My new life in Chile began on 2/20/2009. I arrived at the airport in Antofagasta at about 11:00 in the morning and was picked up by my new boss Milena. She was very sweet and took me to La Portada (as seen above) right away. After a full day of travel, a picture was about the last thing I wanted, but she insisted that everyone who comes to Antof. needs to have their picture taken in front of this scene. So I have a cery tired picture of me standing in front of the only tourist site in this city.
Antofagasta is in the Atacama desert. This is the driest place on earth. There is zero rainfall each year, which is actually a good thing because about 17 years ago there was a "freak" rainstorm that caused mudslides that killed 200-300 people. So, pray that we don't have any rain in the two years I'm here. Despite the very dry and brown landscape, I like my new home. It's beautiful in it's own way, but a different kind of beauty. There are huge dunes on one side of the city and the beach on the other. The beach is definitely the saving grace of this place.
The city is pretty small, but has just about everything anyone could ever want. There are a few really cute boutiques. However, the center of the city has a real city feel. It has a pedestrian mall, but it's pretty dirty. There is no real rhyme or reason to the building structures. Some look like the old west, and others look new and modern. It's sort of dippy looking, for lack of a better word. Even though there are some really cute places to go downtown, I think I'll stay close to the ocean. It's much more welcoming.