Chileans: Cool in the Face of Danger

Our Chilean tour guide, Martín, summed it up perfectly, “I don’t get out of bed for anything less than a 7.5.”

Chileans are the epitome of being calm, cool and collected in the face of danger, specifically earthquakes. This video is the perfect embodiment of just how cool they are:

It’s even part of their government training. Police officers and media personalities are all trained to remain calm and and repeatedly say, “Mantener la calma,” which means “Stay calm.”

I experienced this coolness first-hand.

Let’s go back to that eventful first weekend in Santiago (Part 1 / Part 2)… The day started with a mugging, was followed by a dog attack and culminated in a series of small earthquakes, known as “temblores,” that lasted for hours. That’s right, hours.

Now, I’m from New Orleans, so I only know hurricanes. And with hurricanes, at least you get warnings and have time to prepare. But, oh my lawd, these earthquakes shook the earth and the core of my soul!

I saw my life flash before my eyes as I scooped up my little dog and clung to the doorway with my wife. I was calling on any deity that I thought would listen, just in case.

When the panic subsided, I jumped on Twitter (which has surprisingly become my main source for local news while traveling) expecting an announcement about the apocalypse and the end of our days as we knew them.

Well, was I shocked when I saw no apocalypse warning. Instead, Chileans were tweeting like it was no big thing. They even posted hilarious memes about how nonchalant they are in the face of what I feel is imminent death. These Chileans are in a league of their own.

I was hoping we wouldn’t experience any more earthquakes before we left. However, a couple of nights ago I woke up, startled by the jolt of an earthquake.

I sat calmly in bed, waited to see if there would be more. When nothing happened, I went right back to sleep.

No panic. Just coolness.

In that moment, I felt just a little bit ENA… CHIL-ENA. 


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