We have arrived in Santiago and have mostly unpacked. We managed to find food of both the lunch variety (in a really nice cafe that served an excellent panini) and the grocery variety. We’re not geniuses. We have a good guide left by a former Southern Cone RP. Thanks, Steve, if you’re reading.
We also failed to buy anything at a pharmacy. We picked up some items and stood in what generally looked like a line but there was some sort of number system that we simply couldn’t grasp in our sleep-deprived state. And the sunscreen was locked up like they were razors or something. So we left. Didn’t need sunscreen anyway.
Except we really need sunscreen. It’s 94 and very sunny today.
Which brings me to one of the two biggest differences between the United States and, more or less, everywhere else in the world. The US will air condition a ticket kiosk in North Dakota. Most other places just assume that in summer you’ll be hot. It IS a dry heat here. Feels very like New Mexico. I like it. We have a nice breeze here on the 7th floor. Upscale restaurants and hotels are air conditioned but, by and large, folks don’t have air conditioning here. It’s only hot for a bit and a lot of people evacuate to the coast for the hottest weeks. It’s only really a big deal when factoring in the second big difference between the US and a lot of the rest of the world:
When we (that is Mary and I but also most of the rest of the US) go to the store we get in a car in the garage (and if she’ll allow it I turn on the AC) and we drive to a store where we park within 30 yards of the door. We walk through the festival of food (more on that down the road) and then trudge the 30 yards back to the car where we drive our bounty into the garage and groan about the 10 feet it then needs to go to the fridge). And this is from a woman who ran around the world and…okay, fine, I’m not exactly the running sort but I do love a good, long walk.
Point is, most everywhere else you have to expend a little effort for your food. We carried our bags about six blocks back to the apartment. As it happens, that is a miracle. I’m thinking about the farming and engineering that got that much food within six blocks of an apartment.
But, still, I was a sweaty mess by the time we got back . Could really have gone for a blast of AC. And my poor delicate fingers hurt. Mary’s hurt worse but just because she ended up with the soda and juice. And milk. A chivalrous gentlemen I am not.
So those are two big differences between home and here and I’ve seen this picture before. We Americans really like our creature comforts and though many of us will pay a lot to exercise formally we tend to balk at doing so in our daily chores.
Good, bad? Both, neither? I can’t really say until I’ve had some sleep. But I’m sure it says something about the modern American disconnect with farm life and her weight problem. On the other hand, there is a reason our forefathers invented things like AC and ample parking spaces. People can die of heatstroke and productivity is undoubtedly higher with a little comfort. And with the half hour we spent hauling food around we could have done something useful (like write a better blog!!!). As with most things there is some bad with the good and we would do well to think about it a bit more deeply than we do.
Like sleep. Now there is an underrated activity that bears further study. Goodnight.
Oh, PS, the picture is looking southwest from the balcony. As it usually is, it’s fairly smoggy but you can see the Andes off in the distance. It’s much clearer in person. No snow as there was last May. I’m not sure if that is common in summer or not. I’ll look into it.