The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the driest place on earth. In some places, it hasn’t rained in over 400 years. In general, it looks like this, although this … Read more
The Tatio geysers in the high Atacama Desert at dawn, with rising crescent moon. Atacama Desert, Chile. May 2011. We took a four hour bus ride from San Pedro de … Read more
Kris and I went for the weekend in Valparaíso and stayed for the rain.
The three month long drought in Chile broke all over us last weekend. We took a two-hour bus trip to Valpo on Friday even though we’d been warned that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate. I don’t know why we didn’t just postpone until the week. It’s not like we have jobs or anything that makes us note the difference between weekends and weekdays, but, at least one of us is really stubborn.
When you think of just how dry and forbidding the Atacama desert is, you wonder why the hell anyone would live there. Maybe it makes sense now, because there are things like highways and trucks and bottled water you can bring in from a distance. And maybe now because there are vast deposits of copper and other minerals there, and the export of those minerals is to Chile what oil is to Saudi Arabia.
Our weekend trip to San Pedro de Atacama was a little anti-climactic for me. Evidently, I had eaten something which didn’t agree with me sometime during the previous week and it sort of came on all of a sudden–and I do mean all of a sudden–on our second day of a three day trip. So, I did manage to see the geysers on day one, and the archeological sites on day three, but missed the Moon and Death Valleys on day two. Hell, I like geysers and ruins as much as the next guy, but abject desolation is really fascinating. And that’s what I missed.
Often when your life is pretty easy, like ours is now, it’s too easy to get lazy. And, as I look back on this blog and realize that I’ve been lazy enough to only write one thing in the last two months, I guess I’m the South American poster child for sloth.
For sometimes, it’s too easy to just sit here in the apartment and look out over the city from the seventeenth floor, and just turn another page on my Kindle or load up another video on the computer instead of making the most of Santiago. (Of course, Santiago conspires to keep me in with its prodigious air pollution, which both aggravates my heretofore slight asthma and my heretofore young eyes.) Only a month to go here before a brief sojourn back to the US. Then we’re moving somewhere else in Chile, like Viña del Mar, where there’s enough of a city to be interesting, and enough of an ocean outside the front door for Kris to keep up her surfing.