Saturday, 11 June 2011
One thing I noticed about Santiago very early on but have consistently forgotten to record, is how dignified their stray dogs are. None of this foaming at the mouth nonsense for these denizens of the street; they sit or lie around very tidily and will often accompany you for a stretch of your walk home, invariably in pairs. You'll be flanked by a couple of canine bodyguards who want nothing more for their efforts than the chance to hang out with a complete stranger for a couple of hundred yards. On a couple of occasions, while I've just been standing around, admiring the view, a brace of Rovers have come up and sat down, one on either side of me, facing the same direction as I. It was as if we were imitating the garden gate of a particularly tacky suburban mansion. I'm also surprised at how healthy they look. True, they have great weather and probably know their way around the restaurant bins of the district, but the point is there's absolutely nothing stray-like about them. A human parallel would be, say, a large group of chartered accountants lying out in the sun or sitting obediently and minding their own business on the edge of pavements. I shall miss them when I leave on Sunday.