We’ve been here just over a week. Here are a few, and by no means comprehensive, thoughts.
- “This isn’t Bolivia”. Things get done. Slowly, but they get done. Well, about 80% of the time.
- Beauracracy is king. You take a number so you can get some paperwork to take to another person (having taken a number) in order to go across town to another office to get it stamped. I can imagine the head of the Department of Paperwork resisting using computer systems, calmly repeating “it worked for the British”.
- They love British people for some reason. They drink a lot of tea and have onces, or elevenses, which actually happens at tea time or later. This has made Chile feel quite comfortable. Very different to Argentina, for example.
- Rule following is schizophrenic. People will calmly deal with their trámites or paperwork but they can’t stay out of yellow boxes on the road. The police won’t take a bribe but if you don’t keep your wits about you it’s easy to get ripped off. People go to protest rallies wearing suits.
- The pollution in Santiago is really bad. I knew it was bad but I was still surprised. I took these two photos a few days apart. Amazingly it got even worse, to the point where the mountains in the background were obscured.
- The people here are really friendly. Most of them have never seen a whippet before so don’t know what to make of our dogs so we’ve had lots of conversations with lots of people and everyone has been super nice and supportive of our plans. We’ve been put in touch with so many people who have gone out of their way to help us without having met us as well.
- Did I say that everyone loves dogs?