Life Surrounded by Mountains in Central Chile

The wrist is swelling from the extra work.  I try not to do too much, but it is very difficult.  I am getting much more movement on the hand; right now, for example, I am typing with both hands.  I get tired after a short while, but every day I can type a little more.  Thanks for asking.

Dave, I am impressed that you have read Roberto Bolaño, has he been translated, or did you read him in Spanish?  He has been on my reading list for a few years, and I have never gotten around to it.  Right now I am reading some of Isabel Allende's novels that I have not previously read, El Plan Infinito is what I am working on right now.  It is not about Chile, but it is of the Hispanic experience in the US.  I like to read her, because I find her Spanish much easier to read. Spanish is always the same across borders, but writers from different countries prefer different words, so I am working on contemporary Chilean Spanish. Once I am done with it, I will return to Garcia Marquez who is my favorite, and then go to Borges.  Reading the newspapers has lots of language that is new to me as well.  I find that it is written with more ornate words than American newspapers, at least the papers which aren't the scandal sheets, so raeding the paper is helping me enrich my language skills.

Kthnry, thanks for the offer.  My friend found a chinese limo service to pick me and the dogs up to take me to JFK for $105, nearly half the cost of an English speaking service.  My friend is coming to make sure that the instructions are correct, because the driver speaks no English or Spanish.

Packing is a BIG problem.  Before coming to Maplewood, I was living in the Netherlands.  Moving cost nothing, and I assumed that because Valparaiso is a big port, it would be the same.  WRONG.  There is non-stop shipping to Rotterdam, not to Valparaiso or San Antonio.  All the shipping is coming toward the US, not going to Chile. 

I want you to like Chile, but I also want to write about the truth as I understand it.  In the 70s under Allende protectionist legislation reached a peak after centuries of high tariffs initially brought by the Spanish to Chile.  The laws made the importation of good not only prohibitive but illegal.  My mother's family has had a business of electrical products -- tvs, washing  machines, refrigerators, calculators -- since the 40s.  During Allende my uncle had to buy these goods in the black market to sell to customers; those products were not manufactured in Chile; and his clients wanted them.  The goods were in the store for anyone to see.  He was arrested, jailed, tortured for making a living from the sale of consumer products.  He went bankrupt in the process. 

Pinochet came and the markets were opened wide in the blink of a eye.  The store went up again, and his clients returned.  They are doing better than ever before, but surprisingly, not all the tariffs are gone.  Yes, it is no longer illegal, but importing a car (new or used) gets a 25% tax, you loose your warrantee outside the US, and you can't sell the car without paying additional custom duties for three years.  And this is allowed because I have spent a year outside the country.  Chile is full of cars from all over the world, and they are 25% more expensive than ours, same car.

Because I have spent five uninterrupted years outside the country, I can bring $5,000 worth of personal good with only a 1% tax.  I am taking very little back with me.  The freight forwarders know nothing about tariffs, you need to contract a customs broker for that, and for such a small shipment, I don't think that it is worth the expense.  The freight forwards or NVOCC will ship the stuff for you, and then you get hit with the surprise when the customs agent in Chile hands you their bill. 

My first cousin's son is a Marxist, and he rants and raves about tariffs for the books he imports from all over the world.  Yes, left and right ideas are mixed not only in families but within people themselves.  There is nothings wrong with mixing ideas if they are made to blend well, and Chile does a great deal of experimentation on this area for the rest of the world which has a larger population and more years of socialist leaning governments.

So to make this real, I have yet to find someone who will ship and move my goods.  Fortunately, I can stay longer in my house and my orthopedist will give me a letter for the airline if I fail to get this done by Monday.  But it is a monumental task lining up a big move like this, and I don't want to do it again. 

I thought I had a shipper and a backup in Maplewood, but they both failed. The market is too small given their protectionist laws and small population. Another cousin of mine is in the shipping business in Chile, and he got me someone who is very reliable, but they are in the business of shipping natural resources and industrial products, so that it is taking time to get them to me, as the work is being reassigned to various individuals. 

The quotes are all over the place, so it becomes an issue of reliability.  Yes, they will move my stuff for $3,000, but in what shape will it arrive?  I don't know.  I am going to look today into the warrantees and insurance, the likelihood that something could be damaged.  Floor lamps could get damaged, no crystal is being shipped.  I will do that today, after I go to the USDA in Trenton to get the papers from the vet certified. 

Copihue wrote "The wrist is swelling from the extra work."

Compression socks help with swollen feet/legs.  Do they make compression gloves for swollen wrists and if so would that work for you?  If this is a possible quick fix, you might want to ask your doctor/therapist about this approach and whether it would be advisable in your case. 

There are compression gloves for knitters, IIRC. That might work. Or even a simple ace bandage or elastic brace. I'm fairly certain they make them for wrists, although you need to be careful about size. Too loose and it won't help. Too tight and it will cut off circulation.

So the airline is willing to take the dogs? I thought there was some doubt since they are pit mixes  

I may not be able to go, because Dr. Johnson from Valley Vet Hospital changed the animal identification of Rachel from vizsla mix to terrier/mix.  She did this without telling me.  When I saw Dr. Stack a month ago I explained the problem with the airline, that I  would not go without the dogs, and he said that he would write mixed breed.  I spoke to the airline, and they said "a mix of what?"  When I returned on Monday I said that the certificate needed to say Vizsla mix.  She wrote that on the certificate.

This morning when I took the paperwork to the USDA to have it certified, there were four errors:  (1) she did not include the rabbis vaccination records, (2) she didn't do the panacur treatment at all, (3) she failed to give the Frontline and the heartworm meds to the dogs instead of selling me the products and leaving it up to me to give it to her, and (4) she also failed to translate the records as required in the USDA instructions.  That was four errors that needed to be corrected. I had to drive back to Maplewood, bring the dogs to her, and the paperwork had to be redone.  In doing so, she changed the classification from vizsla mix to terrier mix.  She did not inform me that she did that, instead I discovered it tonight at 5 pm. when I returned from a day spent in Trenton trying to address this issue.  Had she had the decency to tell me to my face that she as changing the breed's name, I could have explained the rules of the airline, my discussion with Stack, the consequence of the airline refusing to transport the dog, and I would not have taken the paperwork back to the USDA, because now they are not going to accept a change in the breed classificationafter she made such a big deal about it at the USDA.  I could hear the phone conversation, he was talking about what was wrong with her work, and she was talking about the breed of the dog.  Why did she never speak to me about it if she had such strong feelings?

When I spoke to Stack he said "you are asking me to lie".  No, we have never conducted a genetic test of Rachel, so it is not a lie.  if I knew for a fact that she was a pit mix, then it would be a lie.  We don't know what she is, we are all guessing.

Dr. Johnson of Valley Veterinary has caused me great harm, and I want to shout it from the roof of my home for everyone to hear. 

Oops. And I take it that this classification has gone to the authorities? It's too late to talk directly to Dr. Stack about changing the ID back to something you can move with? I'm sorry... that must be a terrible blow. LOL

Valley Vet charged me $94 for a three-month supply of Frontline Plus, you can get the same product online at 800-PetMeds for $74.98, except that it is not a three month supply, it is a SIX month supply.  You do the math, that is two-and-a-half times more expensive for the exact same medication.

At this point I can go to the airport and hope that they will transport her.  But if they don't? I will be without a home in Maplewood, a rental in Reñaca for a year, my furniture on its way to Chile, and I am in the airport with two dogs.  All that because Dr. Johnson wanted to be accurate about her guess of the breed.  I wish she had been as careful when it was time to read the requirements for the USDA certification, then I would not have had to return to Trenton with a certificate that called Rachel a terrier mix.

If they ask what kind of terrier, you could try telling them she's probably a Patterdale terrier mix and show them a photo:

Sorry about what you've been going through.  

Early in the planning stages I called American Airlines, and we discussed bringing the dogs.  Because of their rule about not transporting dogs when the temperature in any of the places where the plane stops is 85 degrees or higher, and given the American Airlines plane stops in Miami where it was already 85 degrees a month ago in the middle of the day, the time when the temp would be measured, the person in the reservations line said to me:  "go with LANChile which has a non-stop flight."  I explained to the reservations agent their policy about American Pitbulls, and she said "get a vet to say that they aren't pitbulls, call them anything else, but don't say I told you so."  So that is what I did.  I figured that is how people were getting around this unreasonable rule which is about prejudice and not much else.  So I went to see Stack, told him my story, and he said "we'll call her a mixed breed."  Now he says that he never agreed to call her a vizsla.  The conversation was in a context, and what was done was in contradiction with the problem that was presented and the proposed solution.  I thought I had found a way to do it, and the person who would help me, so I went ahead with my plans.

This complication wasn't unexpected.  You did the best you could under the circumstances but at least Dr. Johnson did not write that Rachel is a pitbull or a pitbull mix.  There are many kinds of terriers and Rachel does not look anything like what most persons think pitbulls look like.  If it were me, I would go to the airport with the dogs as planned and see what happens.  Chances are there will be no problems.   

Great advise, Joan. 

When I was a child my elementary school had it in it for me.  I was two years younger than everyone in my class, I was the only child who saw nothing but opportunity for play with my classmates in school -- an attitude that served me well in grad school --, and one day I was kicked out of school.  I remember it well.  My mom said:  wait until all the kids are in class, walk in, and sit down in your assigned seat.  It's what I did, and they never kicked me out of school again.

I will walk in to LANCargo on Monday with my dogs in hand, and if they say something about Rachel being an American Pitbull, I will ask them to prove to me that she is not in fact a Patterdale terrier and vizsla mix.

Crossing my fingers for you!

It went just as I planned, sort of.  My limo driver said that he knew where LANCargo was located, except that he didn’t; he spoke limited English, I speak no Chinese, so communicating while lost was challenging.  But he had such a nice attitude, that it was mostly fun. 

LANCargo is a huge warehouse, and the men knew that I was transporting pitbulls; many came to see the “patterdale terrier” and “lab” in their cages, but they made no comments.  The office folks only wanted to see paperwork and cash.  My agent never asked any questions about the dog breed; he saw  the dog when the process was completed, and he didn’t look as if he cared much about their breed.  The paper was flawless which was not the case for other dog owners I met these past 24 hrs., one person never got to board the plane and the other was in tears.

Rachel was not happy to have visitors while in the warehouse, and she barked.  She has a very loud bark, and it sounds even louder in a very large warehouse.  I went to see her, and she stopped.  She was scared, and so was Jake.  I told them how much I loved them, that we would see each other in Santiago, and she was comforted.  With that I tied the crate shut with a second set of ties, secured their name tags onto the crate, added all their contact info on a label on top of their crates, attached their air weighbill to the side of the crate, their food, and  the office warehouseman slapped their flight info on the crate.  With that I quickly left to catch my flight which I nearly missed. 

As I write this they are below me fast asleep, I hope, after a very trying day for all of us.  Rachel will miss Maplewood more than Jake and I together.  The house was her kingdom, and I hope that she will be happy in her new kingdom.

Wow!  Bon voyage!  It's hard to believe that you won't be seen walking those doggies around the neighborhood anymore.  Safe travels...

Safe travel, and safe landings!  Hope your reunion will be joyous and soon!

(Can you visit them in quarantine?)

Good luck and best wishes to you and "the whole family."

I wish all of you happy travels, Veronica. I'll remember you and Rachel and Jake. Jake is a big sweetheart.

Good luck, Copihue.  As I drove by your old home today it looked lonely and I hoped that all had gone well with the start of your journey.

Oh, my goodness. You are probably in the air by now, so you won't see this until you land. But I wish you and the fur babies a blissful, serene transition to your new life in Chile! So exciting. Happy landings!!!

So glad you and the dogs made it safely to your new home.  Please let us know how things go once you have had a chance to rest after what must have been several very stressful weeks.  

The pups were nineteen hours in transit, and when the Chilean vet went to check them before I could secure their release, he reported them as healthy but “decaidos”.  The process of obtaining their release was like a scavenger hunt with a timer.  Partial instructions, a secure area where the car could not be driven, and buildings at large distances from each other with no maps to guide the search; it took 4.5 hrs. to get clearance from customs and the veterinarian; of course drayage was charged by the minute, so disincentives are built into the system. 

It took the pups a while to understand that the ordeal was over, that I was there to secure their release, but it didn’t take them long to be totally accepting of the situation and to forget the ordeal. 

They love their new house, Rachel loves to sun in the terrace and watch people and cars walk and drive by.  This morning we took a long walk along the beach, where it was difficult for me to believe that it is late fall, and I am in a t-shirt watching surfers take advantage of a nearby storm.  A few minutes ago I saw the first hummingbird I have ever seen live helping himself of the nectar in my flowering rose of sharon bush.  My mother left this place to find work, but no one seems to be leaving these days; there are infrastructure projects all around me.

I am SO glad you and the dogs got there in good shape and that you are all settling into your new life there. Hooray!

Oh Copihue, I am so happy for you !!!

You are safe and where you wanted to be ...I know that you will find it yours again 

Copihue! I'm so relieved for you to have arrived safe and sound and THANK YOU for posting pix of your dogs reuniting with you. They are the cherry on top of the ice cream! I hope you reinvent your life to be the one you are seeking, and I wish you only the best as you bravely venture forth!

Hard to believe you will noit be here strolling with the dogs. Enjoy walking them on the beach instead, a wonderful exchange if you ask me! 

I have been away from this thread for a bit and when I read it this morning, I almost cried for the ordeal you endured.  I am so sorry for that.  But then, when I saw the ending and the pictures, I almost cried for joy.  I felt like I was reading" the synopsis of a Hallmark Movie, and I thank you for sharing how perseverance and your love for those animals prevailed.  I think you should write all this down as a short story and send it to Matters Magazine.

I will miss you in this township.  But I know you are HOME (and I wish I were at the beach with you and your children!).  

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