There are a lot of things to love about Chile. Chile is arguably the most beautiful and physically diverse country in the world. Chile has a mostly free market economy and many free market policies. Chileans like Americans and it is easy to make friends in Chile and enjoy life. Chile is affordable and the quality of life (standard of living) is very high. The costs of medical insurance, pharmaceuticals, car insurance, and many other things is lower than in the USA. Taxes are far lower in Chile than in the USA, by and large. This blog is full of wonderful things about Chile.
Things that Americans will Hate about Chile
However, there are things that Americans will detest about Chile, many of which I have already alluded to in previous posts, and one should appreciate that a degree of magnitude separates the first two or three items on the list from the rest.
1. Trámites (going from one place to another to accomplish some bureaucratic hassle), which are long and painful, not to mention frustrating.
2. 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. Sometimes, depending on social class (middle or lower), Chileans will take advantage of you in relationships. (Be sure to see this post on living with liars written a couple of years after this one you are reading now.)
3. That 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.
4. The national ID card or carnét, which many Americans will hate in principle although in practice it is no more a nuisance than an American driver´s license.
5. Many if not most Chileans lack manners. They are discourteous drivers, especially in Santiago, and they will cut in line ahead of everyone else. They are wonderfully polite to their friends but very rude in certain things towards other people.
6. Gun legislation in Chile is more restrictive than America, even though Chile’s gun policy is liberal by world standards.
7. Paying a higher price for gasoline or diesel, and having to get one’s car inspected. Random car stops by the police are also a nuisance, and will probably happen to every driver at least once per year. They are looking to make sure that one has paid his car registration and did his annual car inspection.
8. Some Chilean men will consider is good sport to try to sleep with your wife.
9. Waiting in line, as in the line for the post office shown in the photo below. In all fairness, waiting in line in urban areas of the USA is not an unusual phenomenon. But no one likes to do it.