browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Who let the dogs out – Humberstone

Posted by on August 14, 2013

Sadly we were on our last few days in Chile, but as they say all good things come to an end.  Lucky for us though we are traveling North and still have loads of new adventures, new countries and new places to visit.

humberstone

Sarah checking out the general store in Humberstone

From leaving Chuquicamata Mine we decided to take the coast road to Iquique but soon had to turn back due to protests on the road,  unfortunately the inland road to Iquiqui was rather boring but at least it was pretty quick.    Iquique itself is a major resort in Chile and is dubbed Chile’s Miami, with apartment blocks, seafront hotels and restaurants   (good for sea-food) as well as the beach.   One of the other attractions here is that many people are drawn by the duty-free (Zofri) shopping.  Its quite a big place as we drove all the way through it, thousands and thousands of vehicles for sale, also vehicle related supplies and services,  no matter which way you looked.  There is an electronics section which we didn’t even venture into. Too afraid  a new camera might be purchased, lol.! We spent only one night here but managed to park our truck in the FlyPark School, next to where the para-gliders land.  It’s a pretty cool place, loads of 40 foot containers converted into living accommodation ( all welded together and fixed very solidly to the ground so as to protect them from the many earthquakes that Chile experiences  ) for clients interested in  paragliding.  They also provide toilets , showers, cooking areas, table-tennis ( had a re match with Merv, was like being back on Grimaldi) and of course hammocks to lounge about in after your hard day.  People from all over the world come to Iquique for a couple of weeks/months each year only for this .  Anyone interested please look up www.parapenteiquique.cl for more information.  They also  take some overland trucks, have showers , toilets , electricity, small little kitchen which you can use  and a great plus  you can fill with water when leaving.

Santa Clara

Santa Clara

We spent a great day visiting Santiago Humberstone and Santa Laura.  Both these places represent the nitrate industry in Chile,   long finished now and  these places are ghost towns except for the visits made by tourists.  You can wander freely around  and in Humberstone you can see the remnants of the Industrial Sector,  The Plaza, The Company Store (Pulperia),The School, The Market, a Hotel , a Theater,  The Hospital, Living Quarters for the employees and Professionals.  In fact there were living quarters also for bachelors and as in all employment different levels of accommodation depending as to what level you worked at.  I  must say it must have been an okay place to work as after all it did have a tennis court, happy days it got something right! In  Santa Laura you can see the huge liquefaction plant and the massive crusher that still stands there, a pretty impressive sight .  A very good museum which displays the everyday items of that era can also be visited in Santa Laura.  In particular I loved the handbags of that era, hopefully someday I might be able to buy one similar  to add to my collection.    We asked the security guard was it ok to park overnight here, he said ‘sure’ no problem ,but just make sure that you are in your truck by 6.15pm as by 6.16pm he lets the dogs out, all six of them, yes all six of them and their first stop was our truck.  First time we had been locked into a secure area, surrounded by six guard dogs for the night, we were as safe as a house!

Oficina salitrera Santa Laura

Oficina salitrera Santa Laura

Who let the dogs out comes to mind!

Even though both of the above places are now ghost towns, it was still easy to imagine what life was like back then ( Humberstone first founded in 1862), perhaps not as modern as everything nowadays, for example all the children’s toys and the tools  were made by hand on site, but yet they had everything required and needed for their work and relaxation.    When you see the sheer scale of the industrial sector and how these things were built, they were great people who managed to do this, a lot of it achieved by hand.
All documented in triplicate

All documented in triplicate

Simple bedroom

Simple bedroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Strange Sculptures abound.

Strange Sculptures abound.

Bottle shop

Bottle shop

Machine workshop

Machine workshop

Old belt powered Lathe

Old belt powered Lathe

24h per day geyser

24h per day geyser

The next seven or eight days we spent traveling up through Parque Nacional Volcan,  Salar de Surire and Reserve Nacional Los Vicunas ,stopping off at some great remote places along the way.  For example a dead-end road brought us to Puchuldiza geyser field with pools of very warm water.  One of the geyser’s is active 24 hours a day and every few minutes you can see the colours of the rainbow through the water.  As it is winter here we were able to see the ice that forms due to the down wind around the geyser.  Another lovely place to stop at, and even park overnight was Termas de Polloquere , you have the entire place to yourself , with the flamingo’s and Vicuñas close by keeping watch.  We used this place for some maintenance, we had to replace a hose so as to have hot water again. All in a days drive I guess.  The Salar de Surire was entirely industrial with big trucks taking out loads of salt, and from here to the Bolivian border the road was a little quicker as it was slighty better maintained for the use of the trucks. Many little churches along the way , one in particular  really took our fancy, so cute and quaint like. Really the scenery and views the whole way to the border were stunning, but it was not all maintenance free as we had to do another stop to replace our dirty diesel filters, luckily we had two with us, and within an hour we were moving again.  Merv, the mechanic could not believe the truck needed a fuel filter change as the old ones were only in there a matter of weeks!!  Dirty diesel I guess.

Iglesia de Llocuoma

Iglesia de Llocuoma

Not exactly a main road

Not exactly a main road

The road got pretty small at times

The road got pretty small at times

Fellow over-landers we used the Chile/Bolivia border Tambo Quemado (not many do) as it is used mainly for commercial trucks.  When we arrived , there must have been at least a line 2km long of trucks.  It is okay to drive right to the front and park to do your paper-work ,an advantage of being a tourist helped for once.  It took us about 2 hours to get through,as you are competing and queuing along  with the truckers  plus you fill in your own TIP form (Temporary Import Paper).  They did check for fruit and vegetables which was unusual , as entering Bolivia from Argentina they didn’t bother, but as you learn all borders are different, also they took 2 photographs of the truck, one being the outside, and the other of the inside, also unusual! An easy enough border, just a big jammed with trucks!  Don’t try to get through in a hurry, the big trucks have precedence here.   You rush to wait, you wait to rush.

[google-map-v3 width=”600″ height=”500″ zoom=”12″ maptype=”hybrid” mapalign=”center” directionhint=”false” language=”default” poweredby=”false” maptypecontrol=”true” pancontrol=”true” zoomcontrol=”true” scalecontrol=”true” streetviewcontrol=”true” scrollwheelcontrol=”false” draggable=”true” tiltfourtyfive=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” kml=”http://moglander.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/iqueue-LaPaz.gpx” bubbleautopan=”true” showbike=”false” showtraffic=”false” showpanoramio=”true” panoramiouid=”6698103″]

Probably, for the last time we said good-bye to Chile, but what a great country to travel in.  We both enjoyed many great experiences here and visited it so much over the last 10 months !  Hello, Bolivia, its great to be back!

2 Responses to Who let the dogs out – Humberstone

  1. Fergal Mulcahy

    hey Merv/Sarah doing some surfing in london hotel and remembered passing ur house in Staffan and worndering where the f*** the truck was…..well i now know. Sounds like you are having a blast !. Gwen and girls say hi. Stay safe. “travel light and be nice” ………. best ….fergalmulcahy@hotmail.com

    • Merv

      Hey back there Fergal! Great to hear from you. I presume our house has not burnt down or you might have mentioned it!

      We are doing our best to travel light, live and learn all around us, and have a bit of fun while we are at it. I could recommend it! 🙂 Hi to Gwen and the girls from Sarah and I.

      Merv.

Subscribe to this blog!