By Paula Rook-Pereira for Flyingwinewriter.com
The last time visiting Chile I wonder if the smog has disappeared, easy to see from the window of the air plane while landing. I am totally disappointed. Later, after landing we wait for 40 minute a place to stop, the Chilean people reacted irritated after the waiting time, saying that Chile is still a mediocre and third-world country, typical emotionality that embarrassed me. By the way, while returning to Europe I have to wait exactly the same amount of time in Amsterdam. Nobody said one word.
I took the same bus TransVip, waiting there for about 15 minutes paying 10 euros for the service. The view of the city in one second: several new huge apartments and then going through the centrum a long line of about 200 meters from the door of immigration department. I saw without doubts, no white person this time. As usual my conversation starts fluently as we meet years ago with two people coming from Venezuela, they rented a house in Central Station, one of the main urban spots of the capital. During this trip a black man appears offering to clean the windows of the car, normally it was done by a Chilean white person.
My day in the city starts early in the morning around 6 o’clock, it was impossible to sleep longer and work efficiently because it is really very warm after 8 o’clock, a real sauna in the room. The day passed very fast, to many things to do in a short period of time walking hours under 30 degrees or more. There is not much vegetation in the city, they focus on planting bunches, instead of creating parks with big trees. There is no time for relaxation in the city, nothing beautiful to see than the same apartments, the same dogs walking alone. You have to leave Santiago to feel alive again, if you do not escape from this area you will miss the wonderful geography of this country. You need a car and about 500 euros to travel for 4 days to one destination at the coast while the minimal income is 380 euros per month. The tourism sector has been from the times I was born really very expensive for the 17.574.003 people living here. For 10 children of 15 years old there are six older than 64 years old, this is something unique showing in contrast with the year 1992 where it was just two elderly persons.
The new President is Sebastián Piñera after Michele Bachelet. He promises better pensions, less street work, less criminality and gratis technical education. The pension paid from the government to school teachers of the basic school is 178 euros. From my point of view, if this president fail achieving better pensions, the rest of the projects count as a dream too.
The loser candidate to be president made a mistake showing less leading skills and lacking experience. It is a big mistake to behave as financial aspects are not important, because it is much easier to say that you are selling smoke, something that is being a trauma for years in Chile after Salvador Allende. During the last debate on television, Alejandro Guillier acted as a child without answer for his actions, he could not defend his project at all.
I went to explore the city by metro, it is constructed a new line called `line 6`, it travels half of the city to connect remote areas to Santiago centre. It looks like Barajas Madrid Airport while changing to S3 using the small train, in this case the metro is huge, modern and completely automated. A great investment that shows progress on this matter. The airport is expanding too, now we can say that it has something to do with the possibilities for tourism and the increasing immigration not only from countries in South America such as Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti and Argentina, also count people from China, Russia, Poland, Spain and France searching for a place to work. The Immigration department said that it can be close to 600.000 new residents in 2017.
The streets only for bikes is really growing, it is a great improvement for the quality of life of many people, because the driving schools prepare an exam only focus on how to react before a signal. A cyclist or a person suddenly crossing the street has no priority, the car is the leader. While crossing a street without traffic light, they think to have always priority over cyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist.
My wishes for Chile is that first people can live in Santiago without smog and second that the constructions of parks become as much important as the construction of high buildings. Finally, that the possibility for Chilean people to know their own country becomes a reality and not a dream as the past 36 years.
Let me say something about the wine industry: the knowledge of local people about wine is as much as their knowledge about imported beer. They love to see something from outside at low price. The supermarkets are plenty of excellent wine brands, 4 pavilions for beverages and sustainable politics such as the law which allows them to stop giving plastic bags at all stores to become much more than ever the cleanest of the region. For some reason, Chile was never a great place to live for anybody in the world, I wonder if someone from United Kingdom would like to immigrate to Chile, knowing the same I am telling to you right now. If the main problems are solved in 200 years, Chile could attract immigrants from Europe searching for better climate conditions, expecting every moment an earthquake. Dutch people enjoy this destination to see the fantastic landscape, however to buy a house or massal branding clothing is as much expensive as in The Netherlands. They would realize that going to live in Chile is like travelling to Mars. A ticket no return.