Why You Should NOT Move to Santiago, Chile

People in Santiago without air conditioning crowd the beaches of Viña del Mar in summer. Photo courtesy of Cynthya Silva Cabrera via Flickr.

The most popular post on this blog for 2 years describes why Chile is the best country to move to, mainly because the constant flow of terrible news about the economies of Europe and the fall of the United States drives some people to seek an alternative; but, relocating to Chile is a poor choice for many people. This post is now the most popular because I discuss the prospects for foreigners who aspire to work in Chile, the topic people care most about.

The biggest problem with Chile is that it is difficult for a foreigner to find work, and the available jobs outside the mining industry pay substantially less than in the USA and Europe. Humans are a tribal species and every country subscribes to the false idea that foreigners take jobs from locals without spending money to create demand for local goods and services. Chile does not allow foreigners or Chileans to easily open businesses and the government forces companies in Chile with more than 25 employees to hire at least 85% Chileans, leaving little room for foreigners (Article 19 of the Labor Code).

A prudent migrant saves enough to stay in Santiago for a year, as that is the amount of time that may be required to secure employment. The good news for foreign women is that companies prefer foreign to Chilean women. The government requires companies to take care of Chilean women who become pregnant so most companies avoid or are reluctant to hire young women. Foreign women are expected to be independent so companies are more willing to hire them.

Many foreigners teach English, as Chileans highly value native speakers, but the pay is low. Emily gives tips on finding a job in Chile that you might find useful. If you have any other tips, add them to the comments in her post or this one. Most people avoid commenting so anything remotely useful is appreciated by readers all over the world. Jim Karger makes great suggestions for foreigners to earn a living in Mexico that are mostly applicable to Chile, too.

Chile also makes it absurdly difficult to start a business. According to Nathan Lustig, who has lived in Chile for 3 years, it takes 9 weeks and costs $4260 to start a business in Chile. He is underestimating the cost; he doesn’t count the value of his labor in coping with the functionaries. And, if you’re a Unitedstatesian dismayed that your nosy government has been snooping on every phone call made in the country during the last 7 years, Nathan reports that Chile requires fingerprints to open a bank account and “these barriers to business creation shield the elites and entrenched interests in power and prevent competition and entrepreneurship.” The same process takes $185 and 30 minutes in the USA and requires no fingerprints.

Chileans in government and the private sector are addicted to paperwork:

In Chile one grows accustomed to waiting in line. Want to get a refund from the health insurance company? Wait in line. Want to deposit a check? Wait in line. Want to get a copy of your marriage certificate? Wait in line although some of that has moved onto the web. But the time people spend at the notary borders on the ridiculous….

In the USA you rarely needed any document notarized. But here in Chile under the 70 year old system the law stipulates that many documents be notarized. So if you buy or sell a car: go to the notary. Start a new job: go to the notary. Quit the same job: go to the notary again. Rent an apartment: go to the notary.

La Tercera newspaper says the notary business generates gross revenues of between $150 million USD and $180 million USD according to their own guild. 20,000 transactions are processed per year whose costs are from $1 USD to $12 USD and $60 USD and more for more extensive transactions….

The government of Chile recognizes that this system is a drain on the economy so various reform proposals have been put forth. Change was tried under the previous president Bachelet, but those bills went nowhere in the congress. Now the government proposes increasing the number of notaries–currently there are a precious few 400–getting them to use technology, fostering competition between them, and offering some oversight by the consumer protection agency (SERNAC). The Economics Ministry suggests they “…establish that the notaries and clerks of court use technology in order that the registered users can upload or send their documents electronically and consult documents online.”

The government recently removed some obstacles, according to Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ):

The country’s rank in the World Bank’s Doing Business survey deteriorated from 2006 to 2010 but the decline has been reversed in the past two years, with Chile moving up to 39th from 53rd. Other Piñera objectives include reducing waiting time for environmental impact studies, eliminating regulatory redundancies, cutting import tariffs and opening sea and air ports to foreign competition. The number of days it takes to start a business is down to seven from 27 and will soon be reduced to one.

Michelle Bachelet is the President and she is likely to reverse much of the progress because Chile is skeptical of capitalism. For instance, she has proposed to increase the corporate tax rate from 20% to 35% and remove the ability to delay paying taxes on earnings that are reinvested rather than distributed to shareholders. O’Grady of the WSJ continues:

A “temporary” corporate tax increase to 18.5% from 17% in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake is now being raised to 20% and made permanent. Tax cuts for individuals meant to offset those increases may not pass in Congress because Mr. Piñera’s coalition does not have a majority.

The tax increase, a strong economy, and more borrowing have sharply grown government. It is unclear whether it will grow fast enough to strangle the economy.

Investors are losing confidence in Chile, causing a decline in the IPSA index of stocks in 2012-13 after soaring for 20 years. Many countries prosper for two decades but only Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore maintained growth for 50 years. Chile might grow at a slow rate or stagnate in the future, especially if they continue to be complacent, allowing the government to expand and strangle the economy.

Chile has enacted restrictive labor laws that hinder businesses; at least one foreign investor is waging a capital strike against Chile. Chile has passed other idiotic laws such as prohibiting McDonald’s and other fast food chains from putting toys in Happy Meals.

John Cobin has lived in Santiago for 15 years and wrote, Things that Americans (and Canadian, Australians, Europeans, among others) will Hate about Chile. He claims, “some Chilean men will consider it good sport to try to sleep with your wife.” This is true, and if you’re a single man at a party and talk to a married woman, her husband will scowl at you because he thinks that you want to sleep with her. On the bright side, if you’re trapped underground in a mine for a few months, your wife and girlfriend will be overjoyed to see you again when you emerge at the surface. Adultery is common not only in Chile but in all Latin America.

Cobin identifies major problems with managing a business in Chile that applies to all Latin America:

90% or more of Chileans do not tell the truth (or avoid telling the truth), since they never like to say “no” or admit that they do not know something. Few lie with the intent to deceive or mislead you intentionally, but many will tell you something that is not true in order that you not be offended (e.g., “I will call you tomorrow”). Chileans use a culturally-accepted lie which “everyone knows” is not true and therefore does not count as a “real” lie made with the intent to deceive. Americans will have a very hard time understanding this difference in practice. Many of them are also willing to cheat, especially on tests or assignments in school, and plenty of people from the lower middle and poor classes will steal from you if they have a chance. Worse yet, they will treat you as if you are a liar….

Chilean people, workers in particular, do not perform or follow through. Nor do they communicate to let you know they have a problem, thus wasting your time as well if you are waiting for them to perform or depending on them.

The Spanish language makes it convenient to “avoid telling the truth” through the use of the subjunctive mood. English includes the subjunctive but it is not as heavily used as the Spanish.

Pollution in Santiago, Chile in May, 2008. Photo courtesy of Viernest via Flickr.

The most common complaint about Santiago is that it is polluted in winter. According to UrbanPeek, pollution in Santiago is higher than every city in the world except Beijing and New Delhi. The Chilean government declared an environmental emergency on June 21, 2015 due to air pollution in Santiago; thousands of factories were shut down and 40% of the vehicles were ordered to stay off the roads. The Bellas Artes neighborhood near the Santa Lucia hill is so polluted that real estate costs less than other parts of the city, even though it is attractive and sports narrow streets that are easy for pedestrians to navigate. However, Nathan Lustig believes that the adjacent Lastarria neighborhood suffers the same air but streets are quieter and real estate values higher, suggesting that air pollution does not cause decreased housing demand.

Santiago pollution is caused by several factors: the surrounding mountains, heavy vehicle use in a densely populous city of 6 million, industries such as the power plant south in Rancagua, powering copper mine refining using coal rather than nuclear at El Teniente, one of the largest mines in the world.

Mary and I reckon that the pollution during the southern hemisphere summer is similar to cities in the western USA such as Los Angeles, Denver, and Phoenix. If air pollution repels you, the coastal city of Viña del Mar warrants consideration. A bigger problem for non-smokers like us is air at restaurants in Santiago, polluted with so much cigarette smoke that it is nearly impossible to find an outdoor table on Friday and Saturday nights; one must eat in non-smoking indoor areas. Chileans are the heaviest smokers in the Americas; 39% of men smoke daily compared to 20% in the USA and 10% in Costa Rica. I Love Chile describes Santiago pollution:

During environmental alerts, when the air contamination is higher than 300 micrograms by cubic meter, some emergency measures that are applied include the restriction on vehicles that do not have a catalytic converter and restrictions on some industrial activity. The city also has a Decontamination Plan, which includes requiring filters on all public transport, regulation of wood heaters and standardization of the other heaters as well as reduction of nitrogen oxides emissions by the industries…

Last week, after four consecutive days of environmental alerts, the issue of the parameters for these emergency signals caused controversy. The Senator Guido Girardi, a member of the health committee, criticized the way the calculation is done and the alerts are set, which should also include thin particulate materials that are harmful to human health. In several interviews with the Chilean national media he affirmed that the data given by the government should be more transparent and that the levels to decree environmental alert should be stricter. During an interview with CNN Chile he said, “It is evident that if more environmental alerts are decreed in Santiago, it will paralyze industrial activity. And there is an industrial lobby who makes sure this does not happen.”

The cost of electric power in Chile is double that of the USA, so most people in Santiago live in homes without air conditioning, even though the city is as hot as Denver in summer. People cope by swimming in pools, taking cold showers, and vacationing on the coast.

Chile is as expensive as Denver, Phoenix, and Austin, although it is cheaper than Europe, New York, and California. Mexico and Panama are better destinations for people seeking economical value in a pleasant climate.

Chile insults foreigners by chasing us out of the country like dogs every 90 days even though we’ve committed no crimes, and refusing to allow us to open bank accounts, forcing the use of ATM machines, where the banks chisel us with fees. Bankers are crooks that run politics in every country, and it’s revolting to subsidize their incompetence. Chile suffered a banking crisis in 1981-83, resulting in a heavily regulated banking system that stifles competition from foreign banks. Only one of the 10 largest banks in Chile is a foreign bank. In contrast, Mexico suffered a banking crisis in 1995; today only two of the 10 largest banks are Mexican, 80% are foreign.

Argentina restricts many freedoms but welcomes foreigners more than Chile and Open Borders reports that Argentina recognizes freedom of movement as a human right. Argentina only considers deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes, and according to their Constitution, “may not restrict, limit, or burden with any tax whatsoever the entry into Argentine territory of foreigners whose purpose is tilling the soil, improving industries, and introducing and teaching the sciences and the arts.”

Immigrants comprise only 2.7% of the Chilean population, compared to 4.2% in Argentina, 13% in the USA and 20% in Canada. Chile is much richer than Peru and Bolivia but does not accept many migrants.

Chile wants to increase population not by encouraging immigration but by bribing Chilean women to bear more children ($200 for their third child, $300 for their fourth and $400 for their fifth). Apparently, legislators believe that it’s preferable to risk having a native on the dole than for a skilled foreigner to carry his own weight.

It’s difficult to be a tenant or landlord in Chile. The meddling government forces landlords to suffer deadbeat tenants in rental units for 4 months prior to eviction, so most landlords require tenants to find a cosigner who is responsible for the rent if the tenant doesn’t pay. As a result, I was rejected 3 times for apartments and it took a month to find one, although one of the landlords would have accepted me as long as I paid 12 months rent in advance. Not only does this make it difficult to be a renter, but real estate is also a primary option for foreigner investors who want to avoid the risk of buying a small business.

Julia Thiel of the Chicago Reader reports that Chileans were the worst roommates she ever had. After reading her stories, any rational foreigner would avoid living with Chileans. It might be prudent to avoid marrying one, too.

Chile has enjoyed a thriving economy protected by a capitalist Constitution for 20 years but capitalism may be losing the battle of ideas. Michael Bachelet and other socialists are threatening to eviscerate the Constitution and drastically expand the government. Forbes magazine fears for the end of the Chilean economic miracle. The Communist Party increased their representation in the main house of the bicameral legislature from 3 to 6 seats of 120 in the 2013 election. The election was the biggest political disaster in Chile of the last 20 years because Chileans are not convinced that capitalism has allowed them to prosper.

Universities in Chile operate as Communist institutions; profits are illegal. Although there is widespread support for this oppression in the USA and Europe, too, I believe that universities ought to earn a profit like any other entertainment business such as a bookstore, movie theater, club, or studio that teaches people to cook or play musical instruments. Non-profits always use government scams to advance their interests and hide their profits. People should be proud to earn a profit; the lionization of socialism should be shameful.

The Bachelet campaign to expand the government includes hiring 6000 new Carbineers, the national police that once carried carbines, to the existing force of 40,000, and many will be deployed in Santiago. They are unnecessary because Chile has the lowest crime rate in Latin America; the police will become entrenched and used against the citizens sooner or later.

The Chilean government subsidizes many businesses such as salmon and trout farmers. The Start-Up Chile (SUC) program hands out $40,000 to small tech businesses, originally temporarily for 12 rounds and exclusively to foreigners, now permanently to foreigners and Chileans. SUC and other business subsidies are supported by both major political coalitions and a government, CORFO, doles out the money.

Chile admires the rich countries of Europe and the USA; many Chileans want a nanny state, too, and have enacted many laws for the purpose. For example, packaged foods and soft drinks high in saturated fat, sugar, or salt soon will carry prominent markers on the front of the package, warning that the food is unhealthy. A majority of Chileans wear helmets when bicycling.

Chile is the richest country in Latin America but the greatest benefits accrue to the richest 20% of the people. In Uruguay, the bottom 80% of the population is slightly richer than the bottom 80% of Chileans. Both countries have become richer at the same rate during the last 5 years but Chile grew faster during the previous 10 years.

Airline service to Chile is poor. Mary and I flew at reasonable cost from Panama the last two winters, but the price doubled to $1600. We decided to live winters in the USA and Mexico. We miss Santiago and perhaps we’ll return someday.

Immigration to Chile has tripled in 7 years, from 60,280 in 2006 to 158,128 in 2013. Chile offers many advantages for potential migrants as I discuss in Why You Should Move to Santiago, Chile.

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58 Responses to Why You Should NOT Move to Santiago, Chile

  1. Johaness says:

    Living here 1 year and a half I can say you are correct on this review. I would add they don’t respect other man wives and several other samples.
    Don’t recommend living here for US, Canada or any other developed country citizen.
    thank you.

  2. Andrew says:

    Why you should not live in the U.S. (not Amerrrricahh – it’s a continen shared by dozens of nations!): the demeaning of foreigners by Anglosaxson north Americans; guns, guns, guns resulting in worst crime in the developed workd; terrible manners – spitting in public and disrespect towards others.

    • Mark says:

      I stay in the Americas – the USA, Mexico, Panama, Chile, Costa Rica. I’ve gone nowhere else in the last 20 years.

  3. Francisco says:

    I find this article extremely rude.

    How dare you say: “Chile insults foreigners by chasing us out of the country like dogs every 90 days”

    USA insults students by not allowing them to work while studying there.

    If there’s a country who is a big bitch with immigrants, there you have it: USA.

    • Mark says:

      The USA and Chile treat foreigners like dogs but the USA gets away with it because it enticed many foreigners in past decades. Chile will remain much poorer as long as it refuses to entice foreigners.

      • Fit In Or Fuck Off says:

        Sorry, but most American/Australian/British immigrants in Chile are trailer park trash. They’re dumb as hell, incredibly unqualified yet they believe they’re better than Chileans. I’m sick and tired of dealing with you people. I’ve met only one american who’s not white trash, and I know quite a few as my kids attend the American School of Santiago (Nido). No wonder why Canadians and Frenchs hate you. Ignorant bigots. FIT IN OR FUCK OFF.

        • Mark says:

          You’re not the only Chilean who doesn’t like foreigners who speak English. Less than 3% of the population of Chile was born in another country, compared to 13% in the USA, 23% in Australia, 18% in Canada, and 9% in Britain. If you were more willing and able to entice foreign labor and capital, it’s likely that you would become richer. The majority of the engineers in the San Francisco Bay area are foreigners and many of the technology companies wisely use foreigners to increase profits. Sydney, Australia also reaps great profits from foreigners.

  4. Francisco says:

    I had to come back, because I’m about to believe I’m witnessing racism. I can’t believe the things you’re saying about Chile. You’re almost treating people in Chile like if they were less than you.

    What a big piece of shit what you quoted about: “Adultery is common not only in Chile but in all Latin America”. Isn’t it common all over the world? What’s your problem with this? You don’t trust yourself or your partner?

    Another quote: “90% or more of Chileans do not tell the truth”
    How dare you? Is this your opinion, how can you say 90%? Can you prove it? Did you have surveys about this?

    I lived in your country (I suppose is the USA). And nobody even cared about me, nobody even tried to help me.

    If there are motherfuckers jerks in this world, they all live in your country.

    I’m not sorry for the bad words.

    • Mark says:

      The “90% or more of Chileans do not tell the truth” is from Dr. John Cobin, who has lived in Santiago most of the last 20 years. I also noticed that Chileans are liars during the short time I lived there. Other foreigners trying to run businesses with Chileans told me the same thing but didn’t write it in a blog.

    • Fred says:

      It is sad to see how a countryman (compatriota) is willing and ready to lower himself by using vulgarity that does absolutely nothing to enhance your point. Chile being one of the most culturally advanced and educated countries in the American continent has people like yourself that refuse to use the language correctly. Opinion like the one I read from you does more damage to Chile than the article itself.

  5. Gian says:

    Hi,
    As an Italo-Chilean reader I have to say that this is a great post. What you are saying about politics is true, there are facts proving it and there are no reasons to get offended. There are reasons to feel ashamed instead.
    On the other hand, I feel quite offended by MANY of your generalizations. What you are stating about the abits of Chileans can be applied to almost ANY country of the world. From my point of view, the things you are saying are also quite naive (especially for infidelity). Reading your post, they seem to be one of the major causes for not to move in Chile. I think that the social-side of Chile is not so tragic as you are describing. There are A LOT of good people always ready to help you, so please, do not generalize. If you generalize about e.g. Italy you will say “Italians eat pizza, pasta and they are part of the Mafia”. Reading your post I felt the same way I feel every time I hear this sentence about Italy.

  6. Albert says:

    This article is not cool. Anyone who is Chilean should not think all Americans are like the person who wrote this article. We can see the author of this article is not adjusting to Santiago and not able to empathize with his/her host city.

    This article is not helpful as it berates a society instead of giving information on how to work within societal norms to allow someone to be successful as an ex-patriot in Santiago.

    For context, I’ve spent a month in Santiago, and have lived in Mexico for 18 months, I’ve also spent 3 months in Berlin, and a month in Asia, so I do have an idea of what helpful information would look like — this article is not helpful.

  7. ashok lamichhane says:

    I M pharmacist ashok lamichhane , im from nepal but i m in chile santiago 499 lira.i cant speak spanich well. but i can speak english well. i want to do a work in chile in pharmacy ,can i get a job in chile ,santiago. i have long work experiance in the same field i.e pharmacist.

  8. Shane says:

    I read this, think most of you need to get some manners.
    I am from England, can’t speak Spanish and have just spent 2 months working in Santiago.
    Chileans generally are more relaxed and do less work in the day, than you might expect, and yes they always say tomorrow, when they mean well, tomorrow maybe or soonish.
    However what a fantastic place to live, with friendly people, generally I would say they have more police but less rules and stupidity, from the police they are just there doing what police should do, checking on people not ticketing them for doing 3 mph over the speed limit, and found it throughly refreshing.
    Outside of the city is much cheaper, rustic and natural.
    I only had positive responses from Chilean people, although they all seam to suggest that Chile is a dangerous place I saw no evidence of this.
    Not sure they should just allow all foreigners in, we have had that in Europe for so long and it’s not working,
    UK has lost its identity. I hope Chile keep theirs
    At present I am considering moving to Santiago

    Shane

  9. Nathan says:

    Here is an article that started out as helpful and then descended gradually into libertarian nonsense. Phrases such as “meddling government” and “strangling the economy” indicate a writer’s obedience to a certain economic dogma that calls into question any of their other ideas. That’s as true of the Wall Street Journal as it is of a blog.

    • Mark says:

      Are you sure that libertarian thoughts are nonsense? Maybe governments are evil and citizens should scrutinize their actions and claims. Maybe only gullible people trust governments.

      • Geoff says:

        It was about travel and living in Chile, not your paranoid delusions about big govt. Expats with your mentality would be a strong reason to avoid moving there, along with Mr Corbin who seems to be suffering from smog-related brain damage.

        “The Bachelet campaign to expand the government includes hiring 6000 new Carbineers, the national police that once carried carbines, to the existing force of 40,000, and many will be deployed in Santiago. They are unnecessary because Chile has the lowest crime rate in Latin America; the police will become entrenched and used against the citizens sooner or later.”

        • Mark says:

          In the United States, military weapons that were originally used to fight foreigners overseas are now used by domestic police against United States citizens. I’m not paranoid nor am I deluded if the government really is out to get me.

  10. halloweeninthesea says:

    This is such a sad and Eurocentric article written by an Anglo-White-Male who went into a foreign country and (as predicted) responded to the beautiful country of Chile with an immensely racist, pedantic, xenophobic perspective. His comments about the people of Chile are ridiculously racist and any credibility or weight that this article might have begun to have at the beginning is lost when you realize this is just something a racist nerd has to say about a culture that isn’t his. I for one loved how much more friendly and amicable, trustworthy the people of Chile were compared to the US. This country and what it has to offer are rich and full of life. It just seems like this guy doesn’t like Latins. As far as the “men wanting to seep with your wife”, that is something that all humans do across the world unfortunately, but I had the opposite experience with the people I met; their class and treatment of other human beings is something to remember.

    • Mark says:

      Eurocentric? Doesn’t like Latins? I’ve visited Latin America in each of the last 25 years, often for 6 months at a time, and I’m writing from Mexico. I haven’t been to Europe in 25 years and have only visited a single European country.

  11. Evrim says:

    As a Chilena by marriage, I appreciate this article from a libertarian point of view. I’ve had a wonderful experience marrying a Chilean man, and his family have been incredible with strong Catholic family values. During the off and on four months I spent in Chile, I observed people were very responsible for their jobs and took pride in keeping streets clean, and people in the stores doing their best to help customers even though language could be a barrier. In terms of living in Chile long term, I would encourage any 20s 30s person with technical aptitude to seriously consider the Startup Chile program. It’s wonderful, and at the very least, you’ll rub shoulders with highly entrepreneurial similarly worldly people. My few observations were University education for Chileans is not affordable, sadly too similar to the United States but with even fewer options and less quality, costly high quality cultural/arts activities available compared to Chile, and less freshness of products in Chilean grocery store chains compared to apples, grapes, salmon, etc. I can buy here from Chile in California.

    • Mark says:

      If you can persuade the Chilean government to give you a handout, as in Startup Chile, you’ll likely have a great time, but most people don’t qualify. University education isn’t affordable for a new high school graduate but is affordable for a 23 year old who saves money for 5 years and is willing to accept college student loans at 2% interest. Chile is better than the USA in this area; the USA has too many people in college who drift aimlessly or study a subject with little market demand such as psychology, communications, veterinary medicine, law, etc. In Chile, a much larger portion of the students study engineering, technology, and other fields with good market demand.

      It’s true that Chileans have strong family values but there is a dark side. One of my friends is a German who lived in Santiago for 5 years. He prospered, became fluent in Chilensis and Spanish and enjoyed the city until he tried to enroll his son in a good kindergarten. He’s not Catholic and was unable to find a suitable school so he returned to Germany. I lived near the corner of Manquehue and Catolica where the 10 Commandments were carved into a rock in the public green space of the road median; living in Santiago as a non-Catholic can be similar to living in Utah as a non-Mormon.

      Chile and California are the best places in the world to grow food but Chilean salmon is lesser quality than Alaskan and Norwegian. Costco and other buyers in the USA refuse to buy Chilean salmon.

  12. Matt says:

    While I do agree with some of your points, I find this article disrespectful and incredibly short sighted. As someone who has been living in Chile for some years, I’m sorry to hear you had such a negative experience, but I don’t think you are doing the country justice.

    The only complaint I’ve had during my stay here is the pollution, but other than that people here have been nothing but nice and helpful. I’m skeptic about them being compulsive liars or that they are trying to get your wife. I also don’t think it’s fair to generalize everyone by saying it’s prudent to avoid marrying one, but I guess a few rotten apples spoiled the whole bunch for you.

    It would be very distasteful if someone wrote a blog about all the things wrong with America, because let’s be honest, we have our share of problems as well. I just think you could have worded your points in a much friendlier way. Just my two cents.

  13. Angel says:

    As a Chilean man living in the U.S., married to a Californian woman and working in the East Coast, I have a bigger picture and I can see your frustration. I agree in some extend about few of your points like lines everywhere, about saying tomorrow to avoid subjects, etc., but there are a lot of observations made by typical guy from the U.S. As somebody said in a comment you didn’t pick the right words. You have to understand that relationships in Chile between men and women are less sexual dating oriented like in the U.S. In Chile we grew up more used to see girls more integrated at boys groups like another member. Whereas in the U.S. any sort if affection, hugging, friendship between girls and boys is seen more in a dating, sexual context. It’s hard to come to the U.S. knowing that if you hug or kiss in the cheek another man’s woman can be misunderstood. I learned my lesson on that regard, I adapted to this cultural pattern and moved on. You should do the same. You try to make the U.S. look like the perfect place but it’s not. Of course you won’t see those faults because you are part of the country, you grew up with those cultural patterns and digested most of what was giving to you. The same applied for Chileans. So, nothing it’s white or black (as you implied in your writing), there is a lot of grey, and applied to any country. I am sorry for your life, instead of adapting and enjoying a country the way it is you compare it with your own country and values. Open your mind and move on

  14. John says:

    You have some good points. I can see why the angry Chilean guy would refer to us as trailer trash. Americans are inculcated with an individualistic, “get out of my way or fuck you” sort of attitude that my life experiences have only reinforced, this clashes with “keep your head down and let it go” attitude that Chile, particularly post-Pinochet Chile, inculcates in all but the youngest generation, who are more in line with the anarchist deep history.

    Chile has the lowest rate of divorce, offset by high infidelity, because pretending to be lawful good is how they roll.

    Following the D&D Planescape metaphor, it’s like Arcadia, lawful good/lawful neutral.

    Chaotic types will be repulsed or perhaps bemused by this.

    Counter-cultural Chilenas are a blast to date, they’re a bit wild, but refreshing, more level headed than Argentinas by some margin; and they will teach you the other side of the Start-up Chile white privilege experience, what it’s like to be discriminated against by the system and have your reproductive system regulated. Mainstream Chilenas wouldn’t date me for longer than a month because they’re smart and know what formula works for them.

    Chileans, like most latin americans, prefer to avoid confrontation and giving straight information if it’s not the pleasant optimal situation. Nothing surprising here.

    Business wise, it’s a bad structure. I’m interested in real estate using proper balance in structure with intl. component but retail is a sumbitch, had a real bad experience with it. Banking and set-up has gotten better though.

    Chile squanders its human capital, it needs to become more socially progressive while continueing the economic progress trend.

    Chile has the highest marijuana consumption in latam if you can believe it, there is a side you have to date some counter-cultural people to see, but there is a huge hippie/anarchist thread in the population. They may sign off on the law passed last year to decriminalize growing.

    Chile has huge potential. As with any other country, it is a mixed bag. Uruguay is more sloppy and more liberal, freedom lovers may prefer that. Still if you can stomach playing the game now and then, you can enjoy great freedom in Chile as well.

    Financially I recommend one use a simple CuentaRUT + SurBTC.com with bitcoin to move money internationally, living off the ATM is more expensive but not terrible. Enjoy the 3 year tax holiday.

    Outside Santiago is much better than inside. There is no good reason to live there other than necessity.

    It’s best to have remote income.

    • Scott Wilson says:

      Interesting summary John. I noticed you mentioned the 3 year tax holiday. Maybe you can answer my question or part of it?

      As I understand it, the first three years as a resident of Chile we would not pay taxes on income derived outside of Chile, but on the 4th year we would. As the sole owner of my USA S-Corporation I pay myself$35,000 a year but earn much more in the form of profits from the business which considered “Ordinary Business Income” (not dividends). I am taxed on all this income in the USA, but would the Chilean IRS try to tax me on this income too? Or is there some way for me to indicate to them that I paid taxes on it in the USA and end of story? Or would they want to see my income from my US Company, deduct what the US charged me in taxes and then apply their own tax rate and charge me the difference?

      Example:
      If I was in Chile, I would pay about 20% taxes on my US derived income (no Oregon state income taxes and reduced Federal Taxes after claiming the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion), but according to Chilean Tax code if I made as much as I do I could be taxed at the rate of 40%. So… would pay I taxes on the 20% in the USA and then pay 40% to Chile but less what I already paid to the US?

      • Mark says:

        If you pay taxes to the Chilean government, the USA will collect the difference between the taxes you would’ve paid on the income at USA rates minus the tax you paid to the Chileans. If you earn income in a country where income taxes are as high or higher than the USA, you don’t pay any more money to the USA government.

        Although Chile claims to tax you on income earned outside the country, nobody declares the income or pays the tax. It’s hard for governments to collect taxes outside their jurisdiction except for the USA government which has jurisdiction over the entire world.

  15. Everyone should respect the culture and trends of native people. I live in India and we Indians want everyone to accept India as their own nation. We never hate foreigners, in fact we love them. Most of the technology companies are here now. Microsoft is headquartered here in India now. Chileans must understand that the men from other race are men too and they should be paid respect too.

    • Mark says:

      India is better than Chile at enticing foreigners to the software industry but Chile has enticed more foreigners to produce food such as salmon, wine, and blueberries. Chile has negotiated free trade agreements with over 100 countries while India, like Brazil, is a large country that disparages foreigners and their goods, deluding itself into thinking that it can isolate itself from the world and prosper. Chile, like Hong Kong and Singapore, is a small country that knows it can prosper only by trading with other countries. Chile could prosper more by allowing foreign people into the country as willingly as it allows foreign goods.

      • Geoff says:

        “…… India, like Brazil, is a large country that disparages foreigners and their goods, deluding itself into thinking that it can isolate itself from the world and prosper>”

        Welcome to Trump’s new American dream.

        • Mark says:

          Trump is determined to transform the United States into a Third World country but is better than Hillary Clinton who was determined to continue ObamaCare and risk nuclear war with Russia. The United States is declining so the world should look elsewhere for leadership.

  16. Anna says:

    I’ve been living here for 5 years. I’m a young blond foreign woman. Why do I say blond? Because for Chileans blond means either rich or foreign.
    I agree with some of the aspects of the article like renting an apart and doing a business.
    But I have had so far a great experience here. It took me 10 months to find a job but it was worth it – I found a dream job in an American company and I have had 3 promotions in 3 years!
    I have good Chileans friends too and we like to go out and dance. Overall I’m better here then when I was in UK. I’m respected and appreciated at work and I have never been robbed. People here are always curious about me – always ask where I’m from, why did I come to chile etc. and I have a great Chilean boy friend too. We live together and he is not jelous at all. I have had more jelous European boyfriends. Maybe I’m just lucky and most Chileans are jelous. So yeah – I have had only Amazing time here. I’m sorry for those hat don’t

    • Mark says:

      The British government forces companies to pay a $2000 tax every time they hire a Chilean, so Chile retaliated by forcing every company in Chile that hires a Brit to pay a $2000 tax, too. This is a very stupid policy because Chile needs Brits and other foreigners; to govern is to populate. I’m surprised you found a job, you must have special skills. Many foreigners enjoy living in Chile but there are just as many Chileans living abroad, especially in Argentina. Countries like the USA, Canada, and Australia import more people than they export.

  17. Christopher Reyes says:

    This article could of been useful information but it was conveyed in such a rude way that it doesnt matter. LOL whomever wrote this was a salty bitter @$$hole at the time OR just doesn’t understand… How dare you compare Chile which has JUST started a massive progressive wave in so many ways and LITERALLY just got out of a 30 year dictatorship ONLY 16 years ago or 11 yrs ago for this article.

    I’m sorry but what an ignorant bell end you are my good sir. These people are not ready yet, they’ve only just started rebuilding themselves and their country. Yes a lot of thing are OLD school over there, what the hell did you expect after 30 years of being kept in the dark without having a voice. Since 1990 its GDP per capita quintupled and poverty declined from 40% to 15%. Its educational results outpace the rest of Latin America.

    ^ so all that + the fact that they are not accustomed to seeing foreigners all that much, no wonder they arent too welcoming or hesitant if you dont speak their tongue or look out of place. Actually if u dont speak english in the US you get royally shit on by everyone and you’re not welcomed anywhere you go. Also if you’re a United Statian, most places you go, people dont want you there. Hell, here in Canada we are right next to them and we hate them so much and do not welcome them. That says a lot since we are so polite and all.. so its not just Chile. Yes its a poor generalization of United Statians but theres so many bad apples in that tree that we have no choice but to generalize sadly..

    This article was written in an extremely unfair manner I find, either out of ignorance or a bad experience that had WAY too high standards and expectations for a country still in its development infancy. MOST foreigners who go to Chile come from very well established countries, so you either FIT IN or you go back to your country. I am Canadian but I speak spanish and french fluently and when I go to Chile, I am treated as a local. I was never baptized but I like pretend to be catholic when Im over there, because to a lot of them, its important just like family and its not something that kills me to do so I couldnt care less if it makes my life easier.

    And honestly, times are changing and only getting better. The new president Michelle Bachelet which has a decent head on her shoulder, is working on a reform of the entire gov. This article had some very good points but I advise taking an neutral tone next time and also trying to understand their struggle. The title is also pretty negative Maybe title it “The Disadvantages of moving to Chile”. Im only 24 years old and you might think I dont know jack, but half of my family was born there and only my mother and grandmother managed to flee the Pinochet regime.

    Chile is not an easy place to adapt if you come from a wealthy comfortable country but for everyone else its a goddamn paradise with amazing people!!

    • Mark says:

      If Chile is an infant country then there are many people who shouldn’t move there. I’m not sure it is an infant, though, because Santiago is 500 years old, about 350 years older than Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

      It’s interesting that you pretend to be Catholic in Chile. Before the USA existed, it was 13 British colonies where 11 had an official government religion while Pennsylvania separated church and state. They prospered so the other states followed their example and when the USA became independent from Britain, it was constituted with a separation, too. In the early days of the country, Texas was part of Mexico and many Unitedstatesians wanted to move there but the Mexican government required them to pretend to be Catholic. Mexico was as rich as the USA 250 years ago and Unitedstatesians used Mexican coins before 1857 but Mexico failed to grow as fast as the USA partly because of their state religion.

      I have a German Protestant friend who couldn’t get his son into a good school in Santiago so he returned to Germany after living and prospering in Santiago for 6 years. Maybe he should’ve pretended to be Catholic for the sake of his son.

  18. Jose Ramirez says:

    All I can say is WOW, as a Mexican born male that has lived in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and currently living in Sydney, Australia. All I can say it is that the bigoted views of this narrow minded author surprised me. Of course Chile is going to be different to the US, not all countries want the “American Lifestyle” you have to spend at least 3 years in a country to truly appreciate what comes with it, whether you initially thought it was good or bad after 3 years you understand it better and fit in with the culture, some studies say that after 5 years it is when you truly fit in.

    When you stated that people earn a lot less than what the would in the US, I mean common-sense… cost of living is much cheaper in Latin-America too, hence why cleaning ladies are more sought often, you can go out more, better and cheaper healthcare, etc…

    When you say 90% of Chileans lie? because it is easier to cover up in Spanish (paraphrasing) this is again a mistake you are making, you are not able to read between the lines when it comes to Chilean-Spanish, it is like the British Sarcasm, they are not lying either it is just part of their culture.

    All countries have their Pros & Cons, but that does not give you any right to trash any country.

    • Mark says:

      I’m in the USA now where the First Amendment of the Constitution gives me the right to free speech. I can trash any country, individual, or group I want. I can do the same in Chile but not in Mexico. Is that why you left Mexico?

  19. Lt. Scheisskopf says:

    Well said on the First Amendment, something that as a foreign national to the U.S. back in the mid-seventies I was having trouble fully comprehending, yet now is one of the things I appreciate the very most about my adopted country .

    The author’s impressions do not stray too far from reality in most cases, and can be spot on at times, in which case some folks commenting have no reality basis to be all butthurt about it. He didn’t even mention the disgrace that packs of stray dogs in the streets represent even, which I personally consider a true disgrace, and the mark of a third world nation with mere pretensions of an advanced society.

    Cries of racism, unfairness, rudeness, and a litany of other complaints about the article do not change the reality in the ground. It is what it is, live with it or strive to change it if you don’t like it, but stop saying it’s not so when it clearly is.

  20. Mark H Schwartz says:

    I stayed with a lovely couple two weeks ago in an AirBnB. I took two walking tours for tips and saw many beautiful parts of the center. I am considering many places for retirement from the States because I want to give up driving forever.

    Everything was just too good to be believed when four hours before the taxi was to come and pick me up, I was pickpocketed in the metro. Oh yes, I kept the wallet in the front pocket, and fortunately they got that instead of my cellphone in the other front pocket. Yes, it can happen anywhere, but I have been to Egypt and Rio and nothing…

    My host at the AirBnB was at work and made arrangements with a neighbor working from home to give me the 18K pesos ($25 about) for the taxi. Collateral damage? $50 worth of Chilean pesos, $20 American, two credit cards to be cancelled (one they tried to use but was refused) and my Florida driver’s license which I ordered online, same with my health insurance card. I left other cards at the AirBnB. I did feel naked without the wallet, so I splurged at the Duty Free at the Santiago airport. I just felt violated, that’s all. But yes, it can happen anywhere.

    Unfortunately, this experience really shed a cloud over all the other lovely experiences. I certainly won’t retire there, and I do not plan to go back. If it is such a prosperous country and there is so much work, then they should promote work ethics and patrol the subway better. I already wrote a scathing email to the Chilean Consulate in Miami about this.

    • Mark says:

      I’ve never heard of anyone else having trouble with pickpockets but a gang of thieves in Viña del Mar broke into my rental car while it was parked at a remote hotel and stole my iPod. My travel guide warned me about them but the hotel employee at the front desk assured me that their remote location made it safe. It cost me $500 to fix the car. I’ve traveled in Mexico for 20 years, usually in coastal tourist cities, without encountering a single criminal but I suspect that there are more criminals in Mexico City and Guadalajara than in Santiago.

      I lived in Austin, Texas for a year where a gang of bike thieves stole my bike from my apartment complex. They stole my neighbors bike twice. There was no security at the complex; anyone could walk in and steal the bikes parked outside. I prevented a second theft by parking my bike inside my parked utility trailer. The thieves could’ve easily broken into the trailer but they didn’t know that there was a bike inside. Security is much better in Mexico and Chile because they assume that criminals are a big problem.

      • Geoff says:

        Thieves abound where there is opportunity. Opportunity comes with people.

        The same smash and grab breakins have happened to my family members in the cities of Portland and Seattle ………. considered to be such nice places to live.

  21. Kelly says:

    As a Canadian who has lived in Chile, (in Valparaiso, not Santiago though), I totally agree with everything you said in your article. As I am married to a Chilean man (btw, I find it very disrespectful to recommend not to marry a Chilean) I moved there for him, but after a year, I had to go back home for my own sanity. I don’t want to offend any Chilean as they are very friendly and helpful ( my husband is Chilean after all:)) but OH my! How life is difficult and EXPENSIVE over there! You have to pay for EVERYTHING : healthcare (I’m from Canada so our healthcare is free-not perfect but free-), water, retirement, going to the washroom, asking for a glass of water, asking for a service, etc. With my MBA, I could only find work as an office manager in a small workshop with a very low salary. Not to mention the process to get a visa… What you mention about men wanting to sleep with married women is true. I was hit on many times (even by some of his close “friends”), seems ok there to flirt with anyone else even when you’re engaged or married. Another thing that bugged me there is that I found people to be very racist and ethnocentric. I am a second generation Canadian and I am mixed race. I received many comments on how come I am North American and not blond with blue eyes! Even members of his family were disappointed to see me “not blond”. They do stereotype foreigners, especially North Americans and Europeans (all blond with blue eyes, tall and pale). I found Chileans to be more ethnocentric than any other culture I had the chance to get to know. I am not accustomed to that and I have lived in many countries as a child, teenager and young adult because of my father’s profession. In my household for instance, everything must be chilean, anything else is not worthy. Not to mention the very strong catholic values that guide the Chilean society. Again, as I was born and raised in a secular environment, I found it a little bit difficult adapting to that. I was also chocked to see how poorly educated people are. The cost of upper education is definitely to blame and I find it sad…seems to be normal for teenage girls to have babies at 14. I was harshly criticized because I didn’t have children and I was in my late 20s… Women’s roles are still very traditional and they do discriminate against women. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. Overall, I find Chile to be a great country to visit, people are nice and friendly. But once you live there, you get to see how things truly are. Maybe my experience was different because I was living in the countryside of Valparaiso, so I wouldn’t recommend to anyone to not go. Everyone has his own likes and dislikes. Maybe someone will be happy in Chile. I know I wasn’t, unfortunately.

    • Mark says:

      I didn’t recommend that you refrain from marrying a Chilean; I wrote that it might be prudent to avoid marrying one. I don’t think anyone should rush into marriage blindly without understanding the culture of the spouse. Deciding to marry is difficult even when your eyes are open.

      I like the fact that you have to pay for everything in Chile. Free healthcare in Canada means long queues for treatment. For instance, I met a Canadian with a broken wrist who couldn’t get it treated there. Instead, they bounced him around the system for 4 years before finally allowing him to be treated in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. You pay for health care in Canada and the USA with high taxes. Chile does a much better job by forcing citizens to think about the most efficient ways to maintain good health. People in Canada and the USA get too much free stuff from the government. I think it’s a disgrace that the USA government feeds 15% of the population. If you’re able to work and refuse, you should starve or pay for your food with savings or by selling assets.

      Thanks for your extensive comments. It’s a pity that you weren’t happy in Chile.

  22. Gene says:

    I worked in Chile on contract for a US company for six years. Petty theft is rampant. Hm, maybe the high steel-grate-fences engulfing *all* homes in major cities – often topped with glass shards, razor wire and electric shock lines – offers a clue. I know of numerous thefts involving friends and work associates both Chilean and expat. When the subject was discussed Chileans did not deny it. Homicide, though, is rare compared to the US. The death of a Japanese scientist caused by a thief was in the news for days.

    Starting a business in Chile is fraught with difficulties but my US born friend Jim made it through the gauntlet, three years. Now he can legally sell his jerky to supermarket chains.

    A Motel in Chile is a place to have sex with your secret lover. The rates are hourly. Hotels and cabañas are the places to take your wife and kids.

    Corruption exists. Fast food and Nescafe fake coffee have taken over. But for worries about economic collapses, there are far more people percentage-wise in Chile who know how to live by growing vegetables, raising and milking goats, fishing than there are in the US.

    I was there six months before I figured how to work and lead Chileans. Incredible! I’ll work with Chileans any day. Our engineering team had a name, a logo, a chant and gusto thanks to the Chileans! Our team was the only group who surpassed expectations.

    • Mark says:

      Thanks for stopping by and offering your thoughts! As you can tell from some of the other comments, not everyone agrees with everything I wrote in the post.

  23. bocacassidy says:

    Every country is a mixed package …And every individual has a differing order of priorities … Consequently , if if some countries are obviously far better or worse than others , none on a roster of the best offers all things to all people ….Working vs retirement vs visiting as a tourist , language factors , climate , public security ,prices etc. are factors that bias the choice for anyone .
    In a lifetime as an airline pilot , there were countries very attractive for a crew layover ….but not as a desirable residence … It is all a mixed bag….and a constantly moving target ….

    • Mark says:

      Yes, it pays to know as much as possible about the countries you’re considering living in. I’m dismayed that so many people read this post without reading the companion post, too.

  24. Carlos C says:

    Hi guys ! Many of you know me from my bike shop , where I help a lot of foreingers close by barrio lastarria, with their bikes. I will be very honest to you , most chileans will offer you a great deals and at the end you buy or you hire a nightmere , most of services that you hire , will take a bunch of time and usually will end up paying doble , plus the gringo tax.
    Restaurants a very expensive for what they are , rent is unbelievable expensive . most chileans “professionals” don’t know what the hell is going on and spend a least 50% of their working time talking or worst of all whatsapping . Taxes are huge and we never see them any of it, you see the news and you see criminals with 20 plus criminal charges walking out off court , you see people with murder charges just making 2 or three years at most. Starting a business ? Good luck ! You will be asked for 100 papers and ones you get them …. You will be asked for other papers “pero, yo se lo dije , usted no entendio” ” i told you , but you didt understand”if you want to poen up a restaurant you will have to wait for at least 4 months in order to get a seremi to visit your place. santiago is a dicult place to start a business , Viña is nice but … Not much money and so on . There are cool people too , just like anywhere , americans are nice but there are a bunch of idiots too , just like anywhere.

  25. jumpingsheep says:

    At times I wasnt sure what country you are talking about because most of the points apply to pretty much any country that has humans living in it…

    Anyway, as a immigrant to the USA I can tell you that a lot of your complaints lack perspective (as in they are common pretty much anywhere). For instance, what you described would actually be a step up from the US for the most part. The US is very hostile towards immigrants, and it has always been hostile. Just because immigrants find a life here does not mean they did so without major roadblocks. Sorry to break the news to you but the US has a long history of treating immigrants poorly from its early days (people hated Italians, Irish, etc etc for many decades) to the recent anti-Arab/Mexican uproar. I am not even Arab and yet I was treated poorly every now and then just by association (and I dont even have an accent any more).

    The comments about safety are also funny. Here in the US, I live in a safe area in San Diego (though I worked all over the place) and I have been held up with a weapon 5 times, twice with a knife before I even got to high school, and 3 times with a gun. I honestly dont know how I made it this long.

    Anyway, here is what I want to know. Let say you have money to buy a home and you (and most of your family) have various law and science degrees (especially computer science), what are the job prospects with that type of education? Is there a good tech industry?

    Also I have always dreamed of creating my own university that focuses on sciences (there is no hope of it happening in the USA). I know that education there is non-profit (which is a good thing) but how hard would it be to start a university there? Can i buy a building, remodel, hire professors and go at it? Are universities subsidized or do folks pay for it (which is better imho)?

    • jumpingsheep says:

      Oh also, what are litigation costs like over there? Law costs here in the USA are beyond retarded and a total waste of productivity and progress. Its the main reason why, after building 3 businesses, i refuse to make any more. I dont want to spend every waking moment worried about lawsuits.

    • Mark says:

      If you’ve been held up twice with with a knife and 3 times at gunpoint then you’re not in a safe area. Is the rest of San Diego even worse?

      As you note, the United States is as hostile to immigrants as Chile. I think that Chile admires the United States and copies many of its government policies.

      Schools in Chile are heavily regulated and subsidized but it is much better than the United States. Chile has a poor tech industry. A computer science degree is much more valuable in the United States than anywhere else. If you live in Vancouver you can double your income by moving 120 miles away to Seattle but the United States is hostile to immigrants, including Canadians, forcing Microsoft to open offices in Vancouver rather than hiring Canadians to work in Seattle. The United States will continue to be hostile to immigrants until another country (Sweden? Stockholm?) with technology industries outcompetes it by enticing vast numbers of foreigners.

      • jumpingsheep says:

        Thanks for the info. I am not as worried about policy as I am about ingrained cultural behaviour. For the most part, I actually like the policies in the US and certainly, they give immigrants a lot of paper freedom. However, the people of the US (to a very high degree) do not exhibit their established country values. The statue of liberty comes to mind. Many countries admire the things the USA did but most of it happened under progressive leadership before the current boomer generation ran hate and fear based campaigns to regain power in the 70s. Not to mention the imbeciles on the democratic side who have had no brain since FDR. The conservatives here however, went on to systematically destroy the economy (and other countries) via money policy and they are still in power now. I digress.

        I am a bit surprised to hear that Chile does not have a stronger tech industry given all the advertising they do about them being the tech hub of South America. My brother and I actually work in entertainment tech mostly. He programs and helps design simulation rides for Disney (similar to Star Tours), and I worked in video games (hardware and software). So we would probably want to do similar stuff if possible or run our own business if we can get some capital, which we have not been able to find here in the US. Generally speaking, in the US, it really is about who you know more than what you know or what our product is. People say silicon valley is great for startups but the truth is that if you dont have a relation with someone that has access to money, you simply wont get in. There are no official programs to help small businesses and our conservatives made sure to make startups extremely risky thanks to favoring the established big guys.

        • jumpingsheep says:

          Oh the hold ups happened in different places. Not just one specific place. One was at school (elementary) by a group of students and the others at different places. Its true one of them was in San Ysidro (very unsafe border area) but the others were in normal average crime areas. Two were in an especially high end area although for the record, the offenders were not from that area.

          • Mark says:

            I spent a month at the Campland by the Bay RV park and another month at the RV park at the Chula Vista Marina and had no problems with crime. However, one of the waitresses at the marina told me that at the the 2003 Super Bowl in San Diego, the cops hid in the bushes of the marina looking for criminals. The cops probably thought they might interdict Mexicans sailing small craft illegally from Tijuana to San Diego. Similarly, there were too many cops at the Denver convention of the Democratic Party in 2008, including large groups of cops on horseback resembling medieval knights preparing for battle.

            One day I went to Coronado and overheard some high school students talking. If you want to be a cool kid in Coronado, learn to speak Spanish. If you want to be a cool adult in Coronado, San Mateo, or San Francisco, learn to kiteboard.

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