EXIT THE CHILLY WATERS. 12000 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL YOU CAN SEE 3 OF THE 6 SPECIES OF FLAMINGOS. THE ANDEAN THE CHILEAN AND JAMES. THEY EAT ABOUT 17 HOURS A DAY AND SOME FLY TO CANADA AND BACK. I THOUGHT EAGLES WERE BAD AZZ NOW ITS THE BRINE SHRIMP EATING PINK FEATHERED BIRD THAT TAKES THE CAKE. THIS PLACE IS HUMBLING AND EVERYDAY SPENT HERE LEAVES YOU IN AWE…ATACAMA.
ARRIVED IN SANTIAGO IF ONLY FOR A DAY. “WHICH BUS DO I TAKE?” “VERDE”. AN AGGRESSIVE HUSTLE AND A FEW DIRTY LOOKS I GOT ON A DOUBLE DECKER BUS. LONG TIME AGO I MET A CHILEANO WHO LOOKED A LOT LIKE PIA ZADORA, SO MUCH TO MY SURPRISE CHILEANS ARE LIGHT, DARK AND INDIGENOUS. 17 MILLION PEOPLE WHOSE LANDSCAPE IS BUFFERED BY THE ANDES WHICH LED ME TO BELIEVE THEY ARE KINDA COLD AND CUT OFF FROM THE REST OF SOUTH AMERICA. I STAND CORRECTED….AGAIN. MY OBSEVATION ARE AS FOLLOWS: DRINK THEIR COFFEE AND EAT LIGHT SNACKS STANDING UP. EVERYONE WALKS EVERYWHERE SO SMALL BITES ARE KEY. LOVERS IN THE PARKS GIVES PDA A BOOST. WHETHER IN AN VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL EMBRACE, THEY ALL DON’T CARE. ITS ALL ABOUT BRAZOS Y PIERNAS. THEY LOVE ALLENDE BUT PINOCHE NOT SO MUCH. PATRIOTISM IS EVIDENT IN SONG WHICH CAN BE HEARD OFTEN THROUGHOUT THE CITY BY EITHER A HUM OR A MODERN DAY MINSTREL. PASSION IS A TASTE OF WINE OR MANY A FLAG SEEN. MOTE CON HUESILLO IS LOCAL PICK ME UP. IT’S MADE OF PEACHES, SYRUP AND WHEAT GRAINS IN A CUP EATEN WITH A SPOON. CHILEANS LOVE IT LATE BUT ITS WORTH THE WAIT. CIAO CIAO.
READING ABOUT THIS PLACE AND WATCHING JACQUES COUSTEAU AS A LITTLE KID IS A DREAM FULFILLED. CLEAR OCEAN WATER NO MATTER WHERE YOU DIVE. MORA, THE WELCOME DRINK MADE FROM RASPBERRIES BUT THE DRINKING WATER HAS A BIT OF A SULFUR TASTE WITH A SALINE FINISH WHICH CAN EITHER QUENCH YOUR THIRST OR GIVE YOU THE “WILLIES”. DARWIN’S FINCHES SURPRISINGLY DO NOT CHIRP. AND THE VOLCANIC LANDSCAPE IS RICH WITH SIENNA AND BLACK HUES. CRATERS CREATED BY MAGNA CAN BE SEEN ONLY WITH A GUIDE. AS YOU WALK ALONG TO SECRET SWIMMING ADVENTURES THE GROUND CHANGES FROM COARSE SAND TO SALT BEDS TO CRUNCHY VOLCANIC ROCKS. SEASCAPES AND SOUNDS PROMOTE A BLISSFUL SLUMBER LIKE NO OTHER. FOOD FROM THE SEA IS PLENTIFUL AND LOBSTERS CAN BE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. DIVERS REPORT SEA TURTLES, LARGE STARFISH AND HAMMERHEAD SHARKS. AND THE ONLY TRAGEDY I WITTNESSED, WAS A TRUCK CARRYING PILSNER BEER WHICH LOST SOME ITS CARGO.
QUITO ECUADOR THE ELEVATION IS POSSIBLE REASON FOR EXPERIENCING 4 SEASONS IN ONE DAY. THE PRESIDENT IS WHEEL CHAIR MOBILE AND HE HAS BEEN MAKING HIS MARK BY CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE. NURSING WOMEN RECEIVE 50.00 MONTHLY SUBSIDIES, 300.00 PER MONTH TO YOU IF YOU CARE FOR A DISABLED PERSON. GAS IS CHEAP BCUZ ITS ALSO SUBSIDIZED. AND ADULTS WITH DOWN SYNDROME ARE GAINFULLY EMPLOYED. NARY A STROLLER, THE WOMEN CARRY THEIR PRECIOUS LIL ONES TIL THEY ARE ABLE TO WALK. SLASH AND BURN IS A RURAL NORM. CORN REIGNS SUPREME AND NOT A TORTILLA IN SIGHT. THERE IS ECUADORIAN TIME WHICH IS AN INITIAL HEAD SCRATCHING EVENT TILL YOU FIGURE IT OUT. 2 BEDROOM SMALL APARTMENT IN CENTRAL AREA 500. 00 BUCKS per MONTH DOLLARS WIDELY ACCEPTED EVERYWHERE. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE GETTING THE SHORT END OF THE STICK BUT I OBSERVED THE COMMERCE THEY’VE CREATED TOO. CACAO HERE WILL RIVAL THE SWISS FOR THE DELICIOUSNESS ANY FORM. MY FAVORITE IS BIZSCHO AND HOT CHOCOLATE. ACTIVE VOLCANIC ACTIVITY AND CRATORS ARE DIFFICULT TO SEE SINCE FAST MOVING CLOUDS TEND TO OBSCURE THIS STUNNING LANDSCAPE. AH THEN THE PEOPLE, THEY ARE QUIETLY HAPPY, AFFECTIONATE AND HEARTY. ABOUT 25 CENTS TO RIDE THE BUS EVERYWHERE AND IM TOLD NO MORE CHICKENS OR GOATS ON SAID BUSES BCUZ THERE IS A NEW FLEET. QUITO IS A GEM.
Not long ago I peered into a beautiful compound on an island while traveling on a chicken bus. I thought some people fly into country go straight to the resort and stay put. I gawked to see more of the lusciousness inside. I realized as long as I greet and meet the good people of the Republica Dominica it doesnt matter where one stays. Observation: Most of the men I saw are sinewy, lithe and handsome. The women just as well. Beautiful complexions and low timbre voices. Landscape reveals major crop is sugar cane and I tend to judge the economy based on way livestock looks…skinny and bony. Abraham says the get their gas from Venezuela “muy carro” . and I asked him “…and religions?” . “oh catholico, Pentecostal Siete dias. Adventists. Jehovah’s witness”. Then the hurricane arrived and like a well-oiled machine, the boards went up notifications went out and the tourists hunkered down. Shakespeare’s play “much ado about nothing” is what I thought. Stranded x 2 days and prayers answered. Stand-by flights and 48 hours later back on familiar soil.
Everyone goes thru stages of your favorite snack or food. Maybe yours is walnuts with currants or lemon juice on everthing and you smell like Pledge. During my college years one semester, I ate a chile Relleno every day for a month. So now its Kimchi in all its earthy goodness. I’ve enjoyed its pungent briny crunch 4 times this week and I have risk having the breath that announces to the world I 💜 Kimchi. Even its preparation is a beautiful thing. Handcoated with a fiery mash on each leaf by people like you and I. Then put away as though it has misbehaved for being an acquired taste. Initial presentation looks like body parts in a clear small barrel which I find oddly appealing. Plop in the bowl then chopstick onto my plate. If Kimchi was a person I’d give it a hug.