The perils of staying warm in Chile

It’s cold today, folks. Well, the high is 41 (degrees Fahrenheit) for today, which is notably colder than the highs of 60s that we had last week. Everyone from Vermont (or other similar northern states) is thinking, “That girl’s gone soft! I wear shorts in 41 degree weather!” But before you judge, remember that in Chile THERE IS NO HEAT. So if it’s 41 degrees outside, it’s not much warmer than that inside. Brrrrrrr.

Due to this lack of heat, Chileans have various methods of staying warm. Some have (illegal) wood stoves whose ashes cause the garbage to ignite. Some use gas space heaters like this one:
While others use the Toyotomi, which runs of paraffin and is supposedly the best.

And at night, to warm up the bed, people either use the low tech but highly effective guatero (hot water bottle) or a scaldosono which is like a gigantic electric heating pad that goes between your bed and the sheets.

In my bedroom I have a gas stove and a scaldosono, which do a lovely job of keeping me warm. However, they also require me to remember TO SHUT THEM OFF. Scary. I only left the pilot light of the stove on once and luckily Ita came up to drop off some clothes, noticed, and turned it off.

I rarely use my scaldosono because I figure I’m getting into bed with five blankets on top of me and I’ll warm up soon enough. But last night was really cold, so I turned it on a few minutes before getting into bed. My plan was to watch TV for a bit, then shut it off and go to bed.

However, I fell asleep watching TV and somehow in my half asleep state managed to turn the TV off. A few hours later though, I woke up sweating buckets. I had no idea why I was so hot. Then I remembered. The scaldosono!

So that’s how yesterday’s firewoman almost turned into a firestarter. I tell you, it’s dangerous staying warm here in Chile.


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