October 31, 2012 2:17 PM

Left behind: The ghost towns of northern Chile

The midday desert sun beat down mercilessly. Before us stood rows of small rusty houses. Slowly, as if we were entering another world, we began our walk down the wide, empty streets, weaving in and out of faded, dusty old buildings. A subtle breeze swirled up every now and then, creating a bizarre choreography of sand. With each crescendo of the wind came the sound of squeaking hinges and creaking wood, the slam of a door, a metal roof plate breaking loose.

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