Sunday, July 4, 2010

Santiago, the Indianapolis of South America! Now, with fewer bugs.

I just read a book (yes another one, yay, books!) in which the writer quotes another traveler as saying that "Santiago is the Indianapolis of South America." Independent of the fact that I dislike intensely the comparison of X is the Y of Z (Buenos Aires is the New York of South America! Copenhagen is the Paris of Scandinavia! Ow, my aching this-is-like-that-o-meter), I'll admit I am particularly confused by mountainous, quirky, nearly seven million strong Santiago being compared to a place that's famous for car racing, and perhaps nothing else.

But what I really want to talk to you about is bugs, and this funny little car that, with any luck, you can catch roaming the streets of Santiago. And so I present you: the car.


Santiago is fairly free of bugs. You may occasionally see some lumbering around, but I challenge you to find the urban scourge, the cockroach, in any great quantities or in any great frequency pretty much anywhere in Santiago. Certainly it's not that Santiago is cleaner than other countries (Brazil, for example is generally overrun in the Northeast, and its level of cleanliness would make your grandmother feel inadequate), but perhaps drier. We do have a profusion of spiders and the horrible rotating fly vortexes (vortices?) in the summer, which even the cats aren't interested in, but for the most part, things that walk are bicho (bug) non grata (grato?) in Santiago.

Perhaps it is because of Truly Nolen. This seems to be the main extermination company in Chile, and while I would rather caulk any mystery holes and use boric acid or some other non-toxic method to rid any place I live from critters, should I find myself in the possession of some, I would want to call these guys just so I could have this handy car (or truck) come by my house, probably mostly so I could get a better photo.


And while they seem happy to say goodbye to cockroaches (chau cucarachas, which is weird because I thought we called them baratas), You can guess from the ears on top of the vehicle that they'd also be ever-so-happy to rid you of any spare Mickeys and Minnies you might have running around. And if you were wondering, the word for getting rid of rats is "desratizar" and I make up alot of words, but that one is real. And I've never seen a rat or mouse in Chile, por si te preguntabas (in case you were wondering).


Top that, Indianapolis.

And as another aside, the first several times I saw the Truly Nolen vehicle, I couldn't help but think of Macheezmo Mouse, that 90s era Portland fast Mexican food mainstay. Just me?


Abby said...

Indianapolis? Really? I've never been there, but I can't possibly think what the two cities would have in common. Did the author provide some sort of explanation?

And I love that for the most part Santiago doesn't have bugs that bite, like mosquitoes or black flies. One of my students has an ant infestation...maybe he should call Truly Nolen!

lydia said...

when you decide youre ready to see a chilean rat, come to valparaiso or vina and check out the giant ones rumored to eat cats (i've never seen one big enough to do that, but i'd hate to squash a great rumor like that)

Kristin said...

Why did they compare it to Indianapolis? I've never been to either city but I don't see the connection..

Eileen said...

Well, the person who is doing the talking is a vending machine company owner and drug dealer, and in the previous paragraph he says, "Santiago sucks (poto), though, Bunch of philistines, just like Pinochet wanted."

So as you can see, he loves it like his mother.

And Lydia, that sounds great. Maybe we can watch people play capoeira and then go search for some rats! Would make for a unique travel tale, at least!

Heather said...

I've been to Indy, and the only thing that stood out in my mind was the cheap downtown parking. I am hoping that Santiago has some more memorable qualities in store for me.

Anonymous said...

Macheesmo Mouse! Yes! I can totally see it. And now I'm missing their sauce...what was it called? Ah, it's been too long.

I had a friend who used to tell me that Nouakchott was the New York of Mauritania. Both are major cities for their respective countries and both start with N, and there the comparison ends. So I took to calling it the Kuala Lampur of Mauritania, or the Las Vegas of Mauritania, or other random names.

rebecca said...

Macheezmo Mouse! Would you believe that's the second time that's come up in my life recently?!

Keep an eye out for any other buggy yellow vehicles.

César said...

Las Baratas son esas cucarachitas chicas y negras que parecen aceituna con patas...

Pero esas cafés grandes, como de dos pulgadas de largo, ESAS son cucarachas... salen poco, pero de que las hay, las hay.

Bahamas said...

I also know that the Santiago is a clean and bug free city. Perhaps for this the writer of the book written
"Santiago is the Indianapolis of South America".
Now a days environment pollution is a issue in every country.Sometimes we find a city which is free of pollution.I am very sad to know that it is not a clean city now!

Eileen said...

And César breaks it down for us. Baratas are the light brown, smaller, "German" cockroaches, and cucarachas are the giant "water bugs" or palmettoes or whatever you call them, which I was once told were called "Oritental cockroaches," the big ones that come because there's water, not because there's food. Thanks César!