Greetings from Iquique!
I've participated in numerous field measurement campaigns over the past 14 years, and one of the interesting aspects of doing so is living and working in a place that is very different from my normal home for an extended period of time. When I'm visiting a place as a field scientist, I care about the quality of hardware stores, how easy it is to drive around, and the ability to stay in good health by eating well and getting exercise. When I'm a tourist, my priorities are clearly quite different!
The aircraft that my group is working with during this mission, the CIRPAS Twin Otter, is based in Iquique, Chile. Having only arrived a few days ago, I'm happy to report that Iquique is a nice place to be based. The one hardware store we found seemed identical to a Home Depot. Driving is quite easy; there are many easily-visible street signs and people tend to follow the rules, signs and lane markers. The grocery store is fairly well-stocked, although some things that we take for granted (such as cheddar cheese and bananas!) were nowhere to be found.
This afternoon, we plugged in one of our computers and smoke started to come out the back. With language and technical help from Jesus from UC Irvine, a trip to the mall yielded a $30 part and the computer is up and running again!
Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific