In search of pink flamingos and surreal sunsets

I hiked along the Guatin trail amidst centuries-old cacti and a refreshing river and was excited to see vicuñas running in the wild.

Photo by Oscar H.

Purugganan

Photo by Oscar H.

Purugganan

I had no words to muster for the otherworldly beauty and serenity of the Salar de Tara. Never before in my previous travels have I encountered so much natural beauty in one small area of land.

Photo by Oscar H.

Purugganan

And along the way, I met local people and fellow travelers, who may have been in search of their own pink flamingos as well, and listened to their stories and shared with them my own.

Photo by Oscar H.

Purugganan

In my search for pink flamingos and surreal sunsets, I encountered much, much more.

Photo by Oscar H.

Purugganan

From that initial photograph of years ago, I now have my own set of photographs, both pixelated and otherwise, of this very special place on earth. And they are, no doubt, real and indelible as Atacama has become a part of me, just like the other places I've traveled to and the people I've met along the way, as I continue to travel and explore.

Photo by Oscar H.

Purugganan

– Rappler.com

The author is a developmental pediatrician practicing in New York City.