Guatape – Painting the Town Red (and Blue and Green)

8 12 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 29
COLOMBIA

Guatape, near Medellin, central Colombia

Guatape’s animated streets are adorable: a labyrinth of dynamic scenes that adorn house facades and flow into the town’s plaza. Café-goers spill out onto the table-strewn roadsides clutching their café tintos y pan (black coffee and bread) while a few blocks away lies an islet-woven lake, Guatape’s main draw with national tourists.

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But the mystery of Guatape is this: despite its undeniable charm and phenomenal views, only a handful of foreign visitors wind up here. Which makes it a perfect getaway destination to spend a few days, but be warned, you may linger longer than expected.

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San Pedro – Dust and Desert

24 07 2010

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 9
CHILE

San Pedro Atacama, northern Chile

“Shhh!” urged our guide as he wildly flapped his arms to silence his unwieldly group. I stopped in my tracks, scared to move for fear of alerting the lurking beast to my presence. I glanced around, everyone was motionless, hoping to hide under the sheet of darkness but instead we were illuminated by the brilliant moonlight.

“There it is. Listen!” he whispered.

I cocked my ears upwards and heard light rain falling on a tin roof, but we were in Death Valley, a rust-hued canyon, with only the stars as our canopy.

Just then I heard a rattle. “Is that a snake?” the woman next to me whispered.

Sunset from Valle de la Luna, San Pedro, Chile

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Thumbs up to hitching in Vicuña

3 07 2010

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 7
CHILE

Vicuña – Pisco Elqui – La Serena – Coquimbo, northern Chile

Orange streaks crawled across the sky only to be overtaken by the dark night. Daylight had morphed into dipped car lamps speeding along the road. It was useless trying to cycle with no lights,  I’d have to try my luck at hitching.

If only there was a hitching sign like this in Vicuña

It had to be a pickup truck, nothing else – including the buses – would take both me plus a bike back to Vicuña. I could barely make out the vehicles whizzing past, their shapes were obscured by their dazzling headlamps. A pickup drove past and ignored my pleading face. Damn. It was getting too dark to see anything. Suddenly the driver reversed back and lowered his window.

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