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When the desert blooms

April 20, 2013

I just took a Cessna 172 from Miami to Santiago de Chile. It was a nice trip, 7 days in all. Bahamas to Jamaica, Colombia to Ecuador, Peru and finally Chile. My last fuel stop was in the Atacama desert in Chile, about 3 hours north of Santiago by C172. Deserts can be beautiful places and Atacama is no exception.

I make a point of bringing up the things I like about each place in conversation with the local people at the various stops on my flights. I get a chance to see many beautiful places – and places not many tourists go – but in some of these far-flung places life isn’t all that easy. So I make a point of showing my appreciation for their service, the hospitality, etc.

On this stop, when I was chatting with the refuelers I mentioned how beautiful the desert looks from the sky. One of the fuel guys responded that the desert is REALLY BEAUTIFUL when the desert is in bloom, it has all kind of colors and looks just amazing. I asked when that happens and he said when it rains. So in my silly world of seasons I asked him what time of the year it rains to make the desert bloom, which months of the year? He looked at me like pitty you poor foreigner and replied: “Not which months, only when it rains, the last time it rained was like 3 years ago.” Then I got it 🙂

* * *

Three words more sacred than I love you: “ILS and avgas”. Atacama Desert (SCAT) has both ILS and avgas. Trust me, fly some light airplanes around far-off places and you’ll agree about the 3 words thingy.

Landing at Desierto de Atacama

Landing in the Atacama desert “Desierto de Atacama” Chile

Refueling in the Atacama desert

Refueling in the Atacama desert. C172 ferry flight to Santiago, Chile.

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