Monday, January 23, 2012

Gringo It Up

"Hey, Buddy" (Use the voice Sara would use with a dog)
Another beautiful day out in wine-country
   Hey, everybody; Matt here.  It's been a while since I rapped at ya' so here it goes.  Not too much is new around these parts.  We're working (Sara moreso) a lot to make ends meet until Sara gets her killer job going in March.  This will finally allow me to work on my killer tan (meant literally as a likely candidate for skin cancer).  It's summer here, so we're still having countless beautiful, hot, and sunny days.  We never thought we'd say it, but a rainy day (gotta fit in The Temptations whenever possible) would be nice.
Sara biking through Plaza de Armas near sunset.  She isn't
always happy when we ride bikes.

Homer Simpson @ Plaza Italia
   So when I left off last time, I mentioned that I started a new job working for a bike guide company.  The job is really great; I get to talk history, work with fun people, and every tour includes a free snack and/or drink.  Some tours include trips to bars, wineries, and even cafe con piernas (coffee with legs).  It would be nice if the pay was better, but the work is far more satisfying than tutoring.  Like guides everywhere, I rely on tips which are usually forthcoming from Canadians & Americans.  I've had particularly bad luck with Aussies, British, and Brazilian visitors as far as tips go; maybe there is less tipping-culture there.  I also suppose my legendary gringo-charm doesn't work on other gringos.
  On the note of gringos, Sara and I finally made it to the main gringo-bar of Santiago, the California Cantina.  It is run by American expats for American expats.  Why go?  Well, they play American sports on the TVs and it's pretty much the only choice for seeing NFL, MLB, and NBA games (you remember what a sports nut I am, right?) in Santiago at a bar.  We went there the first time before our friend, Mashini's, birthday.  We were blown away by how many gringos we saw ("So that's where they hide.") and the American pricing on drinks/food ($$).  We went back last night to see the Ravens vs. Pats game and by the time we got there (2nd Qtr.), they had already run out of wings....c'mon, really?!  They were suggesting reserving tables for Superbowl as well and they apparently fill up by 2 hours before kickoff.
Sara & the birthday boy/man/ghost, Mashini
   Going to Mashini's birthday party was a load of fun; we got to stay up late, see friends, and have a ridiculous time.  The only downer was that I had to work the next morning because of the new job (all weekends).
Statue of St.Michael in the National Cathedral.
Yes, Mom & Dad, I went into a church.
   On another gringo note, I'm considering another get-rich-quick scheme (shelving Barbaroja's Cheesesteakery for now) that plays the gringo card: peanut butter.  Many folks have been so kind as to send us peanut butter (chunky!) due to our (my) frequent bellyaching about the availability of PB here.  While you can find it here, it is of low quality, expensive, and generally creamy (blech!). With that in mind, I'm thinking of making and selling my own brand of peanut butter featuring Chilean ingredients.  If you have any suggestions for company names, flavors, images, programs, or whatever, I would love to hear 'em; just drop me a line at my email.  Of course, this will most certainly not make me rich or do it quickly, but along similar lines to the bike-work, I think I'll enjoy it.  As this is also a major wine-producing country, I might be able to float some product on PB & wine ideas (think PB&J, same concept, stole the idea from the Peanut Butter & Co. guy in NYC).
Live music in Parque Balmaceda @ sunset
As always, we hope that all is well and that you know that we think of you often.  You are highly encouraged to send/post pictures & stories of what's happening in your life.  Until next time, ciao.


  1. The rumors are true: Brits ARE terrible tippers. They operate under this myth that service people are paid better than they really are -- in England they are paid marginally better (but could still use tips) and of course, everywhere else, they aren't paid well at all and not tipping is TACKY. My mom was a waitress in a steakhouse all through college, and she says they used to fight over/be insanely nice to any American who came in because they knew it was their only shot of a decent tip that night.

    Also: Your peanut butter business sounds RAD.

    Also: I miss hearing Sara's "Hey Buddy!" dog voice.


  2. Hola... Como estai? Estas aca todavia? Soy una gringa y maestra tambien. Escribeme si quieres ir por un traigo o cafe... ;)