MY FAVOURITE DAY – San Pedro Cycling

one of my favourite days

 

the rain sculpts everything, she said
Met Yolan on the bus, learnt a little (more) about German education, various laws, religion
Unfortunately, as I was told, a snowstorm had blocked the immigration entry to Bolivia from Chile, and under the snowy conditions the gate was blocked, and many tour groups cancelled or postponed their tour. After asking around, I found that some tour groups insisted the gates would be open if we waited until a later timing because the snow would melt; others said it’s dangerous because of the road conditions. What should I do? Should I proceed to stick to my schedule / venture ahead, despite these supposed ‘dangerous road conditions’ or should I just wait another day? I wasn’t even sure if these ‘dangerous road conditions’ were real, because other tour groups said they werent operating because it was low season and they had few numbers and manpower. Who’s lying? Who’s telling me the truth? What should I do????After hemming and hawing for a couple of hours (yeah… bugged me for quite a while) I decided to take the uyuni tour tomorrow. On hindsight it was the right choice, of course! Though I’m still unsure who’s lying. I went ahead with the uyuni tour despite other operators highlighting the snowy road conditions (like the day before) but I couldn’t stay here for a week or so. I went ahead and all was well-

Back to my third (and incidental) day in San Pedro, which turned out to be one of the best days ever, and because it was an unexpected turnout, that amplified the value of this memory

today was amazing in many ways and here i collected one of my favorite moments
i love cycling within nature because i feel free and happy
on further thought i think i love moving through the roads in open air – on motorbikes, in lorries, in bicycles – it is in these moments that i feel infinite, riding with the wind
today i met yolan and his friends for cycling
in the end only both of us went ahead, because Katie was unwell
we collected the locks, the extra tyre, the pumps, the headlights, the bicycles
and about 245pm we were off! cycling towards the diablo valley place based on the map given by the bike operator
it was a beautiful day – i had never seen valleys like this, not this close, maybe in pictures or movies; but cycling through these valleys – i felt a surge of joy
bumpy roads, crossed rivers, took off shoes at a point to get across, felt the ice-cold river chill my feet
how is there even a river in the driest desert in the world? well apparently it rained the night before we arrived
still!

beautiful day, beautiful day

look at those volcanoes behind – such a breathtaking view

so dry

muy bonito

then we dropped our bikes and hiked up the valley at one point
at various points i thought, i know someone who will love this
reached the peak, waited for the sunset
there was absolutely no one around us
you could holler towards the gaping valley and hear your voice echo back
so this is what they mean, this is what they were representing – i think to myself
i have seen people doing this in movies, read about it in books, but this was the first time i hollered into a gaping canyon of sorts and heard my voice echo back

love, love the undulating terrains

most beautiful view ever

 

the sun started to set; the sky started to release its multitude of colours
i got a little nervous – were we sure we wanted to stay and cycle even after the sun sets? after all, we were in the middle of the atacama desert – there was no one around us, the other cyclists had gone back
joked several times about rationing my water – what if we had to camp at night because we got lost
and i am extremely poor with my directions

at that moment scenes of backpackers getting lost within mountains, unfound, and the movie 127 hours, they flashed through my head

yolan said he was confident of heading back, and he hiked several mountains at night, so i decided… i could survive 24hours only eating 2 biscuits, i’ll be fine and at the worst of it, there’ll be some cyclists the next morning
still, at the peak the conversation was as such:
me: i had better not finish all my food……. we might need it tonight
him: yeah, i am not sure if we’ll get out…. maybe our headlights won’t have enough battery
he laughs,
i laugh along nervously
and we watched the sun go down

it was beautiful

by the time we got down the last of the sun was disappearing and it was getting cold
our bikes were still there, woohoo! collected, turned on headlights and cycled
out of the valley
out onto the road

there you see the stars in the distance
a sky full of stars
the moon brightly beaming from above
i felt myself gasp at its beauty

yolan turned off his headlight, and i followed
we continued cycling
illuminated by the moonshine
under the stars
we were silent
it felt amazing, incredibly beautiful
and i thought, wow, i cycled in the atacama desert, through its valleys, witnessed its sunset and the stars
and i am 23
i hope i still have a lot of time to do awesome things (like this) in life
i hope i don’t get stuck in a job, in my dictated lifestyle
i hope i remember to have moments like this – moments like this when i feel alive
(of course, i think my definition of this is likely to change with time – maybe when i see my child graduate, make something incredible, that would be my way of garnering the same feeling)
still, i had a lovely day
and i love days like this, one that could have been so ordinary, so mundane
and instead it is one that i will remember always

Astronomy tour at San Pedro, supposedly one of the best places in the world for stargazing

we used our iphones to take photos of the moon through their high-tech telescopes

(not bad for the focus of a broken iphone 4)

 

look at those craters! -shudders-

Valle de la Luna – San Pedro de Atacama

mis favoritos
Admittedly, my post-trip self is facing a truckload of inertia in getting these posts up. Spamming my pictures and the notes from my trips (existent or not):

When I pass the coast on the bus and see the waves crashing my mind goes back to Rapa Nui and the Pacific Ocean and how clear the water were

And the morning we chased the sunrise with the car, bob Marley playing
Don’t you worry about a thing
Everything is gonna be alright
I guess it’s just one of those moments you feel infinite
Also thinking about time, looking at the world clocks and how I’m time zones away, how my time zone shifts with certain places
In easter island the sun rose at 8am, and set at 8pm
And now as I open the window shade and peek through it I see a family waving to another passenger on the bus, air-kisses goodbye
Love long bus rides
As the bus rolled closer towards San Pedro, we were greeted by the sinking sun that lit the clouds in hues of pink and gold
The German guy next to me nudged for me to look right; pink skies spread widely across the horizon, behind the mountain ranges etched with lines of brown and sand
On my left, golden rays
We captured its beauty in the best way we knew how – photos, photos, but it’s hard to capture it really

 

part of the pacific ring of fire!

here, i catch my first glimpse of the coca candy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the wind and the rain and the ever constant change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

look at those striationssssss

 

 

 

 

 

I kept seeing this checkered colourful flag in various parts of South Am. Googled: The Wiphala (Quechua pronunciation: [wɪˈpʰɐlɐ]) is a square emblem, commonly used as a flag, representing the native peoples of all the Andes that include today’s BoliviaPeruEcuador and parts of ArgentinaChile and Colombia. It exists in several modern varieties, which represent theInca Empire (Tawantin Suyu) and each of its former four regions (suyus).


 

 

 

 

I love you San Pedro!!!!

Easter Island from camera

Santiago airport – the seats for some reason are placed near the exits so each time they opened I dreaded the gust of cold wind. No wifi anywhere. Zzz. Okay, I went to the second floor and it had seats that allowed you to lie down and was pretty warm. Not that bad I suppose! Still, no wifi throughout this whole airport.
Still, this thought kept me warm: Can’t believe I’m going to easter island!! Gosh, I must be the luckiest 23 year old now. Seriously, (my) dream(s) come true :’)))))



first sign upon arrival—


Easter island, considered the most isolated inhabited place in the world. The whole island is a national park; I’m camping on a tent site for my accommodation, and at night I hear the pitter-patter of the rain at the sides of my tent. The whole island feels safe and tranquil and magical – I think I can feel the mana, the spiritual presence of the Rapa Nui

More than 20,000 archeological sites
The Rapa Nui spent more than 700 years without contact from the rest of the world
Tribal wars, famine, deforestation and cannibalism almost cause the extinction of the Rapa Nui
On this day European navigators discovered the famous island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. Of course, its name refers to the fact that Easter was celebrated the day when the island was discovered, on 5 April 1722.
During its peak island was home to 9000 people but in 1877 there were only 111 Rapa Nui left
The mana, or spiritual presence of the Rapa Nui

 

i had never seen such huge waves crashing against the coast

maybe in rio, but this, there was a force surrounding the strength of the waves, my imagination whispers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My camera breathed its last on my first day in Rapa Nui.

Easter Island – from day 2 and its magic

We hiked up the volcano. Wasn’t too hard (for me :p the running has helped I think)

I wish I recorded down everything he said, but we talked a little about afterlife and Brian(?) talked about his theory, about how we’re energy, and when we die we don’t actually disappear – only the body – the energy just gets transferred to another form of energy.

‘Yeah it’s pretty complicated but I hope you get what I mean…’

Lester: if it’s so complicated why don’t you just believe there’s a god?

Quote of the day: life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away
Lester has no bucket list because he’s always been clearing the things on them – reminder to self
At night, I lay in my tent and listened to the rain quietly pelting down against my humble abode
I love camping!! Especially on a night like this
I know that out there, beyond this sheet, is a stretch of sky above me full of stars
Listening to the pouring rain trickling down the sides of my shelter

And as I sat here in the night I felt so incredibly engulfed by the beauty of this island
This was one of the most incredible night of my life, for sure
Above me was one of the most beautiful night skies I’ve ever seen, augmented by everything that happened today
Wearing the seashell necklace
Sitting in the field a meter away from my tent

My last night on this magical island

I guess everything happens for a reason – times like this I really do
The Mexican boys and I had made plans to hike up the volcano in the morning – I woke up early, excited to start the morning and seize the daylight. Unfortunately they did not wake up – I waited for 45 more minutes before the thought of leaving first entered my head. After all, they had nine days and it was my second last! But I decided to wait, having made the plans – have to admit it was getting me jittery though, since I was awake (excitedly) since… 7. After some (excruciating) wait for them to shower and stuff it was already 10. Sigh! The inner anxious ant in me was bursting to run around the island, but the other side calmed my self down and we (at last!) set off.
The hike was lovely – as I wrote in the evening,
After that, the boys left to the campsite and I walked on to the centro. Along the way I asked a man how I could get to the ____; that’s the turning point of my trip. After awhile we decided that he would take me to ____. Driving, rolling along the green hilly landscapes with Bob Marley playing cheerily in the background, horses grazing, the sun peeking amidst the clouds, I looked on.
Walked around the beautiful place
Luis (I now became acquainted with his name) said his friend invited me to watch a Rapa Nui show at night
I agreed – nothing productive I would have done anyway
The show was some indigenous dance and performance (that tourists paid like 20usd for) – much thanks to Luis!!! After the show we sat at the back of his truck. His friends gathered, we got beers and they started smoking joints. The stars were glowing. I was amused at the situation, it’s one of those times where my life feels like a movie. Us, laughing together under the stars, them getting high in m in Rapa Nui. after that we drove back to x’s place – chatted a little and I received the seashell necklace
That I will always remember
‘Destiny’, Luis had said
Strangely ‘destiny’ was what x had said this morning as well – does destiny really exist?
Things about Rapa Nui – they learnt history through parents, they wanted autonomy, $$ park fees to support : control by self (political, not geographical), their park their place, they have the mana
Issues of medical care – how the severely injured had to pay for a private jet to fly in to pick up the patient to chile’s hospital
I was up well and early – the skies were still dark at 8am
Cultural prophetic – band
Maybe I should have just stayed in and taken a good long WARM shower; instead I chose to roam around, foregoing the awesome shower I could have had instead of sweating despite the cold weather. Sigh. Couldn’t help feeling crappy as the rain started to fall; the streets were dark and me being me, with my horrible sense of direction, got lost (for sure). Thankfully it was only 5 minutes away, and moments after I stepped into shelter, the rain started pouring more relentlessly then before. Guess that’s something to be thankful about, I do feel better hahaha expert at self-consolation
The 3 hour walk was alright, I am good at walking long distances, stepping into grass, onto rocks, I love it actually – that’s why I love hiking I think. On the way I contemplated about certain things I wanted to write down but was lazy and they’re slipping my mind now. One was about how I passed by these students playing in the field and i was thinking how it felt to be them, having grown up surrounded by the moais in contrast to tourists like me who’s seen their images in magazines, documentaries, and flying all the way to see them in person and to be in awe
Like a celebrity, I think, as I thought about my response
Like a fan girl, the only thing I’m actually most fan-girl-mode about
And then them – the documentary that I watched on the plane, which pointed out that they learn about the specialness of their island from a young age
I suppose that’s why I come, to see the place for how it really is
I’m sure that now, when I see those giant pictures of the moais, I will remember walking past them through my days, positioned the ways they were, away from the sea
I will remember how people took photos from where they were, and I might be able to guess now how these photographs were taken, the background behind the shot. It’s pretty fun, like piecing memory and ideas together. I guess that’s one of my pulling factors here; to see what I’ve already seen in magazines.
I asked if they learn about their island’s history in schools, the guy said from their parents
This morning Luis played the radio – the major spoke, they apparently have the meeting every week on the radio channel talkshow where the mayor gives announcements and addresses concerns
Tsunami – was he worried? Nah, cause they had the spirit of the moais (or something like that) – what I got was a belief in the spiritual force that can guide in protecting the island’s inhabitants
Of course, this is a singular answer; I wanted to ask other local residents, but I’m a little superstitious that way.. Maybe I’ll ask when I’m in a different country
Yes they experience earthquakes
Boy on a horse puts on his headphones as they trot down the road from school; at night further out I turn my head to the side and see the moon, because there’s no buildings obstructing the view; a car stops for me because I look lost and brings me to my campsite; smiling local residents come up to me and ask me what’s my name; got invited into the home of a couple for tea and cookies and they gave me a necklace of seashells as a parting gift. This place is magic, magic magic 😢

me and volcanic crater (lake)
water as clear as this!!

the rapa nui flag waves in the wind

thats all

Valle de Nevada – part of the Andes chain

Yesterday on the Andes tour someone asked me how old I was
Cuántos años tienes?
Veinte-tres, I say
Oh, you’re just a baby! She exclaimed with laughter
I suppose I am, in some ways
But it has occurred to me that – I have always presumed myself to be able to live to a ripe old age, perhaps exceeding my 60s (I wonder if everyone else pictures their futures as such too?) but if I were to pass on at 40+, about half my life is already over (and in a flash too!) and thinking about it makes me a little anxious because there’s still much I want to absorb, to learn, to appreciate, to do

 

 

 

 

La Casa de Pablo Neruda (House of Pablo Neruda)

La Casa de Pablo Neruda (House of Pablo Neruda)

How lucky I am to be in this part of the world

A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who doesn’t play has lost forever the child who lived in him and is who he will miss terribly. – Pablo Neruda


No photography allowed inside the house, but his apartment was artfully decorated

with my headphones loaded with the guided tour I walked around and tried to picture how it was like during his time

 

 

View of Valparaiso from the room 

Back to santiago – it is (almost) with confidence that I board the metro. Easy to navigate.
Bought a new camera at parque acuerdo – $_$ but ohwell, i will recoup it next month, sis says
that perks me up
man walks me home
bus drivers wave me in
andes mountains
atacama desert tomorrow !!
la casa de pablo neruda
2 llama sweaters
I went to la casa de Pablo Neruda and was once again reminded by the fleetingness of my life and my short lifespan on earth
I have been having these thoughts more frequently in recent years, I realise
Eventually your life becomes a story, a few lines to sum up the emotional turmoil you felt during an eventful period
They separated, he had a secret affair with Matilda, he got very sick
Their secret love affair – that slightly dampened my affection for the poet because of (perhaps, my narrow-mindedness? Constructed notions of principles) – I did not approve of such actions, and I like the people I admire to withhold values that I approve of
Nonetheless through the house it was clear that Matilda and him were in love, she did love him, she safeguarded the home in trying times of the military regime and during his wake to preserve the house
And also from what she wrote
I mean, at the end, she was happy and he was happy
I feel my perception nudge a little more

 

Santiago, Chile – Street Art

considering the dynamic nature of street art / graffiti walls,
how do these murals reflect the contemporary socio-political concerns?

 

 

what does this mean? what does this mean?
i see so many of them depicting the indigeneous groups, i see them particularly in Chile. what do they mean?
i believe these have something to do with the rights of the indigeneous people and some sort of battle the minority groups are facing.

 

 

 

Santiago, Chile

There are moments by which the line ‘youth is wasted on the young’ flits through my mind, and i feel a surge of panic, i feel gripped by a sense of urgency – we’re at the youngest, the most good-looking, most capable points of our lives, bursting with potential and yet oftentimes we cloud our days with self-deprecating thoughts, bemoan about our declining energy levels in comparison to our ‘younger’ days; it’s all too easy to procrastinate and let the everyday slip by, the to-dos pushed back to the tomorrows, the next-times, when we’re at the prime time of our lives. I don’t want to succumb to that line, i don’t want my youth to be wasted, i think to myself when I think back to this line. But how? How do I seize this golden period of my life? What should I do? How do I do more, more, more? How do I get all the time to do all that I want to do in this lifetime? I can’t, and it deeply saddens me when I think about how I have a never-ending list of things to do, and how I’m not going to be able to fulfill this list (I could try! but i know my list will keep growing). Someone asked me what’s my motivation – now that I think about it again, I suppose it is this.
This one line.
i suppose i have reached the phase where im coming to terms with my mortality
and this fear fuels me in ways
My first impression of Santiago is that it’s not a city I’d like to live in, because of its smoggy nature. It felt a little dull, a little grey, an urban city. Then I visited the funicular and saw the blueness of the day, entered the bookshop and saw the poetic nature of the place. Spanish poetry, sigh. Sigh.

No abortion no capital punishment

i miss these empanadas!!!

some shop selling veggie plates. I WANT!!!!

omg. need

My amazing host who left me the keys and a fridge note. SO IMMENSELY GRATEFUL!!!!!!

When I took this picture, I took it thinking: I never thought I’d go to Santiago. And look, this piece of paper says I’m flying there from Buenos Aires. There, stated clearly, it says I’m going to Santiago.
Like I said, everything feels surreal. Even at this point. Was I really there? Was I really there? I was?
Hello, I will always be grateful I was here once in my life, once upon a time.
Santiago is funny. They have these people selling snickers bars and rockets (chocolates) in the metro station and outside. I initially thought it’s some dodgy business, but these people – businessmen, students – they walk up to the guy selling chocolates, bend down and take a couple of bars and then continue striding to their destinations. Pretty normal. Photo next time perhaps.

VALPARAISO + street art

A Chilean flag hangs from the window of an apartment in Valparaiso
To get to Valparaiso, get off the metro station ‘University of Santiago’, walk to the bus terminal linked to the metro (there’s a tur-bus sign), and go upstairs to get your ticket from the ticket office. One way costs 2700clp.

 

 

En route

That’s me, I’m a Happie! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I look at these pictures and I think, these are the only testaments to the fact that I was there. Memories feel so intangible; even at this moment sometimes those two months seem like a dream. But then I look at this picture and I recall how cold it was, how I smiled (grimaced) for this picture though it was freezing, taking a lone shot and feeling a little awkward, not quite sure how I should stand. Yes, I was there alright, I was there.

 

 

 

 

This was the day before I was flying off to Easter Island. Ah, who cares about these when I’m off to see the real ones!!! I thought to myself gleefully at this point. I found my heart swelling with excitement (and immense gratitude!!!) for being able to go, for being lucky enough to be able to go, whenever I held that thought.

 

 

Temuco in the south – indigenous people
I asked Zita about earthquakes; she laughed and said it’s fun, I should try it. I laugh, really?? What do you do when there’s an earthquake?
Apparently Chile is really prepared for earthquakes, well-equipped and the people are really used to it. Usually they just ‘enjoy the tremors’ until it passes, post on Facebook…. I confirmed this with Jose, who said the same. He said he liked it actually, the tremors. Have to say I’m surprised.
Of course, this is excluding the devastating ones.
I do feel safest in Chile thus far, compared to the other countries (cities). I don’t know if it’s my geographical imagination at work, or if it’s really the vibe that the place gives. At 8pm it’s pretty dark and I still feel jittery (the street lights are too dim and few) but if I were to picture myself in Brazil walking along this lighting I would feel more nervous. It’s still pretty crowded where I live.