Friday, April 24, 2009

The Andes

Chile is extremely long (4,300 kilometers) and narrow (average width is less than 180 kilometers). Having visited the seaside towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar to the west of Santiago, we drove up the Andes Mountains to the east the other day.

The road zig-zags up the Andes, with very sharp turns. It was a nerve-wrecking drive, with something like 30 180-degree turns.

At the top, we were rewarded by stark but majestic views. The pictures speak for themselves.

We actually drove up to the border checkpoint between Chile and Argentina, and turned around only at the sign which says “Welcome to Chile”.

In winter, this is a poplar ski resort. Without the snow, the only people who live there are a skeleton crew at the hotel, and the soldiers guarding the border.

In more hospitable environments (such as the beaches of Vina del Mar), it is easy to get lost in the joys and hustles of living.

Up here in such harsh circumstances, I couldn’t help but to ask myself: Is it worth living (here, or anywhere) in this manner? Isn’t there a better way to live?

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