Monday, February 13, 2012

Ides of February

Well-worth $100CLP/$.20USD
The Costanera Center, which will be the
tallest building in South America.
   Hey, ya'll; Matt here.  How've you been?  We're doing OK: working, getting out, seeing folks - you know, the usual.
  Sara has been working like a maniac on multiple fronts in preparation for the coming school year.  She's been tutoring Santiaguinos like a madwoman the past few weeks to build up cash reserves.  On top of this, she's been bettering herself and her experience here by taking Spanish lessons.  She now commands enough Spanish to be a danger to herself and others; she's loving it.
Sara loves this.
Making a fly out of own beard hair = time for a haircut
  I've been working a decent amount doing bike tours as a full guide.  Most of my students have been on vacation in late January/early February, so this is really my only source of income currently.  It's paid well at times and fairly poorly at others.  I really lucked out this last weekend and got a couple of Americans who gave me a fat/phat tip.  Interestingly enough, they were landscape architects from CT who knew about the city I grew up in (Guilford, CT).  The small-world aspect of this was well summed-up by one of the guys as I told him about sandwiches at Deli Unlimited on Route 1, "I can't believe I had to travel to Santiago, Chile to find out where the best sandwiches in Guilford, CT are."
Looking towards Volcan San Jose
in the Valle Engorda near Banos Morales.
Chilean-engineered bridge.
  Sara & I have also been making sure to find time for ourselves to find good food, drink, and times.  On Pio Nono, in the Bellavista neighborhood, there are usually street performers at night for the string of beer-bars which line the street.  These include rock/blues musicians, one-man-band boys, comedians, clowns, mimes, etc.  Sara's current favorite is a dance-tastic transvestite.  He/she is a spectacle and naturally chooses people who look like they'd be uncomfortable (me) as targets.  I was able to delight several Santiaguinos by breaking out my finest lower-lip-bitten & eyes-closed dancing for him/her.  We've also gotten into the habit of having lunch at La Vega when we do our fruit/vegetable shopping.  This has provided plenty of opportunity to try many new dishes like chupe de mariscos (cheesy seafood chowder) and lomo salteado (french fries, steak strips, peppers, onions, rice).  Hanging with friends has been good as well.  A few weekends ago, Charlie took me along for a day of trout fly-fishing in the Yeso River in Cajon del Maipo.  While I didn't catch jack-squat or even get a nibble, it was a lot of fun and a great way to spend a day: steak, beer, fishing.  I've never said that I was a good fisherman, just that I enjoyed fishing.
Near sunset at 4900M.
Hundreds of goats, no chupacabra in sight.
  On the note of food, I've been perfecting my peanut butter recipes and so far have gotten mostly approval of the results.  The merquen (accent on the 2nd e), oregano, and original blends are pretty damn good right now.  Honey, almond, and cinnamon-raisin still need some work.  If you have any good ideas on how to make an idea of this sort work, please shoot me an email and fill me in.
Excellent place to end a 5 day journey.
  And now for something completely different: I had no students to tutor last week so I made a trip out to the southernmost 6000M peak in the world, Cerro Marmolejo.  This mountain is about 50 miles outside Santiago and is on the border with Argentina.  It was a gigantic mountain and unfortunately turned me away after 3 days of approach ascent to 5000M.  However, on my way back to the small village of Banos (with ~) Morales, a hot springs, I ran into a former Chilean Military Mountaineering Corp. member.  After speaking for 1 minute, he invited me back to his sister's house for the following 3 hours where they showered me in pisco sours and snacks, despite my smelling absolutely god-awful.  This was one of the most hospitable things that has ever happened to me and was greatly appreciated.  It made the defeat on the mountain far more manageable.  As always, if you want to see more pictures from this trip go to
Chilean Kenny Powers.  I couldn't get a front shot,
but trust me, this dude is the damn spitting image of
the man.  He was only missing 40lbs. and jean shorts.
  Looking ahead, we have a lot coming up.  Sara's friend/Fabulous Lady's Book Club member, Rachel, will be visiting us for a few days.  My buddy, Davin, will be heading down to hang in South America for a few months.  It will be most excellent seeing folks from stateside and catching up.  Also, there will be some great music coming our way really soon.  Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd, will be performing "The Wall" in the beginning of March and Lollapalooza, the 2-day music festival, happens later in the month.  We're also hoping to make a small weekend trip near the end of March for my 28th birthday (a fact which Sara seems to love reminding me of).
  We hope that all is well with you and ask that you Skype/Gchat/facebook (only Sara)/email/snailmail/etc. us to let us know how you're doing; we think of you all the time (only good thoughts).  Big news, small news, mundane BS - we would love to hear it, please share!  Ciao, amigos.
Cerro Marmolejo.  I was stopped by massive penitentes on
the glacier 100M higher.  3 hours spent looking for a route.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, meeting that military guy is such a cool story! That's the kind of experience you always hope you'll have traveling but only seems to work out in movies and novels... and there you are living it. Rock on.