October 21, 2013

Sanhattan, another point of view

Sanhattan, the place where I go to work every weekday.

Maybe Sanhattan is not even similar to Manhattan, but this is the way in which some like to refer to it. Even though, one of those guys made a Wikipedia entry about it. The first line of the article states that the place is "Chile's capital Santiago's high-end financial district". This is only half true because the Santiago Stock Exchange is at downtown and there is where most of the transactions and exchanges are made. But what is true, it's the fact that most of the biggest companies and most important consultant firms and service providers have their headquarters.

The location is very nice. There you can find a mix of corporate buildings, offices, residential apartments, groceries, drug stores, restaurants, banks and plazas. In the recent years its influence has been growing, but I personally believe that Downtown Santiago is still the most important part of the city (historically, culturally and economically).

Touristically speaking, the neighborhood is a very nice place to visit, considering the fancy restaurant, popular bars, five-star hotels and eccentrics buildings. However, you need to be aware that this is the workplace of thousands of workers, thus the traffic is awful, there are few places to park and the public transportation is almost always overcrowded.

I don't know Manhattan, but searching on the web it seems that Sanhattan has similarities with its New Yorker counterpart. It's like Europe or USA; if you're a westerner, you'll feel as you were at home.

June 4, 2013

Santiago's municipalities

Hello! Fellow citizens of the world.

I'd like to update this blog more often, but sadly I've been working so many hours these last weeks. My job is a time-consuming one. But today I've decided to write a small entry about the Santiago's municipalities (we call them "comunas").

As you can notice doing a fast search on Google, Wikipedia has a exhausted list of all the Chilean municipalities. But what Wikipedia does not say and in reality no one says, is that there are huge difference among them (remember dear foreigner, Chile is a segregated country, we have ghettos everywhere).

Let's focus on Santiago. There are a branch of municipalities where the quality-of-life is almost the same that you could find in Switzerland, for instance, Vitacura, Las Condes, Providencia, Lo Barnechea and La Reina. If you are a North American o European you will feel like you're at home in these places. Here is where our politicians (even the leftists), businessmen, bankers, lawyers, medics and the majority of the social upper class live and have their networks. On the other hand, there are "middle class municipalities", for example Ñuñoa, Macul, Maipú, San Miguel, Quilicura, Puente Alto, Santiago, La Florida, etc. And finally, there are lower class municipalities like La Pintana, Renca, Lo Espejo, etc.

Predictably you might foresee the municipality where someone lives as a function of their income. And curiously, the touristic attractions are at the upper classes places, so if you are visiting Santiago and see this territory as a wonderful place at the level of the European cities, don't get confused, you're just seeing the best part of the picture.

I hope you've found this post interesting. If you're more interested in this country and want to know more about our culture or staff like that, contact me through this blog. Certainly my english is not the best, but I' willing to answer all your doubts.

That's all folks.

March 3, 2013


Hi there!

Yesterday I went with my family (my parents, siblings, my partner and little son) to the "Parque Araucano", a park located in a very high-class neighborhood.

The place is big, well preserved and with many games available for free to anybody. It sounds great, but some restrictions make this place only available for certain kind of people and not to "anybody", being the main constraint, the city's segregation. This is not the direct result of any public policy but the free market applied to housing. It is not "direct" because no law establishes where people must live. Nevertheless, if you cannot pay the rent it is obvious that you cannot live there. Simple logic, of course. Neighbors end up being people that have similar acquisitive power.

But, Why does in other places this do not happen? Today I was reading an article in a very important local newspaper about the segregation in some cities within the OECD. Could you guess what was the most segregated? Is there something wrong with the other cities? Does something not work? A lot of answers could respond those questions, but the phenomenon cross the entire society. This happens with healthcare, education, housing, etc. For example, the likelihood that you have studied with people within your same social status is high, especially in the early stages (maybe universities are more diverse, but just a little). 

In this scenario, Could you imagine how is the social mobility? Tending to zero. Certainly a lot of people have improved their living standard, but they are not aware that they are on the same social scale of their parents. Everybody is better, but some more than others. Trickle-down theory.

We are in the presence of no public policy at all. In countries like USA, I have seen Obama engage with bringing the same opportunities to all the American children (as always, with the Republican opposition), but sadly here, at the end of the world, politics do not care about anything. They just care about their political career and the next election. Indeed, this is the perfect way to transfer their privileges to their offspring.

My dream is, no matter where one was born, everybody has the same opportunities.