Student Strikes, Pacos and Brews


There are a slew of good beers, made in Chile, that are absolutely lip-smacking. Mestra used to be one of them, until they got popular and their quality went down the pisser. Feeling ever so inspired I sent them this note:

Funeral Dirge for Mestra, a formerly good beer that recently sold out:

Once upon a time you made me so glad.
But sadly, Mestra you now make me sad.
I noticed awhile back your barrels were slipping.
The bottles were fine, still happily sipping.
Today it happened the Scotch Ale went bad.
But no tears for me; another brand shall be had.
I anoint the earth with this poor brew of *”lupulus”,
Cursing those breweries that’ve become so unscrupulous.


and then walked my ass back to the store to return the beer. BTW, lupulus is Spanish for hops, and just rhymes so nicely with unscrupulous.

I figured I’d take advantage of the pre-student strike moment and see what was going on. On my way to the super, the streets were full of pissed off drivers – drivers who have known for over a week now that a march was scheduled for today. Santiago has plenty of trains and buses, taxis and colectivos (“shared” taxis the follow a fairly set route and costs about the same as the bus). My point here is that they’re plaintive car horn whining moves me none. Upon exiting, all the main roads were empty of cars and it felt blissfully like February (a month when everyone vacates the capital for vacation). Making my way through one park past fútbol players and roller-bladers I reached Parque Bustamante. A few students were gathered, but nothing had really started. Just the usual scene; Carabineros, or cops, AKA Pacos everywhere in riot gear that makes them look like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, (which I recently found out is one of their nicknames), the Shell gas station covered over in protective plywood boards, random people with cameras like myself, and of course, vendors. Anywhere you go in this country, I promise you’ll find someone selling something that most people need. Soy burgers anyone? My favorite are the folks who sell halved lemons at the protests. The theory is that sucking on lemons prevents the worst effects of the tear gas. Tear gas blows by the way.

Anyhow, I think I’ll crack a beer open and wait awhile. Maybe head outside and watch the students and pacos (cops) clash or listen to the caserolazos (banging on pots and pans in the street is a form of protest that has been going on here for decades). The cops here have a bad reputation, I think maybe stemming from the dictatorship for most folk. They are considered by many to be stupid pawns of government. I have talked to many of them in the past, and it seems to me that their smart/stupid mix is like any population really. But I don’t have an emotional connection to them. Here are a few pics:



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