In continuation of the series highlight travel through Chile’s Atacama desert, we come now to the lagoons of Baltinache at sunset…
“I know there is no straight road, no straight road in this world. Only a giant labyrinth of intersecting crossroads” – Federico Garcia Lorca
A landscape of salt and water: In Baltinache the clay and salt curdled Earth that surrounds a succession of seven lagoons—some too salty to sustain life— resemble miniature tectonic plates, cracked and fitting into each other in enzyme-substrate formation like nature’s own puzzle.
At sunset, the intense azure pools shimmer with reflective pinks from the sky’s dusk symphony. The blues of the lagoons of Baltinache, Atacama, inspired us to shoot these Berber (Moroccan) blues against the cracked clay terra of Baltinache. It is these sort of connections— finding linkage between the Sahara desert in the blues of its Berber people and Atacama in the blues of its lagoons— that are threads of connection that make the world that much smaller, that solve puzzles in our consciousness of often and otherwise inscrutable life.
It’s hard to imagine that this was only our second exploration with Explora, the South American hotel group that specializes in the art of luxury yet authentic exploration.As with each day at Explora, we’d planned our explorations for the day at the lodge and been promised that a sunset at Baltinache would be unmatched by any other experience in the world. When we arrived at the lagoons, we’d just come from an outdoor luncheon at the Coyote Stone overlooking the Moon Valley with our super guide José. The last of the swimmers (or floaters, I should say, as those lagoons that are safe for swimming are so salty that bathers can experience a certain alien bouyancy) were packing up their picnic baskets and as such, we had the entirety of sprawling mass of land to our three persons.
Though the draw of Baltinache is its lagoons and peach pink sunsets, it was the clay the struck me the most: how this interplay of salt and mud had formed such terrain as I’d never seen before stuck with me. How the red clay broke into patches of white salt that in turn melted into water fascinated me. We spent many moments in awe, in silence (well except those where I was rapid-fire cursing, despite the placid look on my face below, as the frigid water hit my skin when I climbed into the last lake) because what else does one do when in the midst of such numinousness?
What I Wore: Blue scarf from Rissani, Morocco; Custom silk robe from Casablanca, Morocco
I derive a certain satisfaction from wearing finds from my travels on other adventures. Bringing a bit of my beloved Morocco with me into Chile is a little more than symbolic that borders are just manmade creations and that what we really live in is what Lorca termed a “giant labyrinth of intersecting crossroads”. Call it Fashion Sans Frontières, if you will.
And how is it that a scarf made in Kathmandu, designed by Moroccan women who live in France fits with a pair of windswept trousers made by a woman in Bulgaria, the pair of them ending up together in Chile? Who am I to question the ways of the universe. I’m just thankful for the connection and that Explora’s excursions brought us all here, as it were.
Photography by Colby Blount