Corrugated City

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Floridafication of Chile

Sometimes it seems that all Chile wants to do is convert itself into Florida...shiny new, crappy quality tower blocks and malls. Vina del Mar is an obvious example but the desire to show Chile as a new, dynamic and economically successful country often makes the average Chilean forget that old doesn't necessarily mean bad. This is part of the problem of Valparaiso. Instead of being proud of having such a stunningly beautiful and eclectic city in their country, many Chileans see Valparaiso as an embarrassment because it's dilapidated and crumbly. It's backward and doesn't show obvious wealth. They urge foreign visitors to go to 'beautiful' Vina instead. For many Chileans, visitors who come to Valparaiso and leave without having been robbed, raped or murdered are the lucky ones. They forget that wealth is not just monetary.

A friend recently took a taxi from the airport into Santiago. The driver asked where she lived and expressed shock when she said Valpo. Apparently, Valpo is full of thieves and pickpockets and petty criminals. 'Sounds just like Santiago', my friend said. The driver looked puzzled for a minute before replying, 'I guess you're right.'


I have one word for that news.

Yak.


Late Edit: And talking about mallification, go read this entertaining piece about the disastrous opening of the hideous Westfield Centre in West London.

11 comments:

Allie said...

Uhm, that should have been my blog post because it was entirely about my theory/experience. But, I'm to lazy/busy/inarticulate to blog..... so.... can I just link to it?

Matt said...

You experience perhaps...but your theory? Hmmmm....but anyway, link away Bad Blogger.

Allie said...

chile= wanna be florida! yeah! my theory... the other stuff, yours, fine, whatever. thanks :)

Doggy dog said...

Florida.. oh man i hope not.. i went to school there and place was like a blackhole.. once you get sucked in the non-sense you never return.. And i agree with you about Valpo.. i spent 2 months there 4 years ago and the historical features of the city are awesome.. and there were no attempts to rob me.. can you believe it!!! i was almost insulted.. hahahha

Anonymous said...

I have one word for your blog:yak.En España te diriamos pedazo de gilipollas arribista,ignorante con complejo de superioridad.Muchas palabras para tu pobre neurona.
De Fran.

Matt said...

Doggy dog-you weren't robbed or attacked in Valpo? Shocking! :)

Matt said...

Fran-What a pity my desire to see Chile celebrate its history and heritage rather than bulldoze it over for the sake of yet another Ripley/Paris/Falabella-based concrete monstrosity offends you so.

From your (witty, incisive, intelligent and reasoned) comment, I can only assume that you're in favour of the subjugation of Chilean culture and heritage by a generic, standardised and all-powerful global consumerism.

For ignorant, might I suggest a mirror?

Mamacita Chilena said...

I actually take this as a total offense to FL. I love Tampa. It's such a cool city with tons of history and hardly any new buildings. So take that Corrugated City theory!

Matt said...

With my apologies to Tampa :)

andreinchile.com said...

i see nothing at all beautiful in vina but i love valparaiso..

Santiago FLORES said...

Good man yourself Matt! right on the spot. Prove of how deep this runs on us is that you have a comment from some Spaniard called Fran complaining about your patronization of us, oh poor Chileans. He forgets we consider a good riddance what we got in 1818!. Anyway, don't forget this country of mine is made of descendants of simple soldiers of mother Spain, so if they were (and still are) shortsighted and just followers...no le pidas peras al olmo.
On the other hand though, there still hope.