San Pedro de Atacama – Chile

The Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama, is a popular oasis for people wanting to see some of northern Chile’s most impressive landscapes. Abundant in volcanoes, steaming geysers, salt lakes, thermal spas, intense lagoons and a host of breathtaking rock formations, it is a must-see.

The town itself, centred around a picturesque square and a humble church, is around one hundred kilometres from Calama. While it has become a hub for tour agencies, cafés and tourist accommodation, the dusty streets of San Pedro retain a laid-back place to have as a base for the myriad of tours around the area.

For those heading to Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, this town is a great starting or finishing point for the three/four day tours.

 

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Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

Twentysomething Jean Louise returns to Maycomb from New York City on her annual two week visit. As she readjusts to slow-paced Alabama life, she is faced with an aging Atticus, childhood recollections of Jem and the formidable scrutiny of her aunt Alexandra.

From her disillusions following the County Citizen’s Council meeting, the novel traces Jean Louise’s bittersweet return and her discovery of the abhorrent truths about her family and neighbours.

Go Set a Watchman depicts the civil rights tensions and political unrest in America’s Civil Rights era. In fleeting, vivid passages the divisions and prejudices between races, generations and states are captured.

While this novel is set 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird and was originally published as a sequel, it raises different questions, imparts unfamiliar characterisations and adds new meaning to an unforgettable classic.

The House of Spirits / La Casa de los Espíritus – Isabel Allende

Only the clairvoyant Clara and her otherworldly features can temper Esteban Trueba and his desires and political schemes. Their daughter, Blanca, utterly enrages him with her unwavering love and longing for a man Esteban forbids. Then there is Alba, his granddaughter and greatest joy, whose fiery ambition will lead the Truebas into a revolutionary future.

In a whimsical story of Latin melodrama, the personal and political passions and struggles of three generations of the Trueba family wind up in a turning point that finds them on opposing sides. Allende uncovers a family whose ties and contempt are deeper and more enduring than the political loyalty that came between them.

In a bizarre and exaggerated plot, the turbulent contention between capitalists, militarists and Marxists is intertwined with magical realism. Spanning over decades and lives in a world where there are green-haired women and horse-sized dogs, who love marmalade, The House of Spirits is a powerful and original story.