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Mesmerizing Atacama (Chile) – The Driest Desert of the World

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Covid-Related Travel Update, Jan 2024: Chile is open to international tourists. Visit the Chilean government’s official website for travel-related information and regulations. Don’t forget to read the government’s rules to be followed in public spaces here. My guide to Chile visa would be helpful for Indian citizens.

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

The Atacama Desert and Its Many Wonders

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. 

Related Read: My travelogue of Spiti valley – The Cold Desert of India


driest desert

Sun rises from behind the mountains, 

to show us what had always been there.

What would humans do without nature?

Then why is it so hard for us to submit to its power?


driest desert

The golden rays scatter across my face,

they make me shine,

they make me look ablaze.

They ask me to smile,

and in return,

they promise to always keep me warm.


driest desert

The azure-blue of the sky,

spread on the mountains, 

and coalesces with the still water,

but look at the golden dry grass,

it watches from a distance, 

as a spectator,

as if it has nothing to do with the world it lives in.


driest desert

Mr. Lake, are you a painting? 

Or are you for real?

If you are listening,

could you vapor out of the desert

and liquify by my side?

You see, I wasn’t this selfish always,

but your beauty corrupted me.

Related Read: Real Photos of Pushkar and Pushkar animal fair – The Dry Desert of India


driest desert

Blue-white brown-white blue-white-red,

as my eyes shift between the spectrum of these colors,

I pinch myself to see if I am hallucinating yet again. 


driest desert

I don’t like selfies

but I took many with you,

it was almost disrespectful

to not be clicked together. 

And now I would always be a part of you.


driest desert

I thought I was looking at a cat which has sneaked inside a brown carpet,

but it’s you, oh mountain,

it’s you who are so velvety,

Could I lie on you,

and feel a bit of the greatness of the giant you are?


driest desert

Arid desert,

and an arid-looking church,

a volcano behind,

and not even a single bird is perched.

But look at the patches of green that has shot up, 

out of nowhere,

you can find life anywhere,

if you let it be there. 


driest desert

Fly away,

for you can,

fly above your reflection,

fly against the volcanoes and the mountains,

fly underneath the dove-white clouds,

they might follow you,

just so you know,

but do not worry,

they only care to keep you close. 


driest desert

Volcanoes look at the flamingos,

and ask,

what is it that you all search?

The flamingos, jointly reply,


The volcanos laugh,

why are you so insatiable?

The flamingos reply,

because we have been bored of watching you.


driest desert

Oh, dear earth,

fume out, 

fume out all today,

for with your fumes,

you release your anger,

you say that you trusted us,

but we did you unjust.


driest desert

I might be too pink,

but oh blue-gray fumes,

together we look cool.


driest desert

Who said there is no food in the dry desert?

Look at these vicuñas grazing upon,

as if there is no tomorrow,

as if they are oblivious to us all. 


driest desert

The doors were all locked 

and barricaded,

the church still watches over the village though,

I wonder if the insides would be empty,

or there would still wander the souls of who left?


driest desert

This blue patch in the otherwise muddy water makes me wonder,

what if the blue was brown and brown was blue?

We see everything as we have been taught,

but what if one of us starts changing the reality?

Isn’t that’s what has happened over the years?

The gigantic mammoths were alive and the dinosaurs wandered,

but look now, would anyone think of them as real?

All is barren now,

let us promise to let live what is left behind.


driest desert

Live. Laugh. Love.

Have fun while you can. 


driest desert

If ever you run out of salt,

and it is too late to buy,

go find these walls in the mighty Atacama, 

they hide the salt inside them,

and I have heard,

they are very free-handed.


driest desert

You meet someone,

and then you are gone,

Isn’t each day just a fast forward of our whole life?


driest desert

I am taller than you,

but I wouldn’t compete with your depths.


driest desert

As I treaded in the white desert,

I wondered if I was walking in snow or in the sand.


driest desert

See, the mountain is wearing a cap,

soon the sun would set,

and take the orange-ness away,

maybe then the mountain would uncover,

we would then be able to see its face,

which he has been shying away.

Until we meet again!

Which place in the world makes you poetic?

If you liked this essay, you might enjoy this travel memoir and travel tips post: San Pedro de Atacama – A Bustling–yet–Quaint Gateway to the Driest Desert



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