December 20, 2005

South America Wrap Up

It´s been 3 months on the road in South America, and I´ve had wonderful experiences too numerous for me to devote a blog post to each. Jonathan and I had the idea to do some Top 5 lists as a way to remember each continent. So here goes…

Most surprising
1. I am doing well and enjoying the prolonged travel on the road!
2. The very clear correlation of skin color and social class.
3. Lack of vegetables to go with all that great meat.
4. How hard it is to do basic things in a foreign language.
5. What little sense I got of Chile as a culture and a country. It felt curiously bland, and very much like the US. What I have can be summed up by lemons and salsa presented at every meal, a love of hot dogs and avocados, and elaborate napkin arrangements.

Things I miss about home
1. Family and friends. Although Jonathan is probably the only person on earth I can actually spend 24/7 with, I miss everyone else too.
2. Variety of fruits and vegetables.
3. Not having to constantly think about water and its cleanliness.
4. Scientific news and intellectual stimulation.
5. Cooking.

Best Restaurant Meals
1. Kaipu – Ushuaia, Argentina. Awarded the best restaurant in Argentina, this amazing restaurant was where we celebrated our 6th anniversary, over a tasting menu featuring centolla (king crab). Most surprising of all, it was located in Ushuaia, the “end of the world”
2. La Barra - Medoza, Argentina. Amaaaaazzing bife de chorizo.
3. La Caballeriza – Buenos Aires, Argentina. Really great parrilla.
4. Izakaya Yoko - Santiago, Chile. I was desperate for ethnic food and rice, and it really hit the spot.
5. Cluny - Buenos Aires, Argentina. Hip, trendy with great service and food. A fantastic cold salmon and avocado starter.

Observations I want to remember
1. Lingering over meals. I found out that I eat incredibly fast, without really noticing. Argentines really draw out their meals, and a waiter will never bring a check without you first asking. I have even slowed down at breakfast. A basket of little rounds (1-2 inch diameter) of toast comes with jam and butter. I have to butter each round, eat it, then take another and repeat, which takes more time to eat. Instead of buttering it up all at once and chowing down like a bagel, it has slowed me down considerably and I find I enjoy the meal more and feel more satisfied in the end.

2. Focus of life doesn´t have to be work.

3. Constant learning – new words, places, geographies, cultures.

4. Learning just to be (in a very zen sense). For the first time in my life I am not working towards a goal (getting into college, getting a PhD, getting a job).

5. Walking as a primary source of transport.


  1. I thought #1 on your list has got to be rice! ;)

    Also, Chinese has to eat fast at meals otherwise the food (or the good stuff) might be eaten by someone else.

    Comment by Ken Lin — December 21, 2005 @ 2:10 am

  2. Holy cow! What a trip you guys are having…bring me back a t-shirt! haha just kidding. Keep on having fun and be safe.

    Comment by Ki So — January 15, 2006 @ 7:37 am

  3. Wow. Great. Just great. I’m speachless. Really great. Very great.

    Comment by Brian — January 17, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

  4. I’m also speechless.

    Comment by Brian — January 17, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

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