Something I’ve noticed about Chileans is how they looooooove their datos. Literally, data, or information, un dato is basically a referral. For example, if you need to go to the dentist, you can ask someone if they have a dato about a good dentist. This goes for anything, literally. From where to get a good cup of coffee to what colegio to send your kids too. If you don’t believe me, you should come listen to the teacher’s lounge at the Institute some night around 6:30pm, right before evening classes start. Datos fly through the room, from where to buy cute baby clothes to good websites to use for class.

Yesterday my new boss and I ordered sushi. Of course we asked L., who works in the office across the hall, for the menu of the sushi place she had ordered from yesterday. No way could we order from just any sushi place, we had to have a dato first. It was a good dato, I have to admit!

It would be interesting to do some sort of market study (I’m looking at you, Andrea) to see how much business is generated through the passing of datos versus advertising. I have a hunch that it might take awhile for businesses to get established here, because no one knows about them. It takes a few brave souls to venture in and vouch for the establishment before other people will check it out. Maybe (and I’m just guessing here) that is why foreign companies that have changed the names of businesses, like Home Depot, haven’t succeeded because not enough people ventured in and vouched for them. Whereas everyone knows WalMart owns part of Lider, but I doubt Lider has suffered because of that.

Anyway, living here for as long as I have, I’ve totally jumped on the dato bandwagon. I love giving and recieving datos. Luckily, I’m also pretty adventurous so I like to check out new things and then start giving out the dato, like to a cute little café that I went to near the Starbucks on Ricardo Lyon (behind Paris) that has delicious lattes. A fellow teacher, who happens to be Chilean, is going on vacation to Montreál, and I happily gave her a few datos about things to do while she was there. She was tickled pink and eagerly wrote them all down. Another teacher, who is not Chilean, asked her why she was writing them down when she could easily look up things to do on the internet. She replied that it’s better to do things that people know are good and fun, versus trusting a stranger’s opinion.

So, got any good datos to share?


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