Hexagonal tiles of salt stretch to the horizon hemmed in by bluish mountains. The crunching of salt crystals beneath my feet sounds like stepping on fresh snow. I’m encompassed by total silence in an otherworldly spectacle that is largely devoid of life. Continue reading
They laugh when Coen sign languages if he can join them. Their faces are skeptical. “A foreigner? Playing mahjong?” But they see he is serious and one of them gets up. “Take my place,” he motions. Continue reading
Two men with furrowed faces under wide sombreros enter the arena. Callused hands leisurely hold the reins of the horses and short ponchos striped in natural colors fall around the cowboys’ shoulders. A gate is opened, a young bull set loose. Let the game begin! Continue reading
I follow a winding trail along the slopes, which demands a bit of clambering over slippery rocks. I pick another handful of those juicy blackberries along the path, which constitute my breakfast. At a stream, I strip and lower myself into one of the shallow pools sheltered by rocks. Water of 100º degrees (40 degrees Celsius) flows down my shoulders, which is bliss in the crisp temperatures of dawn. Continue reading
“You’re lucky. Normally I don’t answer the phone if I don’t recognize the phone number,” Luis Jaime said.
We were lucky indeed. Continue reading
One moment we were driving through green, lush vegetation; the next we were on the moon. Kind of. We were entering a miniature version of the Bryce Canyon (US): a red-brown, eroded landscape sculptured into gullies. Continue reading
When we returned from the Galápagos Islands and I looked back on a trip full of magic and wonder, my eye was drawn to a sticker above my seat in the Land Cruiser.
“The Journey is the Destination“
And I realized, once more, how true that is. Continue reading
From the Peru-Ecuador border of Huaquillas to Guayaquil it is a couple of hours drive; I reckon some 250 kilometers. I had checked some guidebooks and other tourist info and it didn’t appear that there was much of interest along the way. Continue reading
It’s weird, it’s funny, it’s incredible. We’ve been camping here for close to four weeks and I’m still somewhat in awe of us being here: in a workshop. Continue reading
I love exploring villages, towns and cities on foot. In South America, La Paz is one of my favorite destinations, which center is a hive of activity but still has the amiable feel of a town. I lived there with great pleasure for some six months.
However, going on foot is not a matter of course as streets are steep and at an altitude of 3800 meters it is easy to get out of breath. Taking a taxi or bus is a cheap and often easy way to move around. Continue reading
Salar de Uyuni, in southwest Bolivia, is a vast ocean of white of 130 by 90 kilometers surrounded by the Andes Mountains – it is said to be the largest salt flat in the world containing some 10 billion tons of salt. At the entrance are series of salt pyramids that have been scraped together from the surface and are ready to be transported to the nearby village of Colchani.
Wherever we look we see white. It looks like a world of fresh snow which has not yet been disturbed by footsteps. Continue reading
I lean backward, balancing my body on my tailbone, holding my hands under my 45-degree-bent knees. With my feet just reaching the surface I can perfectly balance myself in the river, sitting on the laterite road. According to our GPS the river should run 1.8 kilometers from here! However, it is rainy season and the river has flooded vast stretches of the countryside, including the road. Continue reading
This is day 6 in the 30-day series “An Act of Kindness by a Stranger“. Our journey through Bolivia’s Jesuit history is pleasantly interrupted by seeing some wonders of nature.
In the Jesuit Mission of Santa Ana we take a look at the map and conclude we will have to return to the mission of San Rafael in order to be able to reach San Miguel. While we are discussing this, Flora, the caretaker of Santa Ana’s Jesuit Mission, chimes in and says there is another road which, in fact, is a short cut. Continue reading
“I have some chicken on skewers left. Would you like one?” Marcel asked.
I looked at Coen; we just had noodle soup for dinner and aren’t hungry.
“With peanut sauce,” Marcel’s wife Sandra added with a smile.
Coen was lost: this guy lives for peanut sauce. The chicken, succulent thanks to a marinade, and peanut sauce came with a beer. We had already fallen for the charm of Pousada (guesthouse) Portal do Vento on arrival, but now we wanted to stay. Continue reading
In North America only 1% of the purchases lasts longer than six months, says the narrator on the excellent movie about the Story of Stuff. That’s a depressing thought, and one day I am confronted with this madness of buying, largely on impulse, when we need to replace an oscillating fan in the Land Cruiser. Continue reading