Thursday, April 12, 2007

"This isn't exactly Chile . . . "

I'm reluctant to generalize, but it's hard to escape the idea that people here are both fiercely proud of this city and incredibly down on it at the same time.

I am often asked, with utter puzzlement, why I would choose to live here if I am from the United States. Don't even get me started on the ease with which people refer to this as the Third World, or remind me that I am not in the First World.

The last time Starbucks came up among my friends here, someone mentioned that they had stores in Chile and that rumor was they would soon be on this side of the Andes.

Someone raised an eyebrow and pronounced herself skeptical: "This isn't exactly Chile."*

Starbucks made Clarín the other day under the headline "Starbucks backs dulce de leche." Any article about the States automatically has potential to be amusing because it can feel like you're reading dispatches from Mars. Take the new beverage Starbucks has introduced -- please!

The push for this spring is the Dulce de leche Frapuccino, which sells for $4.50 a glass. A true caloric bomb, this star product intends to lend Starbucks Latin American authenticity.

In their search for authentic dulce de leche, Starbucks visited Costa Rica and Gautemala, but, curiously, did not visit South America, cradle of dulce de leche.

So, basically, you're paying 14 pesos a pop for this beverage and Starbucks couldn't even be arsed to provide you with authentic dulce de leche. I mean, let's face it. Costa Rica? A fine place, I am sure. But it isn't exactly Argentina.

* This is the same friend who, when we met up for my birthday the other day, was the first to arrive. While we chatted, she stopped me for a second to ask, "You've been speaking a lot of English lately, haven't you?" I said that I had been. "Mmm. . . I thought so. You sound a little funny." Hey, thanks!


Juan said...

Respecto de la primer parte de tu nota mucha gente piensa que "siempre es más verde el jardín del vecino". Idealizan lo que no conocen y les llama la atención que un extranjero valore lo que ellos no por vivirlo a diario desde que nacieron.
No creo que Starbucks fracase inicialmente aquí pues la curiosidad llevará a mucha gente pero con el correr del tiempo desaparecerá la novedad y volverán a su café acostumbrado. Muy buen el blog.

Dan said...

En cuanto al "jardín del vecino": Tal cual. Es más, seguro que los mismos que me preguntan por qué estoy acá, si fueran a vivir en otro país, echarían de menos cualquier cantidad de cosas de aquí. Creo que somos así casi todos, en realidad.

Gracias por el comentario.