As we were still stuck on the same level in the insurance game, we decided to try our luck in a different city tomorrow. We know from other people that it’s virtually impossible to get insurance here – but we want to defy the odds I guess. We have some good leads – from a comprehensive international insurance to a real local policy with a fake licence plate number.
With all the paperwork issues in the back of our mind, we drove to the impressive ‘Humberstone and Santa Laura Salpeter Works’ site. We had visited ghost towns before – like Rhyolite in Nevada – but this still was a great experience. Back in the 1930’s, Chile produced 65% of the world’s saltpeter – until a synthetic variant was developed and the mines were no longer profitable.
The site was home to more than 3,000 people who lived and worked there. You can visit the different houses (from the director’s house on the main square to the bachelor houses on the edge of the town). Because it was abandoned so quickly, it really seems like time stood still. The theatre is still in excellent shape – same as the general store. It was a solid 35° Celsius in the desert when we visited – a bit colder than Death Valley.
After our visit, we drove further south to find a campground. We drove along the Panamerican Highway along Chile’s coast line. The landscape transformed from endless desert view to a lunar landscape – with grey rocks and no signs of life.
Finally we pulled into our campground, where the nice lady instructed us to park between the houses. She gave us a key to the toilets and said we could pay however much we wanted. We had tuna and pineapple sandwiches for dinner and watched the sunset over the ocean. To our surprise, it was already past 8:30pm when it started getting dark. It’s really nice to see that the days are getting longer… in Colombia we had to stop driving by 4:00pm to make sure to find a place before darkness set in!
The thing that makes me feel the most down,
Is the feeling that I’m living in a ghost town.
Barn door bangin’ in my face,
Like tumbleweed I’m rolling ’round this place.