La Manga Snow Camp · Index · Siete Tazas, Oct 2011

Living in Chile, 2011-2012

While working for NRAO I spent about 18 months living and working in Chile. Information about my work there can be found here; this page covers a little bit of my experiences in Chile. As time allows I will expand it. (Last Update: Jan 2017)


Outside of work, most of my time was spent in Santiago, the capital of Chile. Chile is a developing country - far better off than the stereotypical 3rd world, but the average Chilean is not as well off as the average first world citizen. Thankfully their air as drastically improved from a few decades ago when they had some of the worst air pollution in the world. But it still isn't good, largely due to the inversion layer created by the nearby mountains.

A view of Santiago.

Construction in Santiago reflects the growing wealth of the nation. Seen here is Costanera Center (under construction) and Titanium La Portada, which was completed in 2007. My confidence in the quality of Chilean engineering and construction is substantially improved by Titanium La Portada's survival of the 2010 Chile earthquake.

Another view of Santiago.

I rented a studio apartment near the subway. Since about half my time was spent on shift at the ALMA site renting something larger did not make sense. A large part of my time off shift was spent exploring the Santiago area and taking Spanish classes. Thankfully, I managed several trips around Chile, some of which are posted in other trip reports and on Scary Bridges.

.A picture of the apartment I stayed in.

Exploring the city

Exploring Santiago was part of the fun of living in Chile. Many of their pictograms and signs make sense, but a foreigner has to laugh at a few of them. And interpreting their mixed traffic pictogram as pedestrians dodging cars is not too far off.

Chilean mixed traffic pictogram.

Several road junctions were marked with the international symbol for a confusing roundabout.


This sign says "Danger! Electrical hazard, 12,000 volts." There was no sign of where the hazard came from - it was just posted on this random patch of grass.


The Monkey Puzzle tree is native to Chile. They are mostly found in southern Chile but a few have been planted in Santiago.


It is a strange looking tree and no matter how long I looked at it it got stranger.

Close up of a araucaria.

The Rio Mapocho seldom floods so this channel is normally dry. But when it does flood there is a huge amount of water in the channel. Oddly, they also put a highway underneath the channel.

Rio Mapocho channel.

And, as an engineer, I enjoy taking pictures of cool construction sites.

Construction of costanera.

La Manga Snow Camp · Index · Siete Tazas, Oct 2011

Last Update Jan 2017

© David C. Hunter, 2011-2017
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