Living in Puerto Natales

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Americans would be surprised to see how small the typical homes are here and elsewhere in Latin America. The average house is only about 500 square feet on a single floor. Here, corrugated tin roofs are most common, with some houses being entirely constructed of corrugated tin. Above, the picture is of some new house construction. I didn't see any "For Sale" signs anywhere around town, so I'm guessing the turnover is limited and mostly private. This is the only new construction I came across. The picture below is taken from the new cemetery, but shows part of an older neighborhood.

For a small town, Puerto Natales has a lot of shops. There are small shops for fruits, others for meats, and then small grocery stores for dried and refrigerated goods. One store, still much smaller than the average grocery story in the States, carries just about everything else you would want for your house. This is where I found a can opener, in preparation for the many tuna fish and cracker meals I expect we’ll have in the upcoming weeks. But this store also has furniture, pots and pans, trophies (!), toys, school supplies, and both small and large appliances. I can’t seem to find, though, a store that sells computer cords (to attach my external hard drive to my computer) or a cooler (to keep cold foods in when we’re out and about – I’m worried about keeping the foods insulated from freezing). We did, though, manage to find a battery charger for the 12V batteries in an auto supply store!