Grassy hills of Tatacoa Desert

20 07 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 27
COLOMBIA

Tatacoa Desert (El Desierto de la Tatacoa), southwest Colombia

Tucked away between verdant hills lies Colombia’s second largest desert. Tree-lined roads lead to the parched dust bowl of Tatacoa where rust and white sand dunes reach out across the bizarre landscape.

A cactus at twilight in Tatacoa Desert

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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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Starstruck at Mamalluca Observatory

30 06 2010

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 6
CHILE

Mamalluca Observatory, Vicuña, northern Chile 

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” the man in front roared, excitement rising in his booming voice. I moved forward to take my turn. “Isn’t it surreal?” he yelled. Possibly, if I could actually see something other than a black void.  “Look harder!” he snapped.

I squinted my right eye and peered down the telescope again. There it was, in all its glory. A squeal escaped from my lips as I stared, half unbelievingly, at Saturn and its glowing white ring. 

View of the moon from Mamalluca Observatory, Chile

 

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