Friday, December 16, 2016

Chileans, Remnants of the Desert, Easter Island, and Stray Dogs

There are so many things to say about our time in Chile. First of all, it's been so much fun. We traveled to some of the most unique locations on the planet in this country alone. Secondly, the people have all been warm and friendly. Our tour guides in particular have been excellent. And our self-guided days have been exhausting, but fulfilling. We've walked everywhere to see some beautiful sites. All together, Chile has been an enjoyable country full of natural wonders, including its diverse people. 

In particular, I wanted to make mention of the inhabitants of Easter Island, a Chilean island with Polynesian roots. The people of Easter Island are an interesting mix. Some of them look Polynesian and speak Spanish. Others look very Hispanic and not at all Polynesian. 

My observation on mainland Chile was similar. There was such a variety of color and complexion of the people. Some looked European white, many looked Hispanic, some had an indigenous tint to their skin and facial structure. In many cases it was difficult to tell who was Chilean or not. I had a similar experience in Nepal where Nepalese could look more Chinese / Tibetan or look more Indian and anywhere in between. Truly amazing to see the mix of each culture / race.

Anyway, I leave you with a recap in photos of our last few days in Chile of: 

Last looks at the Atacama Desert, including: 
  • Machuca village
Easter Island
  • seafood
  • Ana Kakenga - Cueva de las dos ventanas
  • Anakena Beach
  • stray dogs
Salt flats of the Atacama with volcano Licancabur in the Andes Mountains in the background
Panorama of the Salt Flats
Small lagoon near Laguna Cejar with salt content so high you float easily, similar to the Dead Sea.
Wide open roads through the desert
El Tatio Geysers are the 3rd largest geyser field in the world
At sunrise, the temperatures were around 19 degrees Fahrenheit
After seeing the geyser field, we took a dip in the pools heated by the geysers
The village of Machuca was a short stop to pick up some llama bbq
Pisco Sours to cap off a tour at sunset
Sunset in the middle of the desert
Fresh ceviche on Easter Island. Fresh seafood is the best thing to eat on the island. All other foods are imported. 
A carpaccio of fresh fish of the day with grated cheese, capers, and lime.
Ahu Tongariki
Ahu Tongariki
We rented an ATV to tour around Easter Island
This beautiful stray dog came to hang out with us under this canopy on Anakena Beach
Rano Kau is an extinct volcano. And this stray dog followed us for 8 hours throughout our day trek.
Ana Kakenga is a site of old lava tubes that lead out to the sea.  
Moai were carved from the site at Rano Raraku and transported around the island

As I write this post, we are already in Auckland, New Zealand. We had to take a flight back to Santiago, Chile from Easter Island just to get to Auckland, eastward just to go westward. Otherwise, our other option was to fly via Tahiti which would have cost nearly double. 

Today begins our 2nd country on this journey. We'll keep you posted, so stay tuned! We have plenty to learn about the Kiwis!


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