Culture Shock Chile: 5 Things You Won’t Find In The United States

This is more of a Latin American product rather than a product of Chile but I think this is hysterical.   If you are not from the United States then you have to see who Mr. Clean is.  This is as big of a stereotype that I have ever seen; a strong broad shouldered, big chested, nice thick head of hair, young man running to your aid.  Compare that to the stereotype of the United States version, Mr. Clean; old and bald. Classic.

Milk comes in 1 liter (.26 gallons) boxes instead of bottles, in both Argentina and Canada you will find milk in a bag!  (Check it out here).  But the most important thing is they do not refrigerate the eggs or the milk? Bacteria anyone?

pictures of subway cars, subway in chile

Subway Cars with tires? What the heck!

At the grocery store, for both fruits and bread, they weigh your product and place the price tag on it before you pay for all your items.  Being the most efficient country in South America there is still a hint of inefficiency.  On a side note, all that delicious fruit that you buy in the states that is from Chile cannot be found in the country because they ship out the best fruit.

I haven’t traveled on buses very much in the United States because you can find other modes of transportation that are cheaper.  I also detest greyhound because of their old buses and lack of customer service (read my review here).  I have taken them in both Canada and the United States and its not a comfortable ride.  In South America; specifically Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, they have plush double decker buses.  These buses have seats that recline into beds with curtains for privacy, decent food, and even entertainment.  Business opportunity people!


  1. When I was in Chile / Argentina for a few months, I used to love getting on those buses. The comfort was so great that I would normally sleep the entire journey without even being able to look out the window like I wanted. Then they would provide some alfajores cookies, that were also wonderful!

  2. FYI, the process to treat the milk shown in this picture is called Ultra-high-temperature processing or UHT. According to wikipedia “UHT milk was invented in the 1960s, and became generally available for consumption in the 1970s”, and it must be so because I first saw UHT milk in Switzerland in 1979 (note that: Switzerland; I imagine they must know something about treating dairy products). At present, you can find UHT milk in bags too, not only in cartons. As for eggs, usually people cook them, so that would kill any bacteria present.

  3.  Thanks Tatiana for explaining the milk treatment, but let me add that the packaging is made from a special material totally hermetic. In Argentina we have those too. It’s not that we drink rotten milk or something…

  4. Not sure I would consider any of this a culture shock 🙂 The train wheels are pretty funny, can’t say I’ve ever seen that before; but the other things are fairly common around the world.

    The fruit/vege guy is not inefficient. In fact, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been delayed at the checkout by someone buying a fruit/vege that is not in the system and having to wait for them to sort it out. I would like to see this, even if self-serve, in Australia – saves time at the checkout for those who aren’t buying fresh produce. Here in Ukraine, this is the norm; thankfully.

    Eggs and Milk – you haven’t seen this before? Even in Australia our eggs sit on shelves, not in fridges. Someone already explained about the milk; but it doesn’t go bad, because, well, they heat anything that could go bad, until it disappears. That milk is truly terrible stuff 🙂

    1. I actually saw the mile and eggs for the first time when I arrived in Argentina.. its extremely common in all of South America but haven’t seen that in Northern American at all. I actually love the milk in Argentina.. they add an extra chemical to it that makes it taste different.. delicious in my opinion! Thanks for the comment Trent

  5. Thanks for the info about the buses. I have been wanting to go to Chile, and Argentina for a long time, but the tours and cruises are so expensive, as are the flights. Even from Tampa and Miami they are quite expensive! Is it safe and or expensive to travel with the buses around those countries… I know distances are quite far. I especially want to see Buenos Aires,the Lake Country, Patagonia and the Atacama Desert. Thanks.

  6. I used to speak more Spanish but have gotten rusty over the years of not using it. I am starting a class next week to improve so I can converse better when traveling. Do many people speak English in Chile and Argentina, and how difficult would it be to travel without a good command of Spanish…

    1. It wouldn’t be the most difficult thing in the world but to interact with locals you really only need to speak conversational Spanish. Not that many people speak English in Chile & Argentina.

  7. The milk is like that everywhere in Central America as well. I bet, if you look, you’ll even notice that your local grocery store has it. Ours does – I used to buy the juice box size ones for air travel with my son who would only drink milk. Our culture shock there last month was a widespread ad campaign running in the subway stations & on billboards featuring a person with a bottom for a face – “Cambio su cara!” Apparently telling Chileans to change their attitudes. Hilarious with 6 & 8-year-old boys in tow.

  8. I have no idea what you’re talking about with the veggies/fruits being expensive and not tasty here… the veggies and fruits are half the price or at least cheaper at the supermercado but at la vega or feria, much, much cheaper. And most other countries keep eggs on the shelf, and then for milk, I think it’s something to do with how it’s sealed. No one gets sick all the time, so it must be fine!

    1. Thanks for the comment Samantha but I used to buy veggies all the time in United States and it was all from Chile and was in much better condition than any of the fruit and veggies I found locally in Chile.

  9. I was surprised that when I told people in my office in another geography that I wash rice before cooking, they found it incomprehensibly unnecessary. All places have different customs and we all differ in tiny ways and exploring that is the best part of traveling.

    By the way, the thing about Tetra packs is that they don’t need to refrigerated if not open and not all countries are as huge and widespread as your country making buses a useful mode of transportation. You will find two level buses in most geographies.

  10. Good points! I always argue with my friends from the US about the milk. We have shitty non fresh milk in big cities in SA plus a big media campaign saying “milk is healthy”! **There’s some “efficient” grocery stores who weight the veggies when you pay 😉

  11. I found your blog on google, because I wanted to explain to some europeans friends about our chilean-spanish “dialect”, found some really funny stuff, but there’s some stuff, that seems that you don´t know.

    The milk in Chile use UTH pasteurization, that is the same system as regular pasteurzation but higher temperature and also because we mainly use tetrapack, packaging that meanwhile the milk is not open, the milk will last at least 6 months without refrigeration….and about the eggs, it is because in the States, on the production line, the eggs are wahsed, removing the natural protection of the egg and if it doesn´t have any crack on it, it will be safe.

    But anyways, I like to read about the apreciation fo foreigners about my country, because sometimes they realize some stuff that we don´t get….and while I was leaving abroad, sometimes is really hard to explain my culture, because we are a messy culture, with a messy language… but I love everything about it hahhaah….. and BTW the taste of the fruit will depend ond where did you buy it, try not to buy on supermarket, go to the streetsmarket to buy it……taste tons times better…….

  12. Hi,
    A couple of explanations:
    1. Milk in Chile is usually pasteurized using a different method than the one in the US. The method employed in Chile heats the milk way beyond what is needed in order to sterilise it. The result of that process produces milk called “larga vida” (long life), which keeps the milk drinkable for months as long as it remains in its sealed package. Regardless of the temperature.
    2. The tires on subways allow them to run on different surfaces. If you want a pure steel wheel you can ride the metro in Valparaiso 🙂

  13. Hi, I found your post through my Twitter feed.

    The milk thing have been already explained ahahaha. On the country yard, in small towns you usually will found non processed milk which have to be consumed as soon as possible or refrigerated, buy even in those places you will also find milk packed on tetrapack and processed by UTH. You may also find milk in bottles but that’s kind of a special vintage or collector’s edition package and it’s not usually easy to find.

    On the subway thing, the tires are only in use on the oldest lines. Red and yellow lines were opened 40 years ago and green line 20 years ago. Back then it was really expensive to built the subway for the country so those lines are not so deep on the ground. The tires are cheaper on the initial stage and produce less vibration and noise when the train runs, which was a real concern for the people living in the surface where the lines were build.

    Nowadays the subway on Santiago use iron wheels on all the new lines built since 2000. Actually, they are building 2 new lines which will be on service on 2018, and all of those are really deep because of the use of the NATM method for tunneling, so the noise is no longer an issue. The same goes for the subway on Valparaiso.

    And that cleaning product is Latin American, but I really don’t know from where the brand’s image come, but it’s not a popular product on Chile.


  14. I don’t understand what you mean by the veggie’s guy being inefficient. What’s the system in your country then? Weighing them when you pay? Wouldn’t that be way more inefficient?

    1. You bag the veggies and you pay all at once at the end when you pay for all of your groceries. You don’t have to step into a completely different line to just get the information on the veggies. Two separate lines is inefficient. One is more efficient.

  15. Hello Guys, I’am from Chile, living in Canada, I have been in some places in Europe and USA, mostly studying and working. I could say that this blog is most the point of view of the creator, and I am just writing here, because I am not agree with some comments.

    To Marcello: You should remember that when you are in other country that is not your home land you should adapt and respect. I could say that your background doesn’t support you, according with your comments, and I understand that, I am not judging you, just saying that you need to learn a little more about diversity and behaviors. Do you know the word Ethnocentrism?
    Please, for the next time, remember that you are a human living with humans in the earth planet, nothing more, buddy.

    1. I’m not trying to offend anyone…. and if you see there are some Chileans that have agreed with me. I just give my observations. You sir are taking things too seriously as most of these comments were meant as a joke.

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