Showing posts from January, 2014

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Moon Over Rio

I heard so many warnings: “Be careful, there's so much crime in Rio de Janeiro.  People get robbed in broad daylight”. Another passenger said, “My dad was an army guy, but he won’t ride the cable car to the top of the Sugarloaf Mountain. It does not look safe”. The warnings gave me some trepidation, but as someone obsessed with the beach and the sea, I was not going to deny myself of the experience. Ever since our family friend from Brazil, Daniel, introduced me to Brazilian music and brought pictures of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to our Thanksgiving dinner many moons ago, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has intrigued me and now I was about to experience it first-hand. It was early dawn when we arrived in Rio de Janeiro. Almost instantly, the startling beauty of the Rio de Janeiro skyline captivated me. The seascape induced a feeling of mystery,  I could not help but wax poetic. MOON OVER RIO A light shines through the great seaport this early and this dark.

Chiloé, Chile: We Think the World from Chiloé

I was n’t sure what I was seeing - a graffiti or a mural painting . Our bus was zipping through a relatively busy city street in order to get to the ' Palafitos ' , a stilt village or dwellings built on bodies of water , one of the   famous tourist attractions in Chiloe. I was on a tour in Castro, the capital of Chiloe, a picturesque island with rolling hills and views of the sea and many wooden churches declared as UNESCO World Heritage sites . We passed the same corner with the painting on our way back from the Palafitos .  At that time our bus was stopped in traffic , so I had more time to see the painting and read the words , “ Pensemos el mundo desde Chiloé , no Chiloé desde el mundo ”.  I tried to translate the words , but my translation did not amount to something, perhaps due to my limited knowledge of the Spanish language.  But I pondered upon the phrase while our bus made it

The Chilean Forest: Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park and the Petrohué River/Falls

Our drive takes us along the stretch of the road sandwiched between the tranquil Lake Llanquihue set against the looming Osorno Volcano and miles of green valley dotted by farm animals, walled by spring flowers (yellow lupines), and bordered by the Andean Mountain, which rolls and soars in lush waves.  We are heading towards Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park for a walk around the Petrohué Falls. Since leaving Puerto Varas , our guide keeps looking out the window from the motor coach to check if the cloud hanging over the tip of the Osorno Volcano has dissipated.  She wanted to show us the ' breathtaking view of the Osorno Volcano ' advertised in the tour brochure, I guess.  But even screened by clouds, I see in astonishing detail the overwhelming beauty of nature that it excites my awareness. Mirrored in the clear waters of Lake Llanquihue, one of Chile’s largest lakes, are the reflections of the clouds and snow that cover the Osorno Volcano.  T

Torres Del Paine National Park, Southern Patagonia

I had a mixed feeling of excitement and apprehension when I left Punta Arenas for the flight to Puerto Natales. I was excited because the day that I had been waiting for finally arrived - the highlight of my trip in South America, a visit to Torres Del Paine - among the top of my list of places to see before I die. At the same time, I was afraid that the travel operator would cancel the trip that broke my bank due to the bad weather. Our travel coordinator called out my name last to board the 9-seater Cessna. Ushered to the small plane, I took the last seat, close to the exit door. The exit door had a latch that looked thinner than the latch on most trunk luggage. The combination of the exit door that looked as if it were about to fall off and the streak of rain on the window did not help alleviate my apprehension. We were flying low over the green valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains to Puerto Natales where we were to board a motor coach for another 2 ½- hour drive to Torre