Saturday, June 16, 2007

Commerce in Chile

Commerce here-wine! Mmmmm. You can find lots of Chilean wine there too. The Pirque house is very close to Concho Y Toro. which is perhaps the biggest and oldest in Chile. The wine here is unbelievably cheap. Fruit-you guys get many of Chile's fruit in the winter too. There are fruit and vegetable stands everywhere you look and stopping there is really fun. We load up on everything for around 5000 pesos($10). Avocados for $2 a kilo(2.25 lbs) but they're much cheaper in season which, I'm told is July(which is deep winter here). Everything else runs $1 to 1.25 a kilo. I've been making soup with all the veggies. They have a few fruits I've never tried-persimmons and pepino(which is the size of a pear and you peel and tastes like melon). Oh and kiwi. There is always fruit, I'm told because they get it from the North(which is desert) and South(which is colder). And nuts-almonds, walnuts. And olives. They have this juice made in Santiago, strawberry and apple the best. Nothing like it that I've tasted, just delicious. And marmalade, very cheap and delicious.

Other commerce is salmon, which is mostly exported-look for it at King Soopers. They also make clothes, just for here I think-haven't shopped much yet beyond the grocery store. The President)Michelle Bachelet)has been setting up trade agreements so I expect more access to varied products. Beef is from Argentina mostly I think. They have no concept of grain fed or feedlots here. The common breed I read can be used for beef or dairy and the owner decides his need! I also read that they are importing some angus beef for restaurants to see if people like it. Beef here is grass fed, which is much leaner but not as tasty as the grain finished beef. We should get very healthy here!

There are many US companies here-Dominos Pizza, ADT alarms, McDonalds, Burger King, KFC/Taco Bell. And they love many US products-they do like to dress pretty much like North Americans but everythings with a twist. Like the pizza has very different ingredients. They love hot dogs-called completos-but with mayonnaise and creamed avocado. Taco Bell has burrito supremes but no nacho chips, instead fries with cheese on it. Only Dorito chips in the store-no other tortilla chips. I can't seem to get enough guacamole with cheap and plentiful avocados & tomatoes. I tried some olive and tomato flavored chips here that they make that were really good. Coca Cola is drunk in every home at every meal-even those that have very little money-don't know how they did that. So, a lot of US business is done here. By the way, they will point out, Chileans are also Americans-you are Norte Americano!

We noticed the Jeep Cherokee we bought here is Canadian made, a little smaller, but gets 38 mpg-the one he had in the states got 22 mpg. Have no idea why yet. His friend is buying a Ford Ranger that is supposed to get 50 mpg. I have heard emissions would make the difference but this Jeep does have a catalytic converter.