This little guy in the two photos above followed me all the way up Maunga Terevaka (tallest point of Rapa Nui), so I gave him a bit of my sandwich and some belly rubs for the road!
As you all know from my last post, Chile is amazing! One of the most unique parts of this major country is how they treat and interact with dogs. Many dogs, with an owner or not, run freely from leashes & restraints, and the locals take great care of them. At least one park even has dog houses! Even more surprising is the lack of poop on the streets. While there is definitely some, it is not as much as one would expect for country full of liberated puppies.
This furry friend was hanging around the top of Cerro San Cristóbal--more heavy petting… haha!
Found this one lying under the bench at the hostel. I don’t think he was feeling too well, so I let him enjoy his quiet place to rest.
The dogs (los perros) also know how to use the crosswalks--often waiting for the light or other people to start crossing. While I have never seen it for myself, some say they even know how to use the buses (likely a joke but, I wouldn’t doubt it given their knowledgeable use of crosswalks).
A happy face at a empañada shop near Cajón del Maipu.
Same place as above, but this happy guy had a lot less energy on such a hot day.
As for food, the dogs don’t seem to be underfed or even overfed for that matter. One night at a bar, a dog came to our table and laid down underneath it. I thought it would be a good time to try to make a friend and gave it a french fry (papa frita). The dog sniffed it and then turned its head away, as if it knew how bad fritas are. I couldn’t help but laugh. As humans we eat and drink some really terrible things, and the dogs here know it. I think my dog (Sheila) would have gobbled it up before thinking twice, but just like people, when terrible food is always around and easy to get, it loses it luster.
Found these three amigos outside a market in Santiago. Doggy friendship runs deep!
Not all dogs are pretty, as this little dopey dog proves. He seems happy all the same!
Beyond that, the dogs of here make for some pretty great friends while exploring the city or less beaten path. I have found that when you give them a little attention they will often walk or run next to you for blocks or even miles. But in the end they eventually wander off in true doggie fashion.
On a really warm day in Cajón del Maipu, the pups in the above few photos decided a siesta was needed. I wished I could do the same... Mucho Calor!
So… how did this country full of puppy dreams happen? As the story goes, at least for Santiago, at one point the city tried to round up the stray dogs, much as the US does today. However, this didn’t work like they thought it would. People here love their furry friends so much, that they started chastising the dog catchers, and eventually the city stopped trying to round them up after all the fuss.
A happy little street beggar in Santiago!
While not the best photo, it certainly catches all the puppy action on the streets. Gotta mark that spot… and that one over there! Oh wait! That place too!
As for controlling the puppy population in Santiago, they provide a service to spay and neuter them. However, I found plenty of them still had cojones, and each was just as friendly as the next.
Taking a morning stroll… I wonder where he’s going.
Need more sleep!
And maybe some more...
The friendly dogs of Chile are a truly unique part of life here. After all, dogs didn’t ask to be bred or turned into our captives… They were bred to live, help, and work alongside us. In the US, we have seemingly forgotten this. Often fearing others pets and getting our panties in a bunch every time we see a dog off leash. I believe we could learn a lot from our neighbors to the south by bringing back a culture of acceptance for our intelligent pals on all fours. To incorporate them back into society as our allies, friends, amigos, and helpers--all while being the liberated puppies I’ve come to adore!
And finally, I had to include a snap of my dear Sheila. She made such a huge impact on my life, and I miss her dearly! Mi Amor!
In 2015, the U S spent an estimated $791.6 billion (excluding tobacco) on pills, powders, crystals, booze, and the like. That’s almost $2,460 per person! That figure also includes prescription, over the counter, and vitamins as drugs. By definition they all meet the criteria of causing physiological effects, and they are just as likely to be abused. Yet we are sold on the idea that we need them--but who fucking cares! Drugs, like any commodity, are driven by demand and supply, through legal or illegal means--it’s a matter of finding the right price. In the US, we love our drugs! The only real consideration, is how to effectively manage their use/abuse through education, acceptance, and proper scientific research!
2015, US Drug spending in USD Billions:
*Global estimate from 2010. No other figure could be found… I wonder why!
Drug use in America is taboo as fuck--often justified for some addicts and vilified for others--many abusers overlook their own abuse, only to point fingers at others for theirs. Take food for instance. And yes, by definition food is a drug. The US spent $1,511.6 billion on food in 2015--time spent on any household gardens not included. Americans spent almost twice what we spent on “drugs” on food, yet deaths caused by obesity was over 6x higher than it’s dangerous counterpart--300,000 to 46,471, in 2013 (most recent data year). Just like the missing teeth of a meth user, obesity is an easily identifiable problem with a drug. I realize everyone has to eat food to survive, while the “drugs” are only used the same way by a smaller percentage of the population, but there is still plenty of data how much we love abuse both in the US. The truly sad part is, in today’s media driven fear mongering, it’s even easier to shame those that have real and potentially dangerous addiction instead of expressing empathy, understanding, compassion, acceptance, and help. Which is where some go wrong, though I admittedly don’t have all the answers to addiction.
Drugs Are Here to Stay
People use drugs for many reasons. Some need them to survive, while others use them recreationally… But who are we to judge, as long as they aren’t a danger to themselves or others. If we could all be more open about our drug use, their would be less taboo and hiding ourselves, and more discussion, education, and acceptance. But to ban something completely is to turn a blind eye to the harsh reality of drug use in our society. Prostitution is still a thing in the US too! And despite it being illegal, prostitutes can be found almost everywhere. Thing is, people like getting fucked up, numbing, and sell themselves on the idea that a drug can make all the difference. Cheers! You social drinkers, and body builders… you do you!
The fact remains, where there is demand, there will always be supply--though the price will vary with the inherent risks of providing the goods. So there will never be a way to stop their use within our borders, and people in our borders are creating new drugs all the time. In my view, there is no way to completely rid ourselves of drugs without allowing the government to completely police us. No one wants that!
Much Ado About Drugs?
Law enforcement spends about $100 billion a year combating America's drug problem, with $35 billion going directly to enforcement. However, despite their legal status, those wanting to get high are largely already doing so. I personally advocate for full legalization of drugs for the following reasons--many of which can be found in an abstract from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, or at druglibrary.org.
Legalization could save anywhere from $50-$150 billion a year if we consider the resources spent of suppression activities
And here are some of the potential negatives associated with full legalization.
Drugs Are Fun!
Americans love drugs! Drugs are fun, dangerous, helpful, damaging, crazy and insightful. Some allow us to view life through their unique filter, providing insight to ourselves, others, and experiences, while others help us socialize, stay awake, and dance our hearts out at music festivals (one of my personal favorites). As a society, we will always have a drug problem. Who doesn’t want to feel amazing, beautiful and godly! And now that we know we have a drug problem, let’s think intelligently and responsibly about drugs as a society... instead of continuing to overpay, penalize, control, and destabilize people and other countries by insisting that we can’t regulate ourselves. Legal drugs can be a thing. We just have to start educating, accepting, and researching drugs without all the red tape.
I love being naked! From the nude beaches of San Francisco to naked bike rides in Portland, I take every chance I can to free my cheeks or wear my loincloth. But it wasn’t always this way. I grew up in a conservative religion where modesty was taught to keep us from having impure thoughts about others--leading to premarital sex, drugs, rock & roll, Hell, and the Devil. Sounded fun! So, i gave up religion at the age of 15. Since then, I have started questioning many of the seemingly senseless religious and societal norms in favor of my own personal experiences--nudity being one of my personal favorites!
Despite religion’s best efforts to convince me, public nudity didn’t make me some raging horndog, nor did it give me instantaneous sexual thoughts about others. Instead it simplified the situation. “Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.” A quote made famous by Kindergarten Cop, 1990, said it so perfectly! Nudity is only as sexual as we make it. Otherwise, these places would be giant orgies--not bad in my book--I assure you they weren’t. Instead, I found excitement in my right to get naked during in this day and age. It was freeing to exercise my right as a human, and in numbers felt removed from the puritanical judgement one would normally expect. It didn’t matter what I or anyone else looked like, we all have flaws, and fat, and parts. Old, new, small, big, firm, saggy… It was all there! It was good to look at and be looked at, in our most basic and humbling form--our birthday suits.
What Can Public Nudity Teach Us?
Maybe it was the honest nature of seeing others in their skin, or maybe it was sense of vulnerability from someone seeing my flaws, only to share theirs in return, but it was real, and genuine, and my experiences taught me a thing or two about respect for others.
Public nudity is a great lesson on embracing vulnerability. Everyone feels vulnerable at one time or another--but when we are surrounded by vulnerability, yet vulnerable ourselves, we often find something so much more--connection and acceptance! When there is nothing to hide behind, we embrace each other as we are, and for who we are--It is nothing short of amazing!
Riding a bike in Portland is already vulnerable enough while wearing clothes. Now take off those protective layers, add thousands of other naked bike riders, and you have a very vulnerable situation for more than one reason. I can see why so many of my friends wouldn’t even consider it. But once there, the excitement and energy of everyone sharing the same vulnerabilities hits you. You look around. People are smiling, dancing, and meeting new and old friends alike. That’s the moment I realized I was a part of something special, a community of support that knows how to have a good time! As the parade started, I soon realized the crowd was as supportive as the riders themselves! I have never given more high-fives from random strangers on a bike before. Naked high-fives are the best high-fives!
Public nudity can teach us a lot about respect when it comes to others rights and life choices. To bare all, say all, or nothing at all--in an open and free way is to show vulnerability. Out of respect, we should allow others their liberties without need for comment, approach, touch, or judgment. It takes courage to show yourself to the world with all of your flaws. And it’s something I didn’t truly understand until I did it.
My lessons in respect came quickly when approached by an unsolicited guest at Baker Beach. As I laid there in all my glory, an elderly “man-imal”, cock out, shirt on, walked right up and said. “Nice small cock”. He then quickly corrected himself with, “I meant nice cock”. He then asked me if I was fishing… After a few more lines of small talk, he proceed to ask for a photo of my erect penis--I politely declined and dismissed him from further conversation. He was clearly only interested in his own perverted plans, and not respecting others rights to be there. Another lesson in respect came when women started slapping my ass and cat calling me at music festivals. Yes, I was wearing a loincloth, but I still wasn’t asking for it. I can handle the calling, but I completely get why women don’t like to be touched by random people, it is violating. Oh, the irony… But instead of getting angry, I often play into it, making it into a joke or as a way to make conversation.
Lastly, it is important to remember that clothing has its time and place. clothes keep us warm in cold weather, the sun off us during the day, and provide an opportunity for us to express ourselves (business suits are still archaic bullshit IMHO). But we shouldn’t let clothing define or hide the person inside! We shouldn't be afraid to show our vulnerability, and we should always remember to respect others rights without need to criticize or comment. For those out there that haven’t tried public nudity, I say try it once. It just might teach you something about yourself. In the right setting and with the right crowd, you might just let go of who you are for a moment and embrace the beauty of what it is to simply be naked and free.