Monday, November 30, 2009

El viaje ha terminado...

So we're back from our trip to Argentina and Chile.

Here's a link to a motherload of more photos and videos, virtually everything I took from my iPhone over the 12 day trip: (motherload)

And here's the official debriefing.

- Argentine Beef - All it was billed up to be. Excellent and plentiful. Although I couldn't seem to find a filet mignon, my favorite cut of meat. Maybe it's too French for them. And maybe vegetables were too west coast for them, because they were scarce.

- Buenos Aires - Ironic misnomer. The streets reek of exhaust. So many vehicles and apparently so few regulations on emissions. Fun city though. My favorite part was the Cemeterio La Recoleta.

- Award for Most Improved Spanish - Eric. He was able to successfully order himself "agua sin gas" and ask for "la cuenta" by the time we left. And when we arrived, he was mispronouncing words so badly, it even started to affect his English vocabulary. No one could understand him in either language. But he made huge strides. Congrats, E.

- Southern Hemisphere Summer - Overall, better than winter.

- Tango Show - Damn, those chicks are flexible.

- Payasos - Clowns. For some reason, every bum in Chile decided to dress up as a clown. And one threatened us and pretended to shoot us with a lead pipe that looked an awful lot like a gun. Wasn't remotely funny.

- Valparaiso - Amazing, colorful, cheap, warm, friendly, artsy, graffitied, intellectually stimulating, altogether fulfilling. Wish we could've stayed there another week.

- Bidet Usage - Argentina: yep. Chile: nope.

- Chilean Wine Country - Dangerously undercommercialized. We were the only people at 4 of the 5 wineries we visited. And these weren't little hole-in-the-wall startups. They were large, dramatic constructions perched on magnificent plots of land in Colchagua Valley, dispensing some mighty tasty vino. And hardly anyone was around. Incredible. (Go there. Now. Before it becomes Napa.)

- City Slickers - That we are, without a doubt. Every time there was a horse in the road or a mule pulling a cart of vegetables, we pointed and murmered excitedly like Japanese tourists glimpsing a pair of authentic 501's. We also rode horses, and my back and butt are still sore. We were pretty much just like the movie, except funny.

- The Chilean Coast - Rocky and scenic, much like the coast of Northern California.

- Approximate Square Acreage of Non-Hilly Chilean Land - 2.

- Overall Driving Score - D+. We avoided any accidents, which was good. But clearly, navigation is not a hereditary skill (my dad was a navigator in the Air Force), as I kept us needlessly crisscrossing the nation of Chile (at least we were just going east-to-west, it's much farther north-to-south down there). But to my defense, they don't really allow road signs to reach their full potential by putting them far enough ahead of the exit they indicate to give a driver enough time to actually direct his vehicle toward it. Oh well. At least our van was cool. Seriously, Eric and I loved that van.

- Thanksgiving - Missed it. Or did we? Well, yes. But we did make our own delicious dinner over an open flame. Almost made up for our mother's dressing (stuffing), potatoes, turkey and gravy.

In conclusion, saying we had a great time would be an understatement. And I'm glad I could update this here blog for friends and family back in the States to keep up with our exploits. (It was easy. I could live in the moment as I shared said moment to you!)

Thanks to Eric and Laura for letting us crash their trip (although we did give you a 12 month heads-up). Jill and I absorbed so much great culture, wine and food. And we had a blast hanging with you guys.

Until next time...

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