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Five things that chile does better than the USA

12 November 2017

I’ve lived for over nine months in Chile. By now I’ve got a decent lay of the land, so I’ll share five areas where Chile trumps my homeland.

Public transportation:

The Santiago Metro has color, music, food/drink, and a vibrant atmosphere. Here’s what it doesn’t have: Rats, flaming tracks, or the ambience of a nuclear fallout shelter. City buses come to you within minutes at any time of day. Although you have to channel your inner Adrian Peterson to push your way onto a rush-hour train, public transportation in Santiago is vastly superior to anything in the United States.


Americans get coffee to go and rush back to their desks. In Chile people actually, you know, enjoy their coffee. Walk past a café and you see people talking, discussing business, or just enjoying the day.

For the adventurous, sexually frustrated, or dirty-minded there are “cafés con piernas” (cafés with legs). Think of an establishment that is a mix between a strip club and a coffee bar…and let your imagination do the rest.


In the United States holidays have become “holidays”. A cost of our on-demand lifestyle means that people work through Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day and other formerly-sarcosanct days of the year.

In Chile it seems like every week is a holiday. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there are 22 public holidays in Chile this year. Some of them are even irrenunciable, which means that on those days most people are legally prohibited from working. A little government-mandated R&R? I’ll take it.


Earthquakes that level cities in other parts of the world literally aren’t even called earthquakes in Chile. Chileans have two words for what the rest of the world calls earthquakes: the designation of terremoto (earthquake) is reserved for the earth-shaking events that are truly catastrophic, and temblor(tremors) is used for the “minor” ones.


When the Chilean national team plays, the country stops. Walk down the street on match day and every television will be tuned to the action. Even if you don’t want to watch the game, you’ll hear it anyway. When a goal is scored, the entire city goes crazy. If the United States had a tenth of the passion for its national team I’d be impressed.