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This is part 10 of the puzzle series that started at Living the traveller's dream. Each part is solvable on its own.


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Dear Puzzling,

I have noticed that the longer a trip lasts, the harder it is to get a kind of “wow” effect from the things around me. At the start of a trip I might be amazed at the sight of a single exotic flower, whereas a couple of weeks into the trip I might walk through an entire garden filled with all kinds of exciting things and struggle to feel the same kind of enthusiasm. It’s funny how the mind works. That said, the sights of this week’s destination definitely blow me away regardless of how long I have been on the road.

Each puzzle has five "thematic" answers, which are geographical locations all in the same country. Each is notable enough to have its own article in the English Wikipedia, although not necessarily under the same name I use. Your task is to fill the grid, highlight the thematic entries, and guess which country I am currently visiting (which is not indicated in the grid). Some of the answers will be needed in the final part of the series. Except for the last part, all others are solvable on their own without knowledge of the previous puzzles.

This week I have walked among natural hot springs and geysers in the mountains and spotted little houses built on floating islands. I have seen dinosaur footprints and massive stone structures built thousands of years ago, and I have marvelled at the stunning reflection of the starry night sky on water covering a vast area of salt flats. Can you guess where I am?

Wish you were here!
Love, Gladys.

Across
1. A pair of pants belonging to Mr Roddenberry, according to hearsay (5)
4. Maybe ABBA's Ulvaeus finally married entertainer singing leads (6)
9. Architectural component I have to record (7)
10. Depressing piece of falsehood is malicious (6)
13. A Greek spirit's delight (5)
14. One who could reach the bottom of Verdi composition? (5)
15. Man of high rank, facing resistance, is retreating (3)
16. Yishmael's first to follow Abraham returning to marketplace (4)
17. Liberal arts major – ruler in Europe once (4)
18. City with long history and terrible curse (5)
21. Middle Eastern terrorist organisation with vital force (5)
22. They appear in Steven Spielberg's film Jaws – first Spielberg film with plural ending (4)
23. Conservative novice swapped observatory's walls (4)
25. He wrote the lyrics of Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians), Vivaldi, Wagner... and Smetana, finally (3)
27. Did damage, striking head wielding weapon (5)
28. Comic book superhero to loot home (5)
29/30. Oscar, housed by madam, linking exotic fauna (6,7)
31. Perhaps mail from Romeo during love affair (6)
32. Some CIA gentleman? (5)

Down
2. Electors initially chose wrong, leading to repetitions (6)
3. US state has border struck by bin Laden, getting positive response in Germany's top (6,6)
5. Rising up, assert "I awoke!", embracing server of breakfast, perhaps (8)
6. Hold back hearts of sweet and impassioned women (5)
7. Salt flat, for instance, visited by fat leaders of European university, briefly (5,2,5)
8. For the audience, beer and laughter creates loud commotion (8)
11. I act like a cat running to get water (4,8)
12. Excessive cramming finished; Stewart on his last legs (12)
19. Company to authorise order to produce literature for multiple courses? (8)
20. Archaeological site in Kuwait tainted with addition of sodium (8)
24. No equipment in the beginning (6)
26. A stir coming up about 24 down of operating principle (5)


Gladys will return in Going in circles.

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Gladys is now in:

BOLIVIA! As part of her travels she visits the city of Sucre, plus Lake Titicaca, Salar de Uyuni, Nevado Sajama and Tiwanaku.

The resolved grid:

Completed crossword grid

Clue explanations:

Across
1. A pair of pants belonging to Mr Roddenberry, according to hearsay (5) JEANS = sounds like GENE’S
4. Maybe ABBA's Ulvaeus finally married entertainer singing leads (6) SWEDES = (-Ulvaeu)S + WED (married) + E_ + S_
9. Architectural component I have to record (7) ARCHIVE = ARCH (Architectural component) + I'VE (I have)
10. Depressing piece of falsehood is malicious (6) DISMAL = _D IS MAL_
13. A Greek spirit's delight (5) AMUSE = A + MUSE (Greek spirit)
14. One who could reach the bottom of Verdi composition? (5) DIVER = VERDI*
15. Man of high rank, facing resistance, is retreating (3) SIR = IS< + R (resistance)
16. Yishmael's first to follow Abraham returning to marketplace (4) EBAY = ABE< + Y(-ishmael)
17. Liberal arts major – ruler in Europe once (4) TSAR = ARTS*
18. City with long history and terrible curse (5) SUCRE = CURSE*
21. Middle Eastern terrorist organisation with vital force (5) IRAQI = IRA + QI
22. They appear in Steven Spielberg's film Jaws – first Spielberg film with plural ending (4) JETS= J(-aws) + ET + S (plural ending)
23. Conservative novice swapped observatory's walls (4) TORY = T(Y->O)R(O->Y)
25. He wrote the lyrics of Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians), Vivaldi, Wagner... and Smetana, finally (3) IRA = _I + _R + _A
27. Did damage, striking head wielding weapon (5) ARMED = (-h)ARMED
28. Comic book superhero to loot home (5) ROBIN = ROB (loot) + IN (home)
29/30. Oscar, housed by madam, linking exotic fauna (6,7) ANIMAL KINGDOM = MADAMLINKING* containing O (Oscar)
31. Perhaps mail from Romeo during love affair (6) ARMOUR = A(R)MOUR
32. Some CIA gentleman? (5) AGENT = _A GENT_ &lit

Down
2. Electors initially chose wrong, leading to repetitions (6) ECHOES = E_ + CHOSE*
3. US state has border struck by bin Laden, getting positive response in Germany's top (6,6) NEVADO SAJAMA = NEVAD(-a) (US state) + OSA(JA)MA (Bin Laden, containing JA)
5. Rising up, assert "I awoke!", embracing server of breakfast, perhaps (8) WAITRESS = _SERT I AW_<
6. Hold back hearts of sweet and impassioned women (5) DAMES = DAM (Hold back) + _E_ + _S_
7. Salt flat, for instance, visited by fat leaders of European university, briefly (5,2,5) SALAR DE UYUNI = (LARD (fat) + EU) in SAY (for instance) + UNI (university, briefly)
8. For the audience, beer and laughter creates loud commotion (8) BROUHAHA = BROU (sounds like BREW) + HAHA (laughter)
11. I act like a cat running to get water (4,8) LAKE TITICACA = IACTLIKECAT*
12. Excessive cramming finished; Stewart on his last legs (12) OVERSTUDYING = OVER (finished) + STU (Stewart) + DYING (on his last legs)
19. Company to authorise order to produce literature for multiple courses? (8) COOKBOOK = CO (company) + OK (authorise) + BOOK (order)
20. Archaeological site in Kuwait tainted with addition of sodium (8) TIWANAKU = KUWAIT* containing NA (sodium)
24. No equipment in the beginning (6) ORIGIN = O + RIG + IN
26. A stir coming up about 24 down of operating principle (5) A + MIX< (stir, coming up) around O(-perating)

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