Santiago is remarkably free from pests.  Chile itself is remarkably free from pests.  I saw my first spider in my room at the Hacienda last week.  There are snakes but they’re few and far between.  Likewise, large predators are largely absent.  Natural borders are the best; the Atacama Desert to the north with its dry, high passes and the Andes that stretch the length of the country make Chile one of the most isolated places on the planet.  The Pacific Ocean is a reasonably sturdy barrier.  This is a big reason that, despite sharing a number of founding fathers who fought for and won independence from Spain, Argentina and Chile have evolved to be very different countries.  I was talking with a political scientist who has studied both last night and will, hopefully, have more to say on that down the road.

The lack of pests and air conditioning leads many windows to be left wide open.  I have myself left the windows open in my apartment more or less since I arrived here.  I close them if I’m going to be away at night but, otherwise, they stay open.  It gives the place a nice airy feel.  But there are no screens and at first this worried me.  But after a month, nothing is coming in at night and eating my food.

I have an office at UDP that has a twin to its right.  Outside our office is a table, whiteboard, chairs, cabinet.  You know the drill.  There are two windows on the far wall from the offices.  These are left open.  Just after I arrived this morning, the inevitable happened.  A pigeon entered the area.  It knew it had blundered and so started looking for a way out.  Being very, very stupid, it could not find either open window or the door which I had opened for it.  Being scared, it cut loose with a spray of shit that covered a goodly amount of territory.  I eventually coaxed the bird back outside.  I’m honestly shocked this doesn’t happen more often.

I don’t know where they keep their cleaning supplies so I simply went to the men’s room and pulled a long length of paper towels and cleaned up as best I could.

I look forward to seeing my colleague’s reaction.








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