Monthly Archives: August 2010

On the Road…Home?

Feel like a stranger in the country you grew up in? A tourist in the motherland? Suffering the expat syndrome? The longer I live outside the US, the more things there are that take me by surprise when I return.

I try to get back to the US at least once or twice a year, and every time I land, I arrive disoriented. It takes a while to switch from my gringa-in-Chile self to the oddball self-appointed quasi-Latina member of the family in the US.

Drinking fountains at Atlanta Airport. June 2010. photo by M Snook

Delta Terminal at Atlanta Airport, June 2010

My first reaction is always the same: people speak English here! I always have at least one layover—usually in Atlanta—which means not only do people speak English, but they do it with a twang. As buenos días, and por favor, and gracias automatically roll off my tongue without thinking, I am always a little startled Continue reading


Laurie Hermans in the Field: My Time in Chile

Laurie Hermans is no was an anthropology student from the Utrecht University in the Netherlands when she first contacted me nearly a year ago about coming to Chile. She was interested in doing research on animitas and had found a piece I wrote about them here in Cachando Chile (see: Animitas: Chile’s Popular Saints ).

Anthropologist Laurie Hermans, animitas, Casablanca, Chile

Anthropologist Laurie Hermans researching animitas in Casablanca, Chile

She arrived in late January and we got together periodically to bounce ideas around, work up new leads, explore possible contacts, and just to have some fun once and a while… In fact, she was one of the participants in the great Cuasimodo hunt. Continue reading

WordPress Gets Customer Service Points

WordPress Coraline theme

This is the basic structure of the new WordPress Coraline theme, one of about a zillion WP theme options.

While this is not really a Chile-related post, it still deserves a bit of space because, well, good deeds deserve to be noticed. That and the fact I’ve been sympathizing with Abby who has had some service issues lately, and I’ve written about this before (See Good Customer Service: What a Novel Idea), as, in fact, have most of the Chile bloggers I follow, it seems.

So here’s the thing. .. Continue reading

Your Tax Pesos at Work: Park Your Motorcycle Here

Chile’s Internal Revenue Service (Servicio de Impuestos Internos / SII) proves it knows how to save a buck luca… no need to waste money on fancy signage for motorcycle parking! Just clear away old vines and paint on the neighbor’s wall.

Sign spotted behind the SII office in Providencia, Santiago de Chile, August 2010.

Chile's Internal Revenue Service (SII) saving taxpayer's money

Motels, Saunas and other “Traveler Bewares”

And you thought you knew your native language!

Western Motel in Pink

Image by Jeep Novak! via Flickr

There are plenty of surprises to be discovered on the road, and one that can have funny (or downright weird) consequences is when we discover that the language we grew up with doesn’t quite work the same way in another region or culture.

Take a motel, for example—a “motor hotel” along the highway…A no-frills and inexpensive place to sleep and get back on the road to your real destination the next day—right?
Well, could be… unless you’re in Chile… Continue reading

Postcard from Chile: Valparaíso & Andes

Chile: land of mountains and sea… but there are few places where you can see both at the same time!

View from Cerro Alegre overlooking the Valparaíso Bay to Viña del Mar and beyond to the Andes Mountains.

Continue reading