A while back I said in a post there were a few things I wanted to talk about before we left South America. One of them is smoking. I’m not a big fan of smoking. I know a lot of people that smoke. My Dad used to smoke. He quit a long time ago. My Grandfather used to smoke, I think my Grandmother did, too, but I can’t remember. My father-in-law smoked. It killed him.
Smoking kills you. We all know that, right? So if you’re smoking, you should stop. I remember flying from New York to Fairbanks (and vice versa) on a Pan Am 747 . It was when smoking used to be allowed on planes. I hated that. I remember going to the Golstream Cinemas when there was just two theaters and smoking was allowed. I hated that, too. Besides my little commentary here, I don’t give smoking a lot of thought.
I certainly didn’t give smoking a lot of thought in South America, that is until we got to Chile. I don’t really remember anybody smoking in Colombia or Ecuador. There must have been some. I just don’t remember. I do remember that almost no one smoked in Peru. I thought that was interesting. I thought maybe it had something to do with the altitude, of the cost of living. Then we got to Chile.
In Arica, the northernmost Chilean town, a lot of people smoked. I was such a change from 25 miles to the north. It was a little shocking. Especially seeing 14 year girls in school uniforms smoking. It was a little strange.
There was a lot of nothing in northern Chile, including people, so there wasn’t much smoking going on. Then we got to Santiago. Wow. EVERYONE smoked. I mean EVERYONE. There was one time we were driving down a street through a medical college that was on both sides of the street. The two lanes of traffic in the street were divided by a green strip in the middle, with benches and trees and such. It was some sort of break time, and there were like a thousand or so students on both sides of the street and in the middle smoking. The air was hazy with smoke, like a really smokey bar. It would just pour in the windows of the van. It was unbelievable.
It was like this regularly in Chile, tons of people in public places smoking like crazy. If you have stock in tobacco companies, have no fear. You’ll be doing fine. Michelle and I went out for a date to a Jazz club while we were in Santiago. There were four No Fumar signs on the door. We walked in and it was pretty smoky. This turned out to be because they had a smoking room, with no ventilation. At one point, all 20 people in the bar, including the musicians and bartenders, were all crammed in the little room smoking.
Now this is not intended to be some rant on smoking. I just cannot describe the amount of smoking that goes on in Chile. You would not believe it. And I though it worth mentioning. Oh yeah, don’t forget, smoking kills you, so stop.