Traumatic Day in Chile: Part 1

Sunny blue sky and warm weather. What more could I ask for upon our arrival to Santiago, Chile? I suppose I should’ve asked for what NOT to have: muggings, dog attacks, earthquakes… Alas, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.


Our first day out in Chile, we gleefully packed our backpack and headed out to explore the city. It was quite crowded, but that was to be expected in the heart of downtown Santiago.

What we did not expect was the piercing scream heard through the usual cacophony of hustling street vendors and gawking tourists.

I froze, worried that if we moved, we’d be going towards, instead of away, from danger.

A handful of guys shoved past us, running away holding what I now know were stolen bags.

A moment later, the crowd parted in front of us, revealing an elderly lady bawling on the sidewalk just a few feet in front of us. The attackers had stolen her purse, taken her jewelry, and shoved her to the ground.

A woman nearby had caught one of the attackers and was trying to get back the woman’s necklace that he had ripped off of her. The other attackers had looked older (or at least taller), but what struck me about this one is that he didn’t look a day over twelve.

Luckily, the poor lady seemed to be relatively okay physically, but I can only imagine the pain and anger she felt internally.

It’s one thing to read about crime in big cities, but seeing it in person really knocks the naiveté right out of you. We counted our blessings that it didn’t happen to us (of course, we wouldn’t wish harm on anyone else either), and decided to go back to our apartment to take our little dog for a walk.

Little did we know, the day had other surprises waiting for us…

This story was getting a bit long, so check out Part 2 in Dogs in Santiago: The Good, The Bad and The Scary.

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