Stories

ChileChile

HOW TO: Master The Micro In Santiago

Mention “Transantiago” to any Santiago resident and you likely will elicit looks of frustration and discontent. The city’s recently revamped bus system was implemented in early 2007, with the ... read more

27 Feb 2009
 

ChileChile

The Upstanding Citizens Who Rummage Through My Trash

Walking through the center of Santiago one day in October, an American friend of mine drops her empty soda bottle ... read more

09 Apr 2009
 

Insider Tips

Being an American

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Don't fret, but also don't yell

In general, Chileans are comfortable with Americans. Never over the course of my nearly four months in the country did I receive any backlash as a result of being American ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Books

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Save money - get the book before you go

I made the mistake of heading down to Chile with one travel guide that was better for its photos than anything else. Taxes on imported books in Chile are prohibitively ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Packing

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Bring layers

The hardest thing for me to adjust to was the lack of heat in Chilean residences. I arrived in the country in August, about a month before the start of ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Dating

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Boyfriends and girlfriends are part of the family

Boyfriends and girlfriends (pololos and pololas, respectively; not novios and novias as I had learned in the US, because 'novios' are engaged lovers rather than simple boyfriends and girlfriends) tend ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Etiquette

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Greet with a kiss on the cheek

Introductions and greetings between two women and between a man and woman (but not between men unless they're close family/friends) always start out with a kiss on the ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Etiquette

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Keep your shoes on

When entering a home, it's expected that you will keep your shoes on, rather than the typical custom of taking them off upon entry in some US homes. read more

06 Feb 2009
Etiquette

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Be fashionably late for parties, on-time for meetings

Social engagements may be scheduled for a certain time, but it's best to show up 30-90 minutes after the specified time. If you show up on time, there's ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Etiquette

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Jaywalk at your own peril

Chileans almost never jaywalk. There's a reason for this. Don't attempt it unless the coast is really, really clear. read more

06 Feb 2009
Fashion

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Don't dress like an American

Try to dress in a slightly sophisticated manner. Maybe swap your New Balance sneakers for something a little less American. If you want to blend in, bring a lot of ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Fashion

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Shorts are OK

Chileans are generally a bit more stylish than the average American, but not by much. I arrived thinking nobody wore shorts in Chile unless they were at a beach. Wrong. read more

06 Feb 2009
Fashion

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Heavy metal fans welcome

There's a disturbingly high concentration of oversized black t-shirts with the names of bands like Megadeth and Iron Maiden. read more

06 Feb 2009
Festivals & Events

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Fiestas Patrias - independence day

The week(end) of September 18th is arguably Chile's most important festival / celebration. It goes by the name of 'Fiestas Patrias' and celebrates Chile's independence from Spain. 'Fondas ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Film

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Films to check out

'Machuca' tells the story of two boys from different socioeconomic backgrounds in Santiago who befriend each other during Pinochet's 1973 coup d'etat. The movie gives a good impression ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Food

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Try the local seafood and beef

Chile isn't known worldwide for its food, but I had some impressive meals during my time in the country. You'll definitely want to try some seafood. Congrio a ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Health

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Be wary of the tap water

I didn't experience any health problems while I was in Chile. For prospective travelers, I recommend checking with locals before drinking tap water outside of major cities. For example ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Music

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Pop music is American music

The music scene, as I usually discover in any foreign country, is disappointingly yet understandably dominated by US artists. For example, on the seriously high-tech metro trains on the Metro ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Must Do

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Climb Cerro San Cristobal for the view

Santiago's Cerro San Cristobal is a large hill in the north-central part of the city where you can get great views of the city and the nearby Andes Mountains ... read more

06 Feb 2009
Nightlife

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18 to party

The nightlife scene is markedly different in that I can actually get into clubs in Chile. Most clubs are 18+, as opposed to 21+ in the US. That said, I ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Packing

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Chile hands

I wish I had packed gloves for my numb hands while inside my host family's unheated apartment. read more

10 Feb 2009
Politics

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Politics as usual

Chileans are constantly complaining about their political situations and discussing the political situations of the major world players. In the conversations I was a part of, Obama and the promise ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Religion

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Catholic but not crusaders

A high percentage of Chileans claim to be Catholic, but those who regularly attend church are much smaller in number. People are generally more religious than I'm accustomed to ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Slang

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Th wrst-spkn Spnsh

Chilean Spanish is known throughout the Spanish-speaking world as being the worst-spoken Spanish anywhere. Letters are chopped off of words, countless colloquial expressions are scattered throughout sentences, and other obstacles ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Slang

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Don't run from the po

My favorite part of Chilean Spanish is the use of the suffix "-po" at the end of a word or phrase that deserves extra emphasis. Saying "Sípo!" instead of "Sí ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Sports

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Soccer, that's it

The most surprising aspect of sports in Chile was that despite the fact that there are university soccer teams, the players on those teams aren't students at that university ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Getting Around

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In a metro, far far away

In Santiago, I usually took the Metro de Santiago, which is South America's most extensive subway network. The line I used most, Line 4, was completed only about four ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Getting Around

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Bed and breakfast on the bus

Between cities, I used the efficient, comfortable, and affordable inter-city bus system. I took a 12.5 hour overnight bus from Santiago to the southern city of Puerto Montt on ... read more

10 Feb 2009
TV

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Ross and Rachel live on

Friends, the universally popular American sitcom, is -- not surprisingly -- popular in Chile. My host brother got HBO on his TV so he was often watching Arrested Development or other similar ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Must Do

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Get out of Santiago

Leave Santiago. Don't visit Chile and stay in the Región Metropolitana the entire time. Doing so would be a big mistake because Chile is an incredibly diverse country with ... read more

10 Feb 2009
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