On our last day in Santiago, Chile, I found myself doing after-Christmas bargain shopping with my wife-like it was going out of style. What could we have had to get in Santiago that we couldn't have gotten in the States?

First, I needed a new dress shirt, since the only one I brought with me attempted to remain white in the spin cycle with a blue pen-my white shirt lost. If I didn't get a new shirt, I would have had to wear my tie on a tee-shirt from Easter Island. My school's faculty dress code would have frowned upon that casual South Pacific island look.

Next, we are building a new house back in the States and need to purchase window treatments. My wife, who has a flair for artsy pizzazz, who is even more of an artistic risk-taker, likes to use unusual things in place of the usual. For example, in French Polynesia, the locals wear pareos, which are rectangular pieces of material that measure approximately four by six feet. Both men and women wear these wraps over clothing or by themselves. My wife thought that I would be a knock out in a nice floral pareo. While I'm pretty secure with my masculinity, she lost her effort dressing my in an androgynous Tahitian look!

Having failed in her initial attempt at her artistic daring do, she came up with a more workable and practical idea. She proposed sewing a couple of pareos together and using them as a splash of color in our master and guest bedrooms. Within the hour, we had bought a dozen pareos for window treatments, bed throws, and a couple of accent pillows for both rooms. Adorning windows with pareos was an easier sell than cross-dressing me in one.

It should be noted that she had already bought over a dozen and a half of these pareos from Tahiti as souvenirs for our friends back home. Now, all that she has to do is to explain to people who don't naturally use pareos how to use them as dress or for home decorating.

The other justification for our purchases was that they were on sale. Well, having spent a king's ransom for meal and lodging in French Polynesia, it was nice that a Santiago mall was having an after-Christmas clearance and also was speaking our monetary language-Scottish.

We did all of our shopping in one store, Almacenes Paris. It anchors one end of a huge mall in Los Condos just north of Santiago. This mall would rival any one in the States. Having made our purchase of a shirt and pareos, I knew that we needed to get my wife out of that store ASAP after she repeatedly said that she really liked this store. The last time I heard that type of emotion in her voice was when she told me that she loved me.

My advice to those of you that might find yourself in Santiago, limit your time in Almacenes Paris. It is too tempting for the average American-especially during their after-Christmas sales.