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Week 33 Chile and Panama

The highlight of the week was getting an email from Sharon that Annelise had been named one of the “Girls to Watch” for the area for the forthcoming volleyball season. I am happy that she got the recognition as she has worked hard over the last couple of years.

This week I had a trip to Antofagasta, Chile –I have almost gone to Chile at least 10 times on projects and proposals in the past and never made it. I almost accepted an assignment in Antofagasta a couple years back, so I was glad to final get to see it. I had heard the Antofagasta area was like Mars and that description was correct….absolutely no vegetation at all and the desert had a red tint to it. The region has much of the world’s copper mining, hence the ongoing energy projects to support. 

Jobsite near Antofagasta – beach as far as you can see about 10 miles inland straight up to 10,000 foot mountains. The green is protective covering, The air is clear but the haze is because of the wind blowing the dry sand.
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Small town on near the jobsite…the picture is better than the actual town.

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Getting to Antofagasta isn’t easy from anywhere…must go south to Santiago then fly back north 2 hours and was routed from Mexico City through Panama City to Santiago. I still didn’t have an ATM card so going for a couple weeks on $50 cash (in multiple currencies) which creates some stress when you can’t find cabs that take credit cards – had to revert to old tactic of taking hotel shuttles to a shopping mall then taking another hotel shuttle to its hotel to hopscotch across town. Right before I returned to the airport in Panama City, I saw a casino and figured that was my chance to get cash…first option was to turn my $24 remaining into big winnings…that didn’t work so I fell to option 2 to go to the visa cash advance station – casino the only place to do that anymore.

In Santiago, I had an afternoon free and I was able to hopscotch over to get to a “hop on – hop off bus” which took credit cards and I saw most of the sites of the town – it was gray and overcast and the snowcapped mountains were barely visible, but I can see why all my friends who have visited or moved to Santiago love it. Very livable with a lot of neighborhoods in the city and a good balance of historical and modern areas.

Views of Santiago – lower right was only picture of snow-capped mountains


Similar day in Panama City – I did not intend to visit the Panama Canal, but that is where the “hop on – hop off bus” went. Glad I saw it, amazing what they could do back in the early days with very little technology. Very impressive skyline of Panama City with most buildings built in last 10 years. 

Ship coming through the Panama Canal and new Panama Cancel under construction – The new canal….my old company lost this job as their bid was $1-2 billion high. The headlines down there is that they are at least $3 billion over budget and in a dispute with the government. That is called a good loss.

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Overall – huge improvement on food this week – to finish out the day in Santiago we took the team out to dinner in Santiago…the Korean staff was up from Antofagasta and was really wanting Korean food (the housing and Korean kitchen not yet set up and no Korean restaurants available) but the Chilean staff insisted that that we go to a Chilean place. They ordered family style with fabulous bread and butter and a main course of beef, chicken, and shrimp which came in a sizzling dish of spicy butter – like a shrimp scampi. It was awesome…but because Koreans don’t have a lot of dairy, it “wasn’t their favorite”.

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