The two most beautiful places on my itinerary for Chile have experienced environmental disasters just before my arrival.
First, there was the fire in Torres del Paine.
And now the driest place on the planet is flooding.
Everything is closed.
- The Salar de Atacama.
- The Tatio Geysers.
- Valle de la Luna.
- The star-gazing tours.
I just spent US$100 on a bus ticket to get here, dealt with the discomfort of an overnight bus ride, and left a city I loved and wanted to explore more. And I am not going to be able to take pictures of this landscape photographer’s dream destination.
But just like in Torres del Paine, I am not the center of the universe.
Miguel’s house is flooding.
Even though it flooded the night before I arrived, he was still wonderful enough to receive me as a CouchSurfing guest. Despite his best efforts to cover the adobe roof with plastic, the house has continued to leak every time it rains. We are using buckets to collect the water dripping from the ceiling.
People are being evacuated.
The military is handing out mattresses and blankets on the square.
The rains are forecasted to continue my entire time here.
The only thing for me to do is book a bus ticket out of here.
A difficult task when none of the bus companies are keeping regular hours (and these are major bus companies: Pullman, Andesmar, Turbus). Not sure if it is the flooding or the fact that it is just a small town and nobody cares.
I finally resorted to booking a ticket through Andesmar online.
I will continue to practice my Spanish and learn more about this part of Chile from my CouchSurfing host.
I will walk the short distance through town looking for photo subjects to entertain myself.
Like these girls playing in the entrance to the church that has become a mud bath.
And this cat just chilling in the window during a break between rains.
And the almost-artistic design of the adobe running down the walls of this home.