Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eat your heart out, Jalopnik: Chile's unique Studebaker museum

After finally getting sick and tired of listening to various people in Santiago go on and on about how misunderstood Pincohet had been and how this new guy Pinera hadn't actually supported Pincochet at all even though his brother had been one of Pinochet's original "Chicago Boys," I decided to head south and visit Patagonia and the Chilean Andes instead. The Chilean Andes are wonderful! Being here is just like visiting Switzerland. They have mountains and German-speakers and alpine meadows and wooden chalets and lots and lots of dairy cattle. I kept expecting to see young Heidi to jump out from behind the edelweiss at any minute.

But the biggest surprise of all was that right here in the middle of Little Switzerland, I stumbled across a museum that was devoted mainly to Studebakers. I love Studebakers! I learned to drive on a 1953 Studebaker! This is my kind of place.

The dairy farmer who ran the museum, Bernardo Eggers, gave me a tour of the place. And I pretty much embarrassed myself by gushing all over those cars. They were fine! And here is the video to prove it: is a specialty website out of Alameda, California, that is devoted to displaying old cars. I would imagine that if they hear about this museum, they will probably just jump on the next plane out to Puerto Montt. And as well they should. This museum is a jewel.

PS: From Chilean Patagonia, I took a bus across the Alps, er, I mean the Andes -- over to Bariloche in Argentina. Bariloche is sort of a combination between Yosemite National Park and Fort Lauderdale/Myrtle Beach. It's a beach town located on a Tahoe-sized lake in the middle of a national park. It's got students on summer break and T-shirt stores and the most heart-stopping views of mountains you would ever want to see. And here's a video to prove that too!

But you know what is the really best part about visiting Chile and Argentina? It's WARM here! An American just walked into the bookstore I'm at and announced, "There are 27 inches of snow in Washington DC right now." Good grief. I wish that all of you on the East Coast were here instead. Except of course for "our" Congressional representatives -- they deserve to freeze their bottoms off for not passing a single-payer healthcare bill but going out of their way to hand over an additional 653 billion dollars to their favorite useless wars. Huh?

PPS: If you're not totally burned out by looking at videos yet, here's one that shows some Chilean cowboys corralling a steer by galloping their horses sideways.