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This is the story of my backpacking journey through Easter Island, Chile, Argentina and Peru. It was a physical, emotional as well as a journey to better understand this world. I was an Indian looking man originally from Bangladesh, a Muslim, now an Australian citizen living in Australia - travelling solo through exotic landscape and people of South America, where most travelers and backpackers were white Westerners. I travelled in the shadow of the post September 11 era, when the world and people’s attitude supposed to have changed – with it’s memories still very fresh and raw in most people’s mind.

This is not a mere travelogue: it contains interesting aspects of the places I went through; brief history of archeological sites I visited; unique, scintillating and often very humorous stories of fellow backpackers; interesting conversations with people I came across; and my reflections and thoughts provoked by all those amazing people and places.

I followed a very long trail, starting from the most desolate yet one of the most mystique places on the earth; Easter Island or Rapa Nui as it’s indigenous people call it. Then: through Santiago and Pucon and it’s surrounding areas in Chile; crossing Andes by bus to Bariloche in Argentina; sailing back through lakes in Andes to Puerto Montt in Chile; sailing through fjords in southern Chile to Puerto Natales; trekking in world famous Torres Del Paine National Park; then through Punta Arenas, Mage lanes, Terra Del Fuego to Ushuaia along the Beagle Channel in Argentina; Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier, Buenos Aires, Iguazu falls, Puerto Madryn and Peninsula Valdes, and Mendoza in Argentina; Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Pisac ruins, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Agua Caliente, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca in Peru; and finally ending my journey in Buenos Aires.

For me, it was a journey of a lifetime – probably the happiest and most momentous time in my life – living a dream. The dream was instilled in me in my early twenties, when I read “Che-Guevara’s Motor Cycle Diary through South America”. Later, for many years, I planned and re-planned – this was the truncated dream realised many years later - I covered most part of Che’s trail through Chile and Argentina, along with many additional places in those two countries and Peru, but unfortunately ran out of time for Bolivia.

In describing details of the historic and archaeological sites, particularly those of Easter Island and the Inca valley in Peru, I had to heavily rely on the guide books and other information.

During my trip, referring to me, South Americans often used the word ‘Moreno’ (brown). The route I followed through Chile, Argentina and Peru are generally frequented by English speaking white travelers, who are colloquially called ‘Gringo’ by the Spanish speaking South Americans. Hence the title of my book –

A Moreno on a Gringo Trail in South America

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