Life on Death Road

See the rest of the Death Road pics here…

That corner, we call that ‘Italian Corner’.” Our tour guide, the self appointed Speedy Gonzales laughed.

Why do you call it that?” I asked, although I already knew the answer.

A few years ago, an Italian – he fell down!” Speedy grinned, “And the jungle, it ate him. So be careful amigos! Let’s go!” Speedy pulled a mini-wheelie and headed down the rocky, cliff-side trail.

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Valparaiso and the Earthquake

I still have to write the update from Isla Chiloe to the Las Campanas Observatory but wanted to post my earthquake experience ASAP. See all the photos here…

It had been a wild couple of weeks while I raced to La Serena, in order to catch Stella Kafka, the most lovely observational astronomer that I know, on her last night of observation at the Las Campanas observatory. I blazed through Santiago and only spent about 8 hours in Valparaiso – the most colorful and expressive town I’d ever visited. I was sad to have to rush, but the invitation was too fantastic and in the end it was absolutely worth the race – the observatory felt more like a moon base and the stars were unparalleled in their clarity. I was Stella’s assistant for her final night and kept her awake while she searched for distant suns with orbiting planets that might, or might not, be appropriately stable enough to allow for a ‘habitable zone’. (I will write this story next – very cool stuff  – thanks Stella!)

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