A Point in Time – Easter Island

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In brief: Though once created by volcanic forces, riven by human passions and greed, Easter Island now offers a stunning historical legacy and a Pacific charm. Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, or Isla de Pascua, is a dot of land …

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Relaxed – the pace of Montevideo

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In brief: With a seemingly endless sandy beach front, popular neighborhood resources, a charming center, and a relaxed air, Montevideo can be a pleasant place to live. We chose Montevideo, capital of Uruguay, as our home for the six months …

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Locks and loads: Panama’s Great Connector and Divider

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In brief: Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific was an engineering triumph, one you can see from a trip within the Canal. But it also split the country, a division of the well-off and poor still evident today. The locks of …

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Fitting in: Gringolandia in Ecuador

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We came to Cuenca mainly to study Spanish for a few weeks. After four and half months of non-stop touring and activity, during which we learned scattered bits of Spanish, we thought we should try to consolidate our learning with …

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The quick & the dead: vistas red & white-2

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To begin with the dead, the mummies and the mound-covered burial chambers we visited along the edge of the salt flats attest to residents from thousands of years ago. It is likely that then, as now, they harvested salt to …

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The quick & the dead: vistas red & white-1

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Think of the Uyuni salt flats (El salar de Uyuni) as a completely frozen lake, eye-piercingly white in the fierce sun and chill air here at around 3600 meters (12,000 feet) altitude. At nearly 11,000 square kilometers in size (4000 …

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The Chiquitanos and the Company Men

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Religious orders like the Dominicans and Franciscans arrived soon after Spanish soldiers spread across western South America in the early 1500s. They came to convert the indigenous from their heathen religion to Christianity and serve the interests of the King …

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Staying Alive on Death Road

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On the bus’s speakers boomed Highway to Hell. So we knew we were at the top of 65 kilometer long Death Road – carved into the sides of the steeply sloped Yungas mountains and dropping 3500 meters, or over 11000 …

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Tarnished Silver: Potosi’s Bloody Mines and Mint

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Potosi is less enticing for what’s left of its colonial town (where only Spaniards were allowed to live) than for its historical importance. Out of Cerro Rico, the double-humped mountain that rises behind Potosi and is featured on the Bolivian …

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Honing a world: the Inca rise and fall

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(NOTE: This articles is longer than our usual, but the impressive Inca history and culture merit the length…and more.) In 1532, the Spaniards arrived in Peru with hundreds of soldiers. They soon destroyed a sophisticated Incan empire stretching from Colombia …

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