“Doctor” the two young female interns are saying flirtatiously while giggling and bashing their eyelashes at young Señor Doctor. “Doctooorrr did you take a look at my test?” “doctoooorrr are the blood test results ready yet” Doctooorrrr this and doctoooorrrr that! “Aaah, you are soo funny doctoooorrr”.
In the background the TV is spewing out images of what seems to be some crappy late-night fantasy movie, but it’s hard to tell because half the screen is some purplish blurry blob. Another giddy intern keeps hoisting her oversized hipster glasses higher up on her nose while smiling sheepishly, her gaze far away. She seems high, but as the big round clock hanging on the wall is getting closer to three AM I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt – she might, maybe, just be really, really tired.
A woman behind a washed out green curtain is moaning in pain, an old guy is constantly coughing – except for them and mister Frenchie, hiding behind the curtain in front of me, it doesn’t seem to be much going on at this tiny little ER tonight.
I really, really, really wanted to go to Epecuen, a ghost town some five-six hours south of Buenos Aires . The once thriving tourist town – that has been covered in water for about thirty years, before the water declined and the place remergeed as a salt covered ruin a couple of years ago – would have been the perfect location for a clown shoot. I knew about the place before I left for South America, but as my route changed and I headed north up through Chile instead of through Argentina from Bariloche, I thought I wouldn’t make it there, not on this trip at least. I tried to let go of the place, tried to push it out of my mind, telling myself I would find other good places, and I did, like Chaitén for example!
Then my brother sent me a Facebook message a couple of months later, when I was in Bolivia, with a link to a norwegian newspaper doing a little feature of the ghost town, and telling me I should go there and that it would be perfect for a clown shoot. And again I started thinking about the place. The idea became more and more feasible, and when I were in Buenos Aires at the end of my trip I managed to scrape togehter a full clown crew of awesome people willing to do the trip with me. To rent a car, to head over there, have fun, take pictures, sleep in the car and then head back. It was going to be great! But then, as all details were finally figured out and I had made certain that everyone actually would and could be going and that this trip actually probably would take place and we just needed to do the booking of the rental car, we figured out that we were to late for the cheap rental price we had made our figures of. All other rentals would cost us at least twice as much and my crew couldn’t wait one day and do it later, so we decided not to go. Now if only we had booked the day before…
Now the good think of all this is that because we didn’t go to Epecuen – and because I was completely crushed but still wanted to do one last shoot in South America before going back home to Norway – I ended up having the most awesome clown shoot ever, with the funnyiest and most spontaneous clowns I have ever worked with, in the Buenos Aires metro. Subways and clowns, two of my favorite things to photograph, and some great people, what could be better? Read More
There were so many times on our drive from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, through Eduardo Avaroa National reserve, to the salt flats of Uyuni in Bolivia that I wished we had more time, that we could have stopped for longer so that I could paint up some faces and take some clown pictures. Luckily I still managed to take some of Pip near the red lake at least, and after three day our tour was done, my two salt flat clowns (Pip and Natalie) and I decided to stay one day longer in Uyuni in hope of better weather, and to spend more time on the salt. They because they wanted more perspective shots, me because I wanted clowns – the thought of going to the salt flats for the second time in my life and not have a single clown picture was unbearable.
So for another day we stayed. We got a taxi driver to take us to the edge of the salt flats and wait for us for a couple of hours. The weather didn’t get better, but when it came to it, maybe it actually was to the best (for me at least), two lost clowns in a tore down building made of salt with a blue sky in the background? Nah, I don’t think so.
After two wonderful days in Eduardo Avaroa National reserve, looking at colorful mountains and lakes, and spotting hundreds of flamingoes, we finally reached the highlight of our trip, the big wast salt flats of Uyuni, except it wasn’t the highlight I had expected. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been there once before, with my family, and the views stunned me. That time we were blessed with a clear blue sky (at least one of the days, we spent two days on/near the salt flats), dotted with some decorative clouds, the ground was a white flat stretch with intricate hexagon patterns all over, and I took this huge panorama that still to this day is one of my favorites.
This time, on the other hand, the sky was just one white backdrop most of the time, blending with the salt flats in stead of making a great contrast, and a rainfall the night before had washed away most of the hexagons. Don’t misunderstand me, the salt flats were still great, they were still beautiful, white and endless, but last time was so perfect that I guess nothing can compare with it (except maybe going there at the end of the rainy season, I really want to do that one day, when the flats turn into one big, gigantic mirror).
The first two, and last three pictures in this post are from last time I visited the salt flats and Uyuni.
Salar de Uyuni. Seemingly endless salt flats stretching out in the highlands of Bolivia. White as far as the eyes can see. A highlight for many a traveler on their trips through South America. That’s where I was heading – again. Almost four years earlier my mom had taken me and two of my brothers on a South America trip, visiting some of the highlights in Peru, Bolivia and Brasil, and the salt flats had been one of my favorites, by far. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing them again when I was in the neighborhood. Also, we had only had time to do a shortened trip, going to the salt flats only missing out on some things – quite a lot as I soon were to discover – in the Eduardo Avaroa National reserve of Andean fauna.
Red lakes, green lakes, wast desertlike highlands (very desertlike except for the temperature, cold, and windy, and then a bit more cold), buildings made out of bricks of salt, llamas, flamingos, colorful mountains, weird stone formations, boiling pools of mud. Yes, we definitely missed out on a lot on our last trip, but I made sure to see it all this time.
I almost didn’t bring my camera. I thought I was just going to float around in Laguna Cejar (the beauty of the tour totally took me by surprise) – chill and float – and I didn’t want to risk getting my camera stolen, or broken, while paddling around in cold, salty water. As soon as we got to the first lake though I was really glad I did. By the time we reached the last lake (and there I thought we would only be going to one) and watched the sun cast its last colorful rays on the mountains and volcanoes – and saw it all reflected in the water, like a mirror – I couldn’t for my bare life understand why I hadn’t brought my big DSLR. At least I had the compact and it kind of did the job! Enjoy!
My Tucumani friends had told me that one to two days would be enough time to stay in Cafayate, but when I got there I couldn’t leave quite so quickly. There was the beautiful Quebrada de Cafayate, and a a narrow cacti spotted canyon with lots of small waterfalls. In the city you could taste delicious wine at small wineries, without the crowds and for half the prize of Mendoza, and amazing cheese at the goat farm, not to mention wine ice cream! And well then there was a national bus strike so I just had to chill a couple of days longer, not that I complained about that!