Chile: Puerto Montt

September 18th, 2006

We arrived to this city in the late evening in the dark and were shocked at how dirty and run-down the city was in comparison to what we had seen so far. We hoped that by daylight the place would look at least a little better.
In the morning we awoke to a city of fog, cold, run-down buildings, graffiti, stray dogs, homelessness and filth.

The photos attached show the “nice” part of the city, towards the plaza, it didn’t look safe enough to take out my camera anywhere else. The hideous brown “greek” imitation building is, believe it or not, the town’s cathedral built to replace the one that collapsed in the 1960 earthquake along with most buildings in the country.
To the other side of the city is Angelmó, supposedly the nice part. Here is also dirty as it is on the docks and is crammed full of tacky products labeled as Artisan.

It was from here decided to leave that day for somewhere more interesting. We called in at the Navimag offices to buy a ticket somewhere south. Navimag is a ferry company who run boats up and down the coast which turns into a string of islands. The offices were not busy at all, we walked in and were the only two customers. After waiting for the two women at the desk to finish their conversation they found time to ask us what we wanted and what we were doing here. We asked to buy a ticket to Chaitén and from there to Quellón in the south of the island in Chiloé. The woman wasn’t very keen to sell us one here and now (she was busy, you see). On insisting she told us that no such route (one of their main routes according to the information we had) existed. We were told to go to look for buses and be on our way.

Yes, Chilean customer service is the worst of anywhere I have been. This wasn’t the worst of it. In most restaurants we had to ask the waiter to bring us a menu after waiting for ten minutes – this is often met by and appology or a surprised look, and a further 5 minute wait for him to return.

The few photos attached here show the nice parts of the city and try to show its good side.

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