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Time-zoney Wime-zoney

Pleasant memories of Chile include watching the sun go down toward the Horizon at 8:30 or so. Yesterday I learned the oddness of that. We're at only 30 South here, after all; even in midsummer the day is just 14 hours long, which means sunset should be at 7. There's DST, but that just brings us to 8. What's going on?



Finally (lots of those this year) I learn Chile's been cheating on its time zone. Geographically it should be on US astern time, with Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Instead it's one ahead, with Bolivia, Paraguay, Western Brazil, Venezuela, and Newfoundland. G says Chile simply put itself there, so get more sunlight in the evening -- my thought was "trying to imitate a Madrid lifestyle without Madrid latitude." (Santiago is 33.45 south, Madrid is 40 north.) Solar zenith today was about 1:45pm.

Which means that my instinct for not going out much in the hour after lunch (which we have at 2) has been inadvertently sound.

***

I'm told Chile has very low property tax, feeding a boom in land, from both Chileans and Argentinians trying to escape Argentine currency controls. Tax is like 0.5% of value. It's lower before 130 m2 and 65? m2 too, creating a lot of lots or units at e.g. 129 m2. Conversely, there's some other tax based on floor area ratio, such that big empty lots pay more.

The supermarket I usually walk to has instituded paid parking in the past week. I'd never seen the lot full but I'm told that at the right times it's been overfull, partly from customers of businesses on Balmaceda. If you have a receipt for a grocery purchase of about $6-20 you get 40 minutes free, more for bigger purchases. If you're a member of the general public it's $1 per 30 minutes, no limit on duration. $14 if you lose your ticket.

So yes, it's a store lot that can be used, for pay, by the general public! How shockingly sensible.

I'm also told that at this point it's nearly impossible to get money conveniently out of the US. Not currency controls, but finance+DEA rules meaning you have to be physically present at a bank in order to wire money out of the US, something of a problem if you're an expat. Sort of anti-drugging out way into being like Argentina.

***

I've gone out to dinner a couple times on my own recently. Once to a Peruvian restaurant, where I had tacu-tacu con lomo salteado, which was pretty good and more stuffing than I expected, also a weird free appetizer of bread medallions and some dipping sauce. Last night to a Mexicanish place -- fajitas, burritos, tacos -- where I had tacos, kind of. I think in corn tortillas -- homemade? you can't buy corn tortillas here -- and fried, even, but also soaking in juice and overburdened, so it was really fork and knife time. Pretty good, though. So was the chocolate artesenal, with cinnamon and something else, and Colombian chocolate? About $18 for each dinner.

I still haven't found postcards. Okay, I haven't really looked again either. Christmas, rail games, arguing about the Culture and Blue Rose online, talking about politics here, playing chase with the kids.

I bought and cooked some sausages. I don't know what they are, but they were really tasty.

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Damien Sullivan
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