A Week of Very Santiago Moments

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Most people in Santiago are walking around with groceries in their arms or holding overfilled tiny plastic bags normally used for bread or veggies. As of February 3, all plastic bags are banned in retail business in Chile, but it takes a while to adapt and remember to bring a reusable bag. In theory, supermarkets were supposed to sell paper bags, but most run out of them after a few days. A new market is emerging, though—kids selling reusable bags in front of supermarkets.

Stuck with groceries and no bag, Monjitas, Santiago

Kids selling reusable bags at the door of the Lider on Santa Rosa, Santiago

Complete “wait… what the fuck?” moments, like these:

WTF, Calle San Isidro, Santiago

Barrio Patronato, Santiago

“You’re such a good husband, always volunteering to pick up my prescriptions at the pharmacy!” a few Chilean women must have said.

I think I found out why.

Calle Amunátegui, Santiago

Every night, at 1 a.m., a guy in one of the high-rise apartment buildings around my tower would scream “¡Ahora quiere marihuana!” Then, seconds later, a neighbour in another tower would scream back “¡Yo odio a Maduro!” I suspect a private joke and marijuana could be involved (because frankly, when you’re not high, it’s not that funny…). “Ya no quiere amor quiere marihuana” is also a popular song, so it could be a reference to it—not sure about the daily need to shout it, though.

View from my building, Universidad de Chile, Santiago

On Valentine’s Day, a couple in one of the apartment towers around mine had a very long and loud argument. Eventually, around 2 a.m., clothes were thrown out of the window and from our respective balconies, we all watched the guy leaving and picking up his stuff in the street. Do not piss off a Latina…!

Bondfire and music (lower left corner), View from my building, Universidad de Chile, Santiago

One night, people living in one of the old houses stuck between the high-rise apartment buildings started a bond fire in their court yard. I suspect they were Peruvians, because they also played traditional Andean music—pan flute and all—until 6 a.m.

Bondfire and music (lower left corner), View from my building, Universidad de Chile, Santiago

I’m the queen of the carbonated water running gag. Apparently, my Latin America survival skills don’t include picking the right drink at the supermarket. Chileans like carbonated water, I don’t. Even though the bottles are labelled—con gas o sin gas—, every freaking night, I managed to pick the wrong water bottle. And of course, I never notice it until I open the bottle and it explodes all over me.

Plaza de Armas, Santiago


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I suppose tap water is not an eligible drinking water.
    In Bali, the plastic shopping bag is banned.
    In jakarta, recenlty we have to pay at about 2 cent Canada dollar …again. But some retailers provide box. Complicated if you dont bring car with you

    • Tap water is technically drinkable but it really doesn’t taste good :-/

      Same in Canada, you can get a box for free, but if I’m walking, I’m almost always buying the bag (if I forgot mine, obviously).

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