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Owen

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Ischigualasto Provincial Park: Moonwalking with Dinosaurs

By Owen / June 14, 2017

It was eerily silent.

There were only the white crumbly ground, dry desert shrubs and sedimentary rocks of otherworldly shapes. Lots and lots of these irregular rock formations; almost like they’re trophies in an outdoor natural museum.

Time and again, I thought to myself, “Where am I?”

If it wasn’t for the 15 or so tourists, I’d have imagine being lost on another planet. I wouldn’t be surprised if a one-eyed, four-legged monster dripping green gooey saliva jumped out from under the rocks and attacked us.

Indeed, this looked like a scene out of a Starwars movie, on one of the desert-like planets with alien inhabitants.

We were walking under the beaming sun towards the Cancha de Bochas (The Balls’ Field) in Ischigualasto Provincial Park.

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50 Shades of Red: Awe-Inspired by Talampaya National Park

By Owen / June 13, 2017

I tilted my head up, and stared at the majestic red canyons.

All 150m of it.

Like a 7-year old in a candy store, I was in absolute awe. The canyons surrounded me on both sides, like all sorts of colourful candies surrounding the little boy, and I gasped in all its glory.

Millions of years of wind, rain and erosion form a dramatic landscape of red hills and bizarre rock formations. Layers of different shades of red painted the walls of the canyons, almost in a parallel fashion. How do they look so smooth, like a natural art masterpiece, is a mystery to me.

Now I understood why this place – the 215,000 hectares (a half-million acres) Talampaya National Park – is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

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4 Steps to Apply for a Paraguay Visa in Buenos Aires

By Owen / June 10, 2017

If you’re like me and want to visit every country one day…

Or visit as many UNESCO sites as possible…

Or for whatever reason, decided to go to Paraguay and require a tourist visa, here’s how you get it at one of the nearest capital city, Buenos Aires.

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Magical Disney Forest in the Los Arrayanes National Park

By Owen / May 18, 2017

The clouds looked fluffy in the clear blue sky. The lake water shined a bright crystal blue, as it reflected the strong afternoon sun. The dark green forests and snow-capped mountains lined both sides of the lake – they seemed never-ending. I stood on the deck of the ferry, as it rides tranquilly along Lake Nahuel Huapi.

An official photographer on-board busily snaps photos of us passengers, hoping to earn a quick buck.

The Spanish-speaking guide called us in as we began to dock in the port after 55 min.

As a kiasu Singaporean, I rushed to the exit and walked hastily ahead of the group – with good reasons. It was 3:30 pm and the Los Arrayanes National Park, or Arrayanes Forest, is empty right now.

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Cerro Castillo Day Hike: From Village to Castle

By Owen / May 10, 2017

I climbed over the shoulder-height fence into the private property, only to be stared at by… cows.

A huge mob of moo-ing cows.

I stared at them, they stared back. It felt as if they’re gonna charge at me at any moment. We were separated by only a thin wooden fence.

A second wooden gate leading to the trailhead was closed. What should I do?

I stood at the bottom of the Cerro Castillo National Reserve contemplating my next decision.

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The Marble Caves: Chile’s Natural Art Masterpiece

By Owen / May 8, 2017

I gotta admit…

I’m pretty disappointed.

The Marble Caves did not live up to my expectations.

There, I said it. I’m probably the only one who feels this way, but I have my reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, the caves were gorgeous. But after hearing my misadventures and knowing all the trouble I went through to be there, and what I saw, you’ll understand why.

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Cuevas de las Manos: Time-Travel with Ancient Art

By Owen / May 3, 2017

I remember back when I was a kid in art classes, we would place our hands onto a piece of drawing paper, and trace the outline of the fingers with coloured pencils.

We would repeat it over and over again – with the other hand – until the whole piece of paper is filled with the outlines of our hands. Some were smooth, others were shaky.

I’d look at it with a satisfied smirk, submit it to the teacher and rush out to play with the other boys.

I never gave much thought to art classes as a little boy, which makes it ironic now that as a young man, I love to see ancient, tribal art. The Cuevas de las Manos (literally Caves of the Hands) in Argentinean Patagonia is just that: ancient artwork of hand outlines, yet the instance I knew about it, I went out of the way to see it.

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50 Shades of Blue: Trekking Perito Moreno Glacier

By Owen / April 29, 2017

We walked slowly in a single file, lifting each foot with more effort than usual. Our feet were weighed down by the crampons. Each step felt deliberate, robotic even.

The vast expanse of blue went beyond the horizon, seemingly never-ending. It’s unlike anything I’ve encountered before. All sorts of blue surrounded us; sky blue, deep blue, dirty blue. There must’ve been more than 50 shades of blue. Icy peaks, cracks, small ponds and columns of glacial ice make up a wild and captivating environment.

Is this what Antarctica looks like?

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Chorrillo del Salto: El Chalten’s Neglected Waterfall

By Owen / April 27, 2017

Peaceful. Serene. Trancelike.

Just the rush of water falling 20m, splashing onto the rocks. I had the whole waterfall to myself.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE waterfalls? I adore the combination of white, blue and green coming together seamlessly to paint a picture of nature at its purest.

After a disappointing climb towards Laguna de los Tres aka Fitz Roy, that is what I needed.

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Hiking Fitz Roy and Getting Knocked Down by Forces of Nature

By Owen / April 26, 2017

Snow, stones, and leaves pelted my face. Visibility was hindered. I lowered my head and pushed on.

The hardened mud path became soft and wet, then gave way to snow. I got down on all fours, slowly crawling up the slippery slope.

The winds howled. Powerfully. One by one, we get knocked down by the invisible force of nature. I looked around me: there were fewer than 10 of us remaining near the top. Every single one sat down on the snow path, holding on to dear lives.

“It’s impossible! The wind is too strong and the path is too slippery!” said one hiker, as she moved down, inch by inch, on her bum, too afraid to stand up.

An Asian guy sent his partner down to safety and tried again. He strode effortlessly up the snow path and went farther than everyone else. He too, slid down the mountain a few minutes later in disappointment.

“It’s too dangerous! The wind is too strong!”

I asked him how far were we from the top. “Around 100m.”

Damn it! We’re so close!

The winds howled again.

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