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south america

Jeremy Bassetti: Pilgrims on Bolivia’s Hill of Skulls

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Jeremy Bassetti Sacred mountains seem to pop up everywhere. We find them across cultures, from Japan’s Three Holy Mountains to high altitude Inca sacrifices in Peru, and the pilgrim circuit around Tibet’s Mount Kailash.  These geographical features feel closer to the gods. Physical border zones between the sacred and profane. That’s what we’re talking about today. I’m joined by Jeremy...

Cut Stones and Crossroads

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Ronald Wright traveled Peru in the 1970’s and 80’s, fresh from university with a degree in archaeology, feeding an obsession with the Inca Empire sparked by a random adventure novel he’d read in his teens. He expected to spend his time wandering ruins, but the ancient world of the Andes was alive all around him in the Quechua still spoken by its people, through the handwoven clothing they...

The Saddest Pleasure

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Born in 1915 to great wealth in Seattle, Moritz Thomsen died miserably poor in the tropics, of cholera, in 1991. He served as a bombardier in WWII, farmed in California, and at age 44 gave it all up to join the recently-formed Peace Corps. His book about that experience, Living Poor, is ranked as one of the best Peace Corps memoirs ever written. When his service was over, he chose to remain. He...

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