26 July 2008

Nuestra casa nueva en San Pedro de Atacama, Down Time and Sensor Assembly

Originally drafted 18 July 2008

View of the house. Credit: Knutt Peterson.

Today will be a down day in San Pedro. We are settling into our new house, organizing everything, and our safety chief and cartography chief will be developing their training materials.

Eating our first breakfast at Tierra Todo Natural in San Pedro. Credit: Knutt Peterson.

We slept in, and then went for our first breakfast in San Pedro. We ate at Tierra Todo Natural. This is an excellent restaurant that serves freshly blended juices and vegetarian meals. If you ever travel here and you don’t want your juice extra sweet ask for tu jugo sin azucar.

Thereafter, we spent several hours assembling sensors. We have 45 HoboPro data loggers which collect barometric pressure and temperature data. We have to place batteries, and connect these sensors to each data logger. This took quite a while. Fortunately, it became a team effort and we completed this task rather quickly.

Despite how tough Negro is, he is very tolerant of Negra. He pretty much allows her to climb all over him.

Well, our new house is great! We have three bedrooms, a full kitchen and refrigerator. The house is situated on a large parcel of land that contains a garden, as well as an orchard. Our yard is nothing less than a bird sanctuary. We have hundreds of birds using our yard. It is very pleasant to wake up each morning to the bevy of birds chirping. There is even a small herd of sheep kept in a corral near the house.

We have seven sheep living on our property.

Despite the extent of our gear and our belongings, we feel that our equipment and computers will be very safe here. Gabrielle and Ana live in a small house behind us, and we also have two dogs that live here – Negra and Negro.

It was great to return to San Pedro de Atacama. It has been two years since I have walked the dirt roads of this town. Despite the immense dust, San Pedro is a beautiful little oasis town. However, the secret about this place is out, and it is a tourist Mecca. Having grown up on St. Simons Island which is a big tourist town, and living in Flagstaff, another tourist town – tourism is a mixed blessing. It brings revenue that would be otherwise largely unavailable to the town, but at the same time it tends to limit the vast majority of the population to service-based jobs.

Negra. Our cute little sick puppy. We are deteriming what is wrong with her and we plan to start her on meds within the next few days.

We are also here at the height of the tourist season. So, the town is flooded with Americans and Europeans.

Our good boy Negro. He is both the protector of the property and the one that can't get enough attention.

Our kitchen. Credit: Pete Polsgrove.

This also places an additional strain on my team. We are here as researchers and not tourists. But we still have to pay the same higher prices for everything, and the exchange rate is not very good here. We have managed to find several stores that cater to the locals, and we are buying our groceries, fresh bread and baked chicken directly from them. We’ve also noticed that if you get away from the main square, then prices are somewhat cheaper. So, we’re slowly learning how to live like locals and less like tourists.

View of the street where we live. Credit: Knutt Peterson.

A view of our orchard.

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