Monday, November 22, 2010


ummmm... so I am home now (AKA back in the USA).   I realized I haven't posted forever and sort of fell off the map but my trip home took 2 weeks and involved Lima, Peru and Florida, but I am now back.  I will post some details and photos soon.  Right now I am just adjusting to life back here and recovered from drinking Peruvian water.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Apartment in Chile - Leaving shots.

 Since my time is coming to an end here in Chile I thought I would post some shots of where I have spent the better part of the last 3 months.  THE APARTMENT IN CHILE.

 It is nothing fancy but it has served a purpose with the only issues being a slight "old lady" smell near the front door, the cable that came with the place turning out to be illegal so it got turned off the last month here, a shower-head that had to be replaced to make the showers last longer than 45 seconds of low pressure warmth, and the overabundance of fake flowers that were in the place that are currently hiding in the cabinet waiting to be redeployed on the last day I am here.


 Living Room
 Front door and Refrigerator
 Little Kitchen

Friday, October 22, 2010

Attempting to Return to the USA

 My funds have dwindled to what is surely to become a new low so having failed to find dependable work here in Chile I must accept a temporary setback and return to the USA.  That being said, it will not be without a little bit of mystery and adventure.  

The first step of my trip will be a flight to Lima, Peru on Halloween.  All flights from Chile were extremely expensive so in an attempt to add more fun (and maybe save a few dollars) I am making up the trip home as I go.

Right now the options are:
Fly to Washington DC from Lima
Fly to Fort Lauderdale FL from Lima
Fly to Bogota Colombia from Lima and then to the US from Colombia
Fly to San Juan Puerto Rico from Lima and then toe the US

Bus to Ecuador and Colombia (80 hours) from Lima and then fly home

or magic carpet.

I am sure there are other options that I will have to just make up as I go.  wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gringo Burning in the South American Sun

In an attempt to return to the states tan (the return info will be in the next few days on here), I have hit the beach here in Vina.  The other day though I will admit to turning a nice state of painless red for a day or so afterward.

Being as how it is the Pacific Ocean down here the water is not something you want to stay in for a very long time unless you are strapped to a surfboards so I just get in to cool off a bit and then back to the beach.  Maybe next time I will roll over instead of napping on my back.  One side tan.... the other side white.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sibaritico for Completos in Vina del Mar

In a recent post I linked to the video of Anthony Bourdain during his time in Chile.  I live just a few blocks from the site of his "Completo" consumption here in Vina del Mar so the other night (after a few of the necessary liquid appetizers) I rallied some ladies to go partake in some Hot Dog overkill.

If you have not watched the Anthony Bourdain video (a few blog posts back at MY BLOG) a completo is a footlong hotdog with Saurkraut, mashed avocado,  tomatoes, and artery clogging of mayonnaise, that I like to top with ketchup.

Needless to say it was a good night and the next morning I woke up a little rough.  I am still not sure whether it was the appetizers or the completo but I would definitely repeat the process.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Football (soccer) here in Chile

Sometime in the past few weeks of my time here I went to see the local football club Everton of Vina del Mar play a game.  The stadium is small for the fact that it is in the top league of its country (more notable teams would be Colo-Colo, U Catolica, and U de Chile).  

Ladies and children got in free to the game and there was only one full section (AKA the end where the tickets are 6 dollars)

The game ended in a high-scoring 3-3 draw but the real entertainment was the fans themselves.  Apparently Chileans are not trusted with alcohol at any event so it was dry but I found out why in no time.

Fans came marching in with drums to play while they all sang songs.  There were also massive banners hung all over the place.  Honestly this place had more decoration than any college dorm room on the planet.
 As for the fans appreciation of the game itself is another matter entirely.  Mostly young people sang songs to the drums and smoke weed the entire time without any care about the game itself.  The home team scores - keep singing the same song... the away team scores - keep singing the same song.

I have noticed this trend before and it is not something I understand.  I enjoy the game and find it easier to get into when the crowd also understand it and follow along.  That being said, once I moved over away from the main cheering group I enjoyed the game a bit more.

Maquinaria Festival 2010 Santiago Chile

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rage Against the Machine - CHILE 2010

This could be one of the more cruel posts I have made (if you are a fan of rock music that is).  Rage Against the Machine will be playing this Monday and I have picked up my ticket... that said (as if jealousy weren't already brewing), I start the weekend with a festival on Saturday featuring Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, Linkin Park, The Pixies, and more.... life is rough.

Beach and Big Ass Sandwich

There isn't really a clever theme to this blog post as much as there is a take-no-prisoners title that has obviously drawn you in.  With the weather getting nicer here I am spending more and more time on the beach and out in the sun.  If I make it back to the States in late November I fully expect to look out of place this winter with my epic tan that is starting now.

 And to not disappoint I will show you an example of the late-night (drunk person) food that is readily available in Chile.  This sandwich is simple in construction but the size is what make is.  For about 4 dollars US you can get this sandwich which is larger than a human head.  I used a starburst to show size but you really don't understand until you buy one at 2 in the morning.

 It was delicious.... I think.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bourdain was here in Vina and Valpo

Just to show more of where I have been living here is a clip of Anthony Bourdain's time in Chile. I live near where he at the completo at the beginning and a 5 min bus from the rest.

Where I worked (notice that it is past tense)

During my time down here thus far i have managed to pick up a few hours working at an English School.  Given that I am without a work visa and the school is a bit behind on processing one I am separating ties to the school and going back to being blissfully unemployed.

It also appears that my time in Chile will come to an end when my 3 month tourist visa does.  Things are more expensive here that most places in South America and I fear it could bankrupt me to stay until Christmas (plus Christmas is in the middle of their summer so it would just feel odd). 

I have now started the planning phase for a trip back to the states.  Could be up to 120 hours on a bus...   more info to come

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

“Stache” ing it

I have seen some sweet moustaches and mullets during my time in Chile so I thought I would rock one for a bit.  I did have a pretty solid mullet (between white trash and 80s hockey player in length) coming in but the lady cut that off in my sleep.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

J Cruz a Valparaiso Mainstay

I have been seduced by the Chilean chorilliana (a dish consisting of french fries topped with meat, eggs, and onions that can be dipped in aji(spicy) or ketchup(if the restaurant allows it))

There is probably no place better in all of Chile to get this dish than J Cruz.  The restaurant is literally down a dark alley and tricky to find and yet it is pack all open hours


The inside is completely full of crazy amounts of junk that they use to decorate the place.  It is sort of like Applebees back in the USA only amplified by 10 and somehow it works for the place.


The servings are massive and yet somehow this is how it always looks at the end of the meal.


Friday, October 1, 2010

To ride it… or to eat it

So last week I was walking around and noticed a small butcher shop.  It appeared to be like all the others but I was in the slightly poorer side of town.  I then glanced upward and noticed that the large banners above the shop were of majestic looking horses.  After asking around I found out that they were the product.

Before you judge me for this it should be noted: I travel to experience new things and abandoned my long-term Vegan diet to make sure I experience the cultures of the places that I visit.  I ate Guinea Pig in Peru so why not.


I purchased the smallest size that they had available.  1 Kilo (2.2 pounds) of Churrasco (A very thin cut that comes between sheets of waxed paper).  It is very common to use meat cut like this in sandwich form.  It set me back about 6 dollars for the kilo.


Afterwards I enjoyed it (actually it was a lot like deer meat) on a sandwich with some local cheese and mustard.  It is not an endangered species and it is not a penguin (they are too damn cute) so I am OK with my choice to try something new.  Just thought I’d update the site.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shopping the Produce Market


The other day Rocio and I trekked down to the produce market to pick up some vegetables.  Unlike the farmer’s markets of the USA everything is actually cheaper at these places.  Some of the highlight purchases included:

2 pounds of Kiwis for 80 cents

8 pounds of potatoes for 1 dollar

2 pounds of apples for 60 cents

1 head of Garlic for 20 cents

All in all it was a good day and I have been living on vegetables since.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nobody told me this…


(WIKI)   The Chilean rose tarantula (Grammostola rosea), also known as the Chilean flame tarantula, Chilean fire tarantula or the Chilean red-haired tarantula or the Chilean rose hair tarantula (depending on the colormorph), is probably the most common species of tarantula available in pet stores today, due to the large number of wild caught specimens exported cheaply from their native Chile into the US pet trade.

So I came back from work today and guess what I spotted walking on the front step of the building…. HOLY CRAP

I am not scared of many things but let’s just say that it was not the most comfortable thing to step over on my way in.  I didn’t have the camera on me and the guy at the front desk scooped it up with a broom and moved it after I let him know it was there.  Crisis averted.

Chilean have the freedom to Barbecue

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Chilean Independence the regular festivities held on the 18th of September ran from Thursday to Monday.  This all added up to a long long weekend of fun and probably about 10 extra pounds.


To start the weekend off right I headed to an apartment gathering Thursday night and imbibed in a few beverages and ate a ton of food.


Then to jumpstart the next day I headed to the Botanical Garden here in Vina del Mar for a massive cookout.




This is the appetizers of 3 full rounds of meat that were cooked on the grill not including the salads etc. (AKA the stuff I didn’t eat.  Just meat for me).


Saturday brought a trip to the Ramada (Not the hotel but the area with amusements, food, and shopping)


This also led to Terremotos (A drink consisting of sweet wine, rum, and pineapple ice cream)


Then after a few of these we packed up and caught the fireworks that were directly in front of my apartment.


To wrap up the weekend I was taken to my ladyfriend’s parents house for yet another barbecue.  I have yet to take a picture of my waistline but let it be known that I actually ate a salad yesterday by choice just to try and counteract some of the effects.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Over a Month in Chile

It is hard to believe that I have been in Chile for over a month now.  I remember my bus trip here vividly so it hadn’t really sat in until I went to pay rent on the apartment yesterday.  It is over a month since I moved into my apartment and about a month and a half since I arrived in the country.

P9030087  (picture of me with a very odd dog)

In update I am currently teaching a private instruction English lesson at an Institute here to a student who is studying for the American SAT Test.  I am teaching him how to write the essay so if you are actually reading this try not to snicker at my inability to write because when it comes to writing for grades I actually try (a little bit). 

The pay is under the table and so I have not secured a work visa to stay in the country.  This is quite a problem because my visa is for 90 day and my apartment is for 4 months (doing math in head…).  This means barring a work visa miracle I will need to ride the but to Argentina for a couple of nights (6+hours each way) and then try and convince the border to let me back in.

Getting back in the country could prove difficult because there is often suspicion that people staying longer are working illegally (now who would do that?).  To counter this possibility I might have to buy a return ticket in advance to the USA just so they are certain that I am not leeching off their system (once somebody has paid for a ticket governments tend to believe they are leaving).

The lease on my apartment ends on the 15th of December and there is a lot of time before then but I could be heading back to the states before Christmas… of course I would love to bus the whole way there but we will see where the cheap tickets are at and go from there….


Until then I will just be living it up here in Chile….

BTW anybody know of some work I could start in the USA at the beginning of January or so???

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Found a little work

I have been trying to make a little bit of cash to help supplement the small amount I traveled down to Chile with and I have decided to use the English Instruction certifications that I picked up in England.  I sent out emails to about 15 different places in the 3 months before I traveled to South America with very limited success but when I was in Peru I received an email from the Instituto Chileno Britanico


It has been an odd hiring process thus far that included a 2 part test on English skills and on Teaching skills in the primary interview and a call back that said they would set up an interview in the next couple of days that took 2 weeks and 2 trips down there by me to get set up and then over the past weekend I received a call stating that I would be needed to pick up a private lesson on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I was once again told that I would hear back from them on Saturday to confirm all the details (which turned out to be 11pm on Sunday).


Alas, I taught my first lesson on Monday at 10am.  It was only supposed to be one hour 3 times a week but my student has upped his course-load to 2 hours a day so I am not on the calendar for 6 hours a week and there is a possibility of them starting a Saturday class for me from 9am until 1 pm. 

Now if I only knew how much they were going to pay me and how….. (guess I need to focus on that now that I am working).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Big Budget Events

OK so the weather isn’t perfect here so I have to find something to do when the beach is not a possibility so Filet Mignon and Open Bars serve as my backup to a day of sun and sand.

I recently crashed a wedding to keep it interesting…


Technically I was Rocio’s plus one but I was the only gringo in the house


I even cleaned up my act a bit for the affair…. (note: I borrowed a suit.  I do not have one with me)  ((Note to self: Buy a sweet suit))


This is just the desert table for the self service… the rest was all served


I even stole a dance with the bride.  The gringo stole the show.


More photos on facebook

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All my time on the beach


When I walk outside of my place everyday this is roughly my view.  Technically I live on the far left of this photo, but this is from the bridge I cross to make it to the beach.  The weather here is winter but it has been ranging from 50 degrees up to the 80s or so.


A short walk from my place is the public beach that people are always out relaxing on and I have started to join them.  If the weather permits I try and go relax for an hour or so and get some much needed sun… I can’t wait for the weather to heat up a bit.


There is also a boardwalk that runs along it and there is a park.  If you are in Vina del Mar at any time and trying to find me…. this is a good place to start.



Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Job Hunt

I have been currently seeking a job here in Vina del Mar and have even went to a job interview.  I am attempting to teach English down here at a few different Institutes and the first interview involved a 2 part test (English + Teaching).  I received news last week that I passed both tests and I am still waiting for them to schedule another meeting.  Hopefully picking up some work will keep me out of the country longer.  Not sure where this urge to work is coming from but I guess if it allows me to play a bit more I guess I can work for it just a little bit.


I will keep you updated as more job news breaks.

The Apartment in Vina Del Mar - Outside

I have rented an apartment here in Vina del Mar, Chile.  Rocio set it up for me so I was thrilled when I finally made it to town and saw the location for the first time.  It is winter here (South of the equator the seasons are reversed) but living so close to the ocean is enjoyable year-round and since I made it to town it has oddly been warm and sunny pretty much all of the time.

The apartment is located about 4 buildings in from the ocean on an river that runs through town.  I do however live on the backside of the building so daily views of the ocean are not possible but walking out to see the water is great.


My building is the center one in this photo.  This is a shot from across the river.


Here is another shot of the building from near the large casino here in town.


The beach next to the house pretty much looks like this but there is a place at the end of the river with some nice sand.  A decent (but enjoyable) walk down the coast gets me to a larger beach that I am sure will fill up when the weather heats up a bit more.