Category Archives: Neighborhoods * Barrios

Santiago de Chile Part II: Of Dogs and Men…

There’s no denying it. One of the things that never seems to attract the attention of foreigners to Chile is the omnipresence of its street dogs (quiltros galore!). Guest poster Kathleen Skoczen is no exception. In Part 1 (Santiago by Bike) of this 2-part post, she described what she saw and thought as she rode her rented bike through the heart of Santiago and visited the Museo de la Memoria. She dedicates Part 2 to the life of dogs and, like the good anthropologist that she is, reflects on the human element that weaves the place of dogs into Chile’s cultural fabric.

The life of dogs…

Another Guest Post by Kathleen Skozcen*

Dog and shop in San Pedro de Atacama

A dog waits patiently outside a corner store in San Pedro de Atacama

My very good friend in the Dominican Republic, Kim, and I had a discussion one day, as we often do when we are visiting together after months and sometimes even years of absence. She is the patron saint of animals in the Dominican province where she lives. Although not a certified vet, she does more for animal welfare in the province than all the other vets—okay, than the other vet. As an anthropologist interested in human health and well-being, I watch her tenderly and lovingly care and mend animals (homeless, flea ridden, mangy beyond imagination) and think, “there are lots of children who could benefit from this kind spirit.” When I finally gave voice to this observation, my friend assured me that taking care of animals is taking care of people.

“How is that?” I asked. Continue reading


Santiago de Chile Part I: Memories by Bike

US anthropologist Kathleen Skozcen recently visited Chile for the first time and left with much to remember—and much to think about. She begins sorting through what she saw, heard, learned, experienced, and felt, forming her own memories while reflecting upon the city from the bike lane… Continue reading

Día del Patrimonio Nacional 2010- Chilean National Heritage Day

Día de Patrimonio Nacional / National Heritage DayThe last Sunday of May is one of my favorite days in Chile. Since 1999, it is the Día del Patrimonio Nacional—National Heritage Day—in which many buildings, both public and private, many of which are usually closed to the public, open their doors to the public. This is your chance to get a peek into some of those buildings you’ve been wondering about…

Check out the entire list of activities for the entire country at, but the site is a bit cumbersome (and in Spanish, if that’s an issue), so here’s a run-down. Take a quick read, get your walking shoes on, grab you camera, and get out there to enjoy this gorgeous Sunday morning!

A word of warning–if there’s a place you’re particularly interested in, this is your chance because there is no guarantee it will be open again next year!

For a list of places to visit on this special day… or for a route to follow any time of the years, read on… Continue reading

Valparaíso by Trolley

What’s summer without a bit of travel, exploration, fun, and tourism? “Valparaíso en un Trolley” dishes out a bit of all that and more. Theater troupe Teatro de la Historia fills the seats of a 1950s-era green and yellow “trolebus” and rolls out on a tour that takes delightful jabs at the city’s characters while simultaneously conveying pride in this one-of-a-kind city.

Trolebuses de Chile in Valparaíso date to 1952 Continue reading

Christmas Card Reruns

Sloppy municipal formalities backfire; tax-payer crankiness ensues

I got a Christmas card from my local concejal (town council member) the other day—on Tuesday, January 5 to be exact. What’s with the hold up you might rightly ask? Certainly not distance traveled—I live about 5 blocks away from his office. The Christmas rush perhaps? Not that either. I checked the postmark. It was mailed Monday, January 4. Go figure.

Now, the only reason the municipality sends me cards in the first place is because I’m a squeaky hinge—and they seem to have 2-week late Christmas cards confused with WD-40. Sorry, but that “cariñoso saludo” and “wishes for the spirit of Peace and Love to remain with me always” are not going to stop me from complaining about whatever it is that’s bugging me enough to google up their contact page (you thought I was actually phoning a municipal office? How much free time do you really think I have?) to give them a coherent and exquisitely composed piece of my mind about things like people blocking our driveway by parking on top of a clearly marked no parking symbol (because the municipality has removed all the parking on my block), dogs running loose and barking under my window at 3 AM (because no one enforces leash laws), kids throwing rocks at the kiosko downstairs (rock against metal and shattering glass are not among my favorite ways to wake up), drunken teens vandalizing cars in the wee hours—normal neighborhood stuff like that.

So my concejal wants to cozy up to my good side and show me that the municipality is thinking of me. Heck, he even signed the card “Afectuosamente” (affectionately), but, ahem, they’ve just hammered home once again that I, a long-time tax-paying member of the community, am an afterthought… Did someone have a forehead-smacking brainstorm moment about getting some late-breaking eternal peace and love into me? Or maybe there were just some cards left over and they decided to send them out to the neighborhood’s second and third-tier complainers? Or maybe they got them at an after-Christmas sale and figured I’d be impressed by how much money they saved by sending the cards out after the rush? Or maybe it was simply a case of realizing post festivities that the cards had been overlooked (a bit too much Cola de Mono at the office holiday party?) and, applying some kind of better late than never logic, decided to toss them into the mail bin after—way after—the fact!

They should have saved the postage.

Hmm… Maybe I should make another complaint…