Browsing Category South America

A Memoir on Chile Independence Day – Or As The Chileans Call It, Fiestas Patrias.

Today is the independence day of Chile, which is also called Fiestas Patrias or dieciocho, the 18th. Having celebrated this grand day in its mother country, I promise you that the one week of celebrations preceding the independence day and on the day itself are unmatchable. And why shouldn’t they be?

On this date in 1820, Chile overthrew Spain and freed herself from 300-year-long captivity.

Chileans are thrilled around their independence day and celebrate it with honesty, love, and passion. Children, students, adults, grandparents all dress up, decorate, cook, visit their families, talk, celebrate, drink, host barbeques, dance, sing, and act.

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9 Months and 3 Countries – Golden Highlights of My South American Adventure

In the nine months that I was backpacking through South America (SA), I visited three countries: Chile, Peru, and Bolivia.

White roses, pink bougainvilleas, golden marigolds, and red hibiscuses bloom throughout the day in my parent’s garden, but then comes night, and the queen of the night takes over. These memories from SA waft through my being as the scent of the queen of the night drifts through my parent’s garden and settles in our wistful dreams.

Hope you enjoy these golden memories.

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Peru – In the Golden Foliage of Poetry and Pictures.

 

Oh dear friend, would you convey my message if you travel to the mystical land of the Incas.

 

photos of peru

 

Could you find that old lady who guided me to the bus and tell her that I dream of her hair as I dream about the Himalayan snow.  

Could you find that little mystery-eyed girl who would be bigger by now and whisper to her that I would come again to play the game of “donde estas” with her in her home.

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How to Score a Peru Visa on an Indian Passport – From India and South America

I traveled in Peru for a little more than a month, as the immigration officer at the Arica-Tacna (Chile-Peru) border crossing had stamped my passport with a one-time stay of thirty days, though I had a 183 days and one-year-valid Peru visa stamped on my blue passport. To get to stay a few days over a month, I had gone to the immigration office in Cusco to extend my stay. 

The immigration officer listened to my pre-rehearsed story that elaborated how I was in love with Peru and a month to explore it was too short. He stamped my passport with more days and suggested me to request the immigration officer next time to allow me to stay the entire duration granted by visa. I would have told the young immigration in charge at the Tacna border that I intended to stay for the whole period, but I was still new to long-term travel. 

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How I was Mesmerized by Atacama, the Driest Desert of the World – And You Would be Too

They say that the Atacama is the driest desert, but I disagree.

 

The blue lagoons quenched my interminable thirst for beauty,

the flamingos still fly right through my dreams, 

the imposing mountains showed me how high we could reach, 

and the deep valleys let me look so beyond that I didn’t even know existed.

Come, let’s ride this journey together, 

because my friend, 

you would need someone to hold onto,

when you are not sure if what you gape at is the reality,

or it is just another dream you behold. 

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San Pedro de Atacama – A Bustling–yet–Quaint Gateway to the Driest Desert

 

Sleeping on the semi-sleeper first seat in front of the wide glass window on the second floor of the bus, which was driving from Santiago to Calama, I woke up to find ourselves driving next to the Pacific under a star-studded, deep-blue sky which was complimented by a shimmering rotund moon. Even the contour of the immortal rabbit that Ruskin Bond says was dropped on the moon was difficult to trace on the bright moon. It was like a painting.

Having admired the scenery, I dozed off again and kept waking up intermittently until we arrived in Calama. That was when I pulled myself out of hibernation and, an hour later, I was riding on another bus to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. At the end of this blended twenty-five-hour journey, I stumbled out of the bus like a zombie and the glowering February sun focused all its anger on the first-time visitor. Luckily, my hostel was a five-minute walk from the bus terminal. I strapped on my blue backpack and strode as I had loaded the directions to the hostel in Google maps.

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My Worst Travel Experience – When Two Teenage Boys Snatched my Phone and Ran Away in the Delinquent Santiago

I donned my white formal dress, painted my lips red with my matte-look red lipstick, lined my eyes with Kajal Magique, brushed my hair and let them fall loose, strapped my G-Shock on my right wrist, checked my wallet for some Chilean pesos and put it in my bigger black leather purse, picked up my black Lenovo phone and earphones, launched Google maps, and walked out of the Airbnb to go for my interview at the English teaching center located in downtown Santiago. I had had to visit the center a few times to secure an interview with the English owner of the promising institute.

I took the lift to the ground floor of the building and having exchanged pleasantries with the joyful guard, walked out, and found myself face-to-face with the glowering January sun. I strode through the almost-empty roads towards the closest bus stand which was frequented by the bus that would have directly taken me to the cosmopolitan center of the town.

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Alone Together — Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America

Going to South America was one of the best decisions that I ever took. And the nine months I spent there is the shining skyline of my chaotic life.

As I returned back and tried to stand straight on Indian grounds again, someone told me about a writing competition which was looking for entries from women who had traveled solo to South America.

Yes, I was one of those women.

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