My foreign guests (not Chilean, they are British) arrive with empty suitcases so they can shop shop shop. Goods here cost about 1/3 what they pay there.
So, big plus: huge variety of very cheap goods and clothing.
They also want:
American style pizza
American style ice cream
American style pressure broasted fried chicken
American restaurant breakfast with hash browns, omelet, ham, bacon, and sausage, pancakes, toast or biscuits, and ENDLESS CUP OF FRESH BREWED COFFEE with genuine half and half.
People move to The States so they can start a business and make some money, get a job and make some money, get an education that qualifies them to get a good job and make some money. Lots of opportunity in the USA, even in the current bad economy. Anyone, and that is absolutely anyone, can start up a business and work their way to success. Is that true in Chile?
There is plenty of good fresh produce in season in the USA. I think that the "in season" applies to Chile, also. There is fresh fruit and veg here year round, but part of the year it is shipped in, and sometimes it is good and sometimes it is not. A person does have to know where to shop to get good produce, and I suspect that also applies to shopping in Chile.
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As for the produce debate, I think it's really a matter of how far your food travels from farm/orchard to market. Personally, I've found Chile to have slightly better produce. AlthoughI must say that vegetables I've gotten from a CSA here in the states were some of the tastiest veggies I've ever eaten. Avocadoes I think Chile wins hands-down. Most other fruit too. It probably depends on where you live in the US as well as to whether you're getting quality/fresh stuff.
But my theory is that the REASON it gets so much press is, that the iniquities are so pointedly out of character with the DESIGN of our society. True, there has been plenty of erosion/drift in 200 years. But our original ideals and foundations remain so deeply ingrained that they endure as our societal standard of comparison.
Another point - for the most part, Americans mind their own business. I am speaking of domestically. As long as you show up for work on time and do a decent job; don't infringe your oddities upon others, people will pretty much leave you alone.
Would that I could say the same for our government's behavior in the international scene over the last 100 years. That is widely publicized and widely despised. But again, it is pointedly out of character of the original design of our society. Many Americans are waking up to this fact. The tides are turning; it will take time and it will be painful. But, as people learn about our origins and how STRAYING FROM THEM brought us to the ugly present, they are finding seeds of encouragement. Today, Congress opened with a reading of the Constitution. All legislation introduced will be required to substantiate its Constitutionality. We are a nation of laws, not of men. The great drama has begun.
The experiences of my travels- to Latin America and elsewhere- has shown me that few places in the world actually respect the citizens who live within its borders. Generally, only if you have money is the system responsive to requests or demands. The US is different in this regard; not only are its citizens largely able to have their concerns heard, but the vast majority of us see it as important that we, in turn, listen. And if being nice doesn't work, there is always the court system/tort laws and the like. Charles alluded to this in another thread. But overall, we seem to enjoy a significant degree of say, of control, of having our concerns listened to- and met- that Latin Americans can only dream about. Jeez, even the DMV, the post office, the fed government, etc are efficient and pleasant places compared to almost anywhere else in the world. Our culture insists we be heard; passport calls it "respect". I'd throw in a healthy dose of "accountability" as well. I think first-world status is determined by such things.
Last January, we crossed a street in Quito and came upon a 3/4" peice of re-bar sticking up out of the ground about 18". The top had beeen ground down (with probably a pneumatic grinder) at a razor (and I mean razor)sharp 45 degree angle. It was just sitting there in the sidewalk. I believe it was to be used as reinforcement for a concrete cap, perhaps to keep motorists from cutting across the corner sidewalk and taking out pedestrians. I don't know, but it was lethal. I had kids with me and had they - or anybody else-fallen on it, it would have cut to the bone. Had that happened in the states (well, it never would have happened, but just suppose) any citizen could have shown it to a cop or marched down to whatever office was responsible and had it removed/covered, etc. Had you tried the same thing in Ecuador, no doubt nothing would be done. No one would accept responsibility. This is what I mean- Ecuadorians have no say in so many things. They must just accept the circumstances of their lives.
Chile is somewhat the same way. Perros vagos comes to mind....
Now, all this could change as the US changes and we could well see a lower standard of living in the future. Will we be as civil and responsive? Or will we find out what others must now endure?
Discussions of who has the better produce miss a larger point.
I know you might have been replying tongue-in-cheek. But look back over passport's post. No mention of food, only of bigger issues (including the criminal nature of US foreign policy). That post was perhaps the most articulate I've seen on this forum- aimed like a (second amendment) rifle shot.
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I have another former student from 2009 that is now working in Canada. He went to a small town in northern Quebec. The company paid for his air fare and pays for his apartment and transportation. He is making 5x what he was making in Chile and all he has to pay for is food and clothes. On the downside...there's the weather issue. I am reminded of a Jimmy Buffet song....a guy who loves the southern Florida climate....IT'S 30 BELOW AND THE HOCKEY GAME"S ON...I THINK I'VE GOT CABIN FEVER. My poor student. Frozen near the Hudson Bay with his wife and kids and not another Latino in sight.