Santiago, I’d like to file some complaints.

I haven’t thrown in enough facetious commentary lately, so here’s a short list of Santiago-inspired peeves…

1.  Dog Jackets: It seems that Chileans have taken it upon themselves to properly prepare street dogs for the wet, chilly winter air.  I’m not sure if this is a step toward a more caring and sustainable relationship between Santiago’s street dogs (which number between 200,000 and 500,000 according to different estimates) and the cityfolk, or if it will just be a soggy irritant to the dogs.  Judging from the look of ecstasy in this little guy’s face, I’d have to say that this effort has significantly improved canine happiness levels in Santiago…  Although it would probably be better to reduce abandonment and generate responsibility in the city’s pet disowners.Perro callejero con abrigo

Svelty cream... looks fine

2.  In the Thick of it:  For some reason, Chileans are really big fans of thickening agents.  Everyone has heard me complain about how Chile puts gelatin in all yogurt.  But did you know that they also add a hearty dose of thickeners to cream?  Or soy milk?  I certainly didn’t expect it.  Mind you, this is not curdled or sour; this is the way they want it to be.

Svelty Cream: delicious

And speaking of cream…

3.  A Bit o’ Better Butter:  A big part of what makes baking hard for us gringos here in Santiago is that the butter just isn’t the same (time for vegan baking!).  It tastes different.  It’s yellower and the texture is odd.  But most entertaining of all is that it just doesn’t seem to cream wellCreaming fail

I would not call this ideal...4.  Piteous Pizza: I don’t know where to start with Chilean pizza.  The sauce is never good, the crust is a travesty, and the toppings are probably only worth it if you were already planning on eating meat of questionable origin.  Below, I’m featuring a beauty of a specimen from Pizza Hut Delivery, but the must-see for another post are the cardboard-like discs smeared with red or orange food coloring for “sauce”… Mmmmmmm, just add cheese.  Something tells me Lunchables are better.

Pizza Hut masterpiece

5.  Pruned to Death: At some point over the course of the winter, about half of all Santiaguinos will be gripped with murderous intentions.  The lovely and sparse trees that bravely stand their ground on Santiago’s streets usually fall victim to this bloodlust.  I’m not an expert on pruning (here’s what the experts say), but I’m fairly certain that chopping off every last branch on a tree is not ideal.  And I’m not sure what the thinking is behind this, but I think it might go something like this: “Man, this tree looks ugly.  I bet it would be prettier as an exalted stump.”Over-Pruning Stumps Me

I hope you enjoyed the kvetching!

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