Here it is: the second installment of the "Random things I love/that irk me about Santiago" series. Since my first entry was an ode to my neighborhood butcher shop, I figured I would take a more critical angle this time.
A short stroll through Santiago is enough to make one realize that this city desperately needs Bob Barker. No, most santiaguinos I know are not yearning for tacky dining room sets or Tang-colored tans. What this place needs is someone to preach the gospel of spaying and neutering pets.
To illustrate, I have a friend whose family, instead of fixing their dogs (who are brother and sister), let nature take its course. Lo and behold, this incestuous duo became a trio before long. My friend's three beloved pets now live together in Oedipal bliss on the back patio.
At least they have a home. Many of the tail-wagging products of Chile's resistance to pet sterilization end up on the mean streets of Santiago, where they scavenge, scuffle...and poop.
Of course, nobody picks up after strays. This means that the sidewalks of this city are mine fields...and the mines stink. It's difficult to enjoy the urban scenery while maintaining constant vigilance for perils underfoot.
The other afternoon, a moment of distraction left me with something decidedly organic smeared over the bottom of my shoe. When I tried to clean the contaminated sole off on the grass, I planted my foot in yet another fresh pile of canine excrement.
Hey, I love the street dogs just as much as the next person. The particularly gentlemanly ones sometimes escort me home when I'm walking alone at night. Recently, 11 (yes, 11) of them kept me company during an extended wait at a bus stop.
But the poop is gross. Sorry. Even if some have found a way to turn it into art: In beautiful Valparaíso, someone has planted pictures of Pinochet, Hitler and other notorious dictators in the piles of, um, feces that litter the streets. Gotta give them props for creativity.