* My summer sausage and Romano cheese got confiscated in customs. I don't know what pests either one could be carrying, but.
* One legacy of Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys: inflation-indexed currency is common in contracts, e.g. G's insurance. + side: makes sense, hedges against inflation. - side: removes the use of mild inflation as a sneaky way around wage stickiness, where lack of raises gives a modest wage cut.
* The War of the Pacific saw Chile secure coast, Bolivia lose all coast, and Chile killing Bolivia's economy via high tariffs on the "guaranteed" seaport access after the war. These days though, Chile is trying to be a good neighborhood leader, forming an equivalent to the EU (UNOSUR?), with talk of a single currency, funding rail to Bolivia's tariff-free access to the port, and helping Argentina escape from under the IMF thumb, and forming a Bank of the South to provide a general alternative to the IMF and World Bank. (Caveat: I'm not sure how much some of these have happened, vs. being optimistically talked about.)
* Tuition at the top private school in La Serena, the German school, with trilingual education and excellent math and science teachers and labs, is about $3000. Of course, for the average Chilean that's a lot.
* There are lots of dogs here and they've just started a major concert of barking and yowling. This bodes ill for my sleep tonight.
* It takes 24 months for a disabled US worker to actually qualify for Medicare. Need help in between? Bankruptcy or death.
* I realized there were these countries in NE South America I never hear or think about. Suriname turns out to be Dutch-speaking, and was independent in Nov 1975, after many people I know were born. They had a coup less than 5 years later. Very diverse ethnically and religiously, thanks to the Dutch bringing in contract workers from the east Indies and India, after slavery went out (in 1863-1873.) Guyana speaks English, was where Jonestown happened, and has an emigration rate nearly equal to the death rate; population growth is barely positive, at 0.2%. Both countries have less than a million people.