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...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Punta De Lobos

A quick view from the point at Punta de Lobos.

Pics from around Pichilemu

Sleepy little surfer town...

Manly fire

Our last night in Pichilemu, Eric and I built the greatest campfire
known to man.

Then we cooked some corvina (sea bass), mariscos (clams & oysters),
and veggies.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Simple, bare, exposed wood and not much more is all that comprises our
place in Pichilemu, the tiny surf town on the Chilean coast. Removed
from civilization and very rustic, our thanksgiving might not be in
the States, but we feel a kinship with those first Americans and the
Native Anericans (the original Americans). That's right. I said it.

We're going to buy some seafood and grill our dinner on the fire pit
tonight. Happy Thanksgiving!

The beautiful Bisquertt Vineyard

On a lovely Thanksgiving Day between Santa Cruz and Pochilemu, Chile.


"Should I tell her my hair traveled here from 1989?"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


You ever sit at one of those tables where they make you sit really far
apart? Well, that didn't stop US from leaning right back in together.

Pablo Neruda's House in Valpo

A fascinating house for a fascinating man.

Five stories of beautiful, ecclectic charm and wit. (They didn't allow
photos inside, but take my word for it.)

Party of four

We ate at a cool little cafe last night. Seemed like it was packed
with locals. Laura and I had the lengua. Not bad.

Today, we pick up our rental car and drive to Santa Cruz in Colchagua
Valley, the wine country. But it'll be tough to leave Valparaiso...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Scenes from today

Yep, this is pretty much what it looks like here. Valparaiso is
absolutely beautiful.

It's freakin' beautiful out right now

(my clock is still on California time, it's really 3:20pm here)

La llave

The very latest in room security. Seriously, no thief is old enough to
remember how to pick a lock like this.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Here's a link to a video of the four of us going up in an outdoor
elevator in Valparaiso.

Best 280 Chilean Pesos I ever spent...


We're here in Valparaiso, the old Chilean port town, home to a
thriving bohemian art scene and boatloads (oh yes, my precious puns, I
could never leave you back in the States) of beautiful scenery. It
reminds me a lot of the Albaicin in Granada, Spain (where Jill and I
met some years back).

Very beautiful and quiet - but fun - town.

Valparaiso Tagging

Just a few examples of the dope street art in Valparaiso.

Eric y Laura cenando

A pic of E&L at our first Santiagan dinner last night.

Santiago, at least the few parts we've seen is a very modern, clean,
dare I say "American" city.

Wish we had more time to explore it, but we're off to Valparaiso now...

Our room in Santiago

Jill reclines by the window of our hotel room in Santiago, near the
base of the Andes. (Thanks to Laura for the ridiculous deal, without
which we wouldn't have been able to stay anywhere with near as much

The Andes

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Argentine Trunk Tetris

Our driver Sergio plays a little "Partido de Equipaje", a.k.a.
Argentine Trunk Tetris with our American-sized luggage before we head
to the airport on our way to Santiago.

Tango show

A shot from the balcony of Eric (pictured in powder blue) with the
ladies, shortly before the tango show started. I still have La Cancion
de Buenos Aires in my head. Good, old-fashioned touristy fun.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Puerto Madero

This is a bridge in the ultra-modern barrio of Buenos Aires, Puerto

Our huge meal at Cabrera

Steaks, eggs, beans, peppers, potatoes, mushrooms, wine, etc.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Buenos Aires Lunch

Eric, Laura, Jill's hair and I enjoying lunch earlier today...


El Cemeterio de Recoleta

An amazing cemetery in B.A. where you could easily get lost. Evita
Peron and about a million other important, wealthy (or possibly even
both) Argentinians have found eternal rest here.