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I just read a book (yes another one, yay, books!) in which the writer quotes another traveler as saying that “Santiago is the Indianapolis of South America.” Independent of the fact that I dislike intensely the comparison of X is the Y of Z (Buenos Aires is the New York of South America! Copenhagen is the Paris of Scandinavia! Ow, my aching this-is-like-that-o-meter), I’ll admit I am particularly confused by mountainous, quirky, nearly seven million strong Santiago being compared to a place that’s famous for car racing, and perhaps nothing else.

But what I really want to talk to you about is bugs, and this funny little car that, with any luck, you can catch roaming the streets of Santiago. And so I present you: the car.


Santiago is fairly free of bugs. You may occasionally see some lumbering around, but I challenge you to find the urban scourge, the cockroach, in any great quantities or in any great frequency pretty much anywhere in Santiago. Certainly it’s not that Santiago is cleaner than other countries (Brazil, for example is generally overrun in the Northeast, and its level of cleanliness would make your grandmother feel inadequate), but perhaps drier. We do have a profusion of spiders and the horrible rotating fly vortexes (vortices?) in the summer, which even the cats aren’t interested in, but for the most part, things that walk are bicho (bug) non grata (grato?) in Santiago.

Perhaps it is because of Truly Nolen. This seems to be the main extermination company in Chile, and while I would rather caulk any mystery holes and use boric acid or some other non-toxic method to rid any place I live from critters, should I find myself in the possession of some, I would want to call these guys just so I could have this handy car (or truck) come by my house, probably mostly so I could get a better photo.


And while they seem happy to say goodbye to cockroaches (chau cucarachas, which is weird because I thought we called them baratas), You can guess from the ears on top of the vehicle that they’d also be ever-so-happy to rid you of any spare Mickeys and Minnies you might have running around. And if you were wondering, the word for getting rid of rats is “desratizar” and I make up alot of words, but that one is real. And I’ve never seen a rat or mouse in Chile, por si te preguntabas (in case you were wondering).


Top that, Indianapolis.

And as another aside, the first several times I saw the Truly Nolen vehicle, I couldn’t help but think of Macheezmo Mouse, that 90s era Portland fast Mexican food mainstay. Just me?