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Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

Goodbye Santiago (Part Deux)!

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

For the second time on this trip to South America, it’s time to say goodbye to Santiago. The night bus from Pucón arrived early in the morning at around 7am, and from there I dropped my bags at the Casa Grande Mini Hotel (where Greg, Tiff, and I stayed when we were in Santiago for New Years).

My last day in Santiago consisted of a large walking tour of the city to visit some of my favorite places and explore some new places in the process. First I returned to Parque Metropolitano for the early morning view of the city from top near the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción. After that, I headed to the Central Market for brunch: a seafood feast consisting of the Chilean fish Reineta, mussels, shrimp, etc. I then headed to La Moneda Palace, the seat of Chile’s president. Finally, I returned to visit Marcos at his apartment for a few hours before grabbing my bags and catching a bus to the airport for the flight home.

The past three weeks in Chile and Argentina have been amazing, and as I said earlier, it’s hard to believe all that has happened in that time. Thanks to everyone who has helped to make it a huge success of a trip – until next time, enjoy some wine and a lomito completo for me. 😉

Words of Wisdom from Expert Travelers

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

During our stay in Mendoza, it was clear to me that Teri and Oscar (our gracious hosts) are expert travelers. One night during dinner, I jotted down some quotes from Teri:

Traveling in your country and other countries opens your mind.

The money spent traveling is not an expense but an investment.

They [Big Oil] will make you think that you cannot live without it [oil].

The quote on Big Oil was in response to our surprise of how few people in South America have (or even need) cars. With plentiful inexpensive taxis, impressive intercity bus networks, and an efficient metro in Santiago, traveling around Chile and Argentina was a breath of fresh air (literally) when it comes to inexpensive, reliable, and sustainable transportation.

Finally, Teri introduced us to the concept of a traveler’s “honeypot” when Tiff, Greg, and I were talking about tracking shared expenses (i.e., who paid for lunch, the taxi ride, bus tickets, etc.). When paying for most things by cash as we were, consider having everyone who shares expenses to chip in the same amount to a honeypot, and pay for shared expenses from that bucket of cash. When the honeypot is dry, simply have everyone add the same amount more. We began using this tactic after Mendoza, and it worked great.

Goodbye Puerto Varas!

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

This morning I caught a bus north from Puerto Varas to Pucón, where I’ll be spending the last few days of this trip around South America. Puerto Varas, a small town with a large German and European influence, was the adventurous highlight of the trip thus far with rafting, kayaking, and hiking in perfect weather conditions for each activity.

Today I also parted ways with Greg and Tiff, who return to Bariloche and continue south on the Carretera Austral by bike, which is sure to be the highlight of their four month sabbatical. Some would call me a “third wheel” traveling with a married couple, but Greg and Tiff did an excellent job of not making me feel like one. We have known eachother since 2005, and our time together on this trip further solidified our friendship through the numerous highs and thankfully few lows. Towards the end of our time together, I often remarked with awe about how much has happened in just a matter of two and a half weeks – visiting Valpo and enjoying Pisco Sours (Chile’s national drink), spending New Years Eve in Santiago with Marcos out until 5am, visiting Teri and Oscar in Mendoza and touring the local wineries by bike, traveling by bus to the ash land of Bariloche (which was actually kind of cool to experience for a few days thinking back on it), biking around Bariloche’s nature preserve, eating the best steak of my life two nights in a row, ordering meals and bus tickets completely in Spanish, rafting and kayaking the Petrohué near Puerto Varas, and hiking to the farthest point from home that I would travel to on this trip. That farthest point, Lago Todos Los Santos, is where Greg and Tiff continue their adventure today. I wish you well on your journey, and I have no doubt that you’ll find what your’re looking for. Bueno.

Goodbye Bariloche!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

In a few hours we’ll catch a bus to Puerto Varas, Chile. Our time in Bariloche has been bitter sweet. The bike ride along the Circuito Chico was fun, scenic, and a good workout. Also, I’ve had some of the best steak in my life two nights in a row at El Boliche de Alberto. The ash in the sky put a damper on our day yesterday, but it was nice to have a down day and take a siesta since we’ve been going almost nonstop since I joined Greg and Tiff nearly two weeks ago now.

The Bevásárlóközpont

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

One evening during the study abroad in Delft, I was hanging out with my Hungarian friend Csaba looking at one of his books that was written in Hungarian. I picked out the largest, most complicated word that I could find and asked him what it was and how it’s pronounced. I chose bevásárlóközpont, which roughly translates to supermarket; ever since then, it has served as an inside joke between us, but on a deeper level it was rather apropos that that was the word I picked – it never ceases to amaze me how much can be learned about a culture through a simple trip to the supermarket / supermercado / bevásárlóközpont.