Post #185: There’s no place like dome

January 28, 2023


I expected the wind to die down during the night, but it had other ideas and when I awoke at 2 am once, it was howling just as loud. We’d been in strong (and really strong) winds for days now and it was starting to wear on us. Clothing flaps, hair gets in faces, dust fills the eyes and sometimes walking in it makes you look like a stumbling drunk. Then there’s the noise. A constant howl when inside, but a louder roar in the ears when outside. It’s almost like a rainstorm; you want to stay inside as you watch the grass bend over and the trees sway, and although you might not get wet outside like in the rain, you’ll get dusty and look like you’ve been skydiving without a helmet. How birds flew in it I’ll never know, though it seemed like only the big ones were out when it was blowing hard.

Sunrise over the Andes as seen from bed
Charles prepared breakfast in our little kitchen

The owners of our dome home left us with a DIY breakfast bag the day before that included eggs, bread, butter and pastries. We cooked some eggs on the tiny electric stove and then enjoyed being inside for a while as the wind raged. It wasn’t very cold out and when we decided to head into town, we had on long sleeves and hats more for the wind as we wandered around.


We’d been here a few days before but now the feeling was completely different. Then, it was cold and rainy and we were trying to find a pharmacy with medication for our terribly painful sore throats. Today, it was sunny and warmer and we found the town much more enjoyable. It was clean and well-laid out and about a quarter of the stores catered to visitors, most of whom were passing through en route to Torres del Paine. Everything from high-end hiking US-brand clothes to camping gear to souvenirs was available and there were dozens of restaurants and bars.

Unexpectedly delicious coffee and chocolate in this remote Chilean town
Charles enjoyed a delicious white hot chocolate
Carved chairs on the outdoor patio

We found a coffee/chocolate shop with some incredible white hot chocolate for me and a cortado (espresso cut with a little milk) for Susan and sat outside in an area with four or five tables, completely surrounded by a thin frame with clear plastic stretched over it to keep out the wind. 

Church alongside the town square
Colorful passageway along the streets of Puerto Natales
Charles made a friend

Then we strolled the streets, wandering in and out of shops. By early afternoon, many of the shops were closed for siesta until 3 pm. We returned to our dome where I feasted on more of my giant leftover sandwich. Even when I was finished, it looked like a large burger’s worth of food remained. The giant sandwich could have fed three or four people.


If anything, the wind had picked up and now that it was warmer out we had a window open, which brought in dust, making us sneeze. But the view of the distant mountains was worth the price.

In the evening, Susan’s brother Bill and his wife Robin arrived to stay next-dome to us in an identical building. They would be traveling to Torres del Paine just as we were leaving for Buenos Aires. We got to spend a lovely evening together in Puerto Natales where we had dinner and talked until late.

Out for dinner with Bill and Robin

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