The quick & the dead: vistas red & white-2
At the red sand desert, morning

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

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…

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The quick & the dead: vistas red & white-1
Tracks in the popcorn balls of salt

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

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…

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The Chiquitanos and the Company Men
Altar and "proscenium," San Rafael

The Chiquitanos and the Company Men

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…

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Staying Alive on Death Road
No wrong turns allowed, Death Road

Staying Alive on Death Road

https://youtu.be/IlNvtIfkSek 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…

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Tarnished Silver: Potosi’s Bloody Mines and Mint
Cerro Rico, the famous silver mine of Potosi

Tarnished Silver: Potosi’s Bloody Mines and Mint

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…

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Honing a world: the Inca rise and fall
Replica of Inca cosmology on gold breastplate

Honing a world: the Inca rise and fall

(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…

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Seeing red in the Valley of the Spirits
Valle de las animas

Seeing red in the Valley of the Spirits

We were reminded of Sedona, and the multi-colored sandstone formations of southwestern US parks. But, like most other delightful natural sites in the world, the Valley of the Spirits offers its own special attraction. Located…

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