If the first week of this Chile trip was mostly categorized by flight delays and missing hardware (that I eventually found), the second week at the LSST observatory on Cerro Pachón was absolutely full of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen. And some brutal wind, which in retrospect was probably the reason for the stunning skies.

So many colors and textures and shades

The week was also full of real work too, because contrary to popular belief, that’s why I’m actually here. Besides the magnitude 5.0 earthquake, which happened in the middle of the night (as they usually do because sleeping through the night is overrated), I experienced the biggest windstorm of my life on the summit last week. Of course, my coworker who wintered over in Antarctica a couple of decades ago thought nothing of the steady 60mph cold wind (gusts up to 100mph!), but hearing literal howling wind all day (think Frozen‘s “Let It Go,” but worse) and having to stoop while walking outside in order to avoid getting blown over was an entirely new experience for me. Quite unsettling actually, and not my favorite.

It doesn’t look like much, but those hoses cut to length and running in neat bundles in a cable tray through the hole in the floor is the result of three days of wrangling contractors in Spanish, a feat I’ll admit I’m quite proud of. Oh, and if you can’t tell I finally leveled the valve panel
Image from iOS (7)-COLLAGE
Cleaning and organizing all the things before we left at the end of the week

But it wouldn’t be a proper trip without some fun, obviously, so I again spent my Saturday cavorting about (i.e. climbing) at Fuerte Coquimbo (Fort Lambert) with my friend Coni. As per usual, I didn’t take many pictures, but this time I also didn’t manage to grab any from my friends, so here’s a few lame ones.

The view from our climbing spot (I promise I wasn’t on belay duty when I took this)
The sport climbing wall at Fuerte Coquimbo

I worked all day Sunday + Monday morning in order to free up my Monday afternoon + Tuesday for my college friend Irving who was flying into La Serena for a few days. We were salsa partners for yearly showcases back in the day, but hadn’t seen each other since I graduated in 2015. On a whim, he decided to stop by to hang out with me in Chile for a few days at the beginning of his months-long South American adventure, something that I’m very much in awe of. As someone who likes plans and planning, I don’t think I could comfortably do the nomadic lifestyle for any length of time. But on the other hand, maybe that’s the point, to get out of one’s comfort zone. In any case, I highly respect it.

When Irving arrived Monday afternoon, we ended up going back to Fuerte Coquimbo with my coworker since they hadn’t been there and it’s a fun spot. Said coworker is very skilled at taking artsy photos and enjoys snapping candid shots, hence the mishmash of silliness that follows.

Testing out some old salsa moves, trying to do splits in tight pants, and generally causing a ruckus
Who wore climbed it better?
Always showing me up, as per usual
Both of us are impressively terrible at selfies (you’re welcome, Irving)
Separate photos work better

This is getting kinda long, so I’m going to stop there (Monday July 1st) and save photos of the total solar eclipse (Tuesday July 2nd) for a separate post. Get psyched!

Ending with a final observatory sunset pic because it really is stunning