Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

Follow by Email

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Chile's new economy: Gone to the dogs?

 It's interesting what strikes you when you visit a new city.  In Santiago as we walk around the streets we can't help but notice the many stray dogs weaving in and out of the traffic and ranging the parks and squares.  These dogs look well fed, don't appear mangy, and are not aggressive.  They look as though someone cares for them. Who?? A New Zealander we meet who has lived here for 14 years says -tongue in cheek- they are pets and a Chilean's idea  of having a dog is to feed it and let it roam. I disagree: I could tell the pets - they were wearing little sweaters.

At the traffic lights, rather than the usual windscreen bandits, jugglers, ventriloquists and acrobats perform between the lines of cars then hold out their hands for tips as red turns to green.  Looking for a car park? Some entrepreneur in a faded hi viz vest, possibly liberated from a work site, will guide you into a parking spot then stand over you  until you produce monetary evidence of you eternal gratitude for his assistance.

Our first two days  here in Santiago are an unseasonably warm 25 degrees Celsius, right in the middle of winter.  We are not complaining. Our friend (of a friend) Ricardo meets us at the aeropuerto (note how fluent I am in the old espanol) and takes us to our hotel, a little boutique place in what he has recommended as a safe area.

Day three and we are cast, glorying in not eating dinner. I have never looked forward to not eating as much  as right now.  We've barely taken a break since we touched down and last night our dinner booking was at 10:30. I glance at my watch as our main courses are set down and it is just midnight. Seriously, when do these people sleep?

Mind you, our lunch the same day comprises a Chilean specialty - a small herd of bison and farm animals barbecued and served on a hot plate.


Hungry much?
We are lucky to have Ricardo show us Santiago then bring us to beautiful Valparaiso on the coast. We stay at Vina del Mar a little up the coast for another couple of days.  Valparaiso reminds me of an old movie star who has succumbed to the drink; rather faded, with bright lopsided lipstick and hair a bit askew, putting on a valiant show.  Tipsy,  she slides down the surrounding hills with her skirts up and flashing her undies.  As you look up the hillsides from below, the houses are painted all shades, murals adorn walls, steps shout rainbows. However down by the sea it all feels a bit tawdry, and the change in weather doesn't help.  It is damp and cold. Sorry about the lack of photos, I am on the iPad mini and facing technology challenges getting photos from the camera.

But that doesn't stop us from having drinks and lunch.  The Hunter-gatherer exhibits addiction to Pisco Sours from the moment we are offered one on the plane. So do I it must be said.  If you like a Margarita you will love a Pisco Sour.  When you order one you have to state which brand or strength, like single malt whiskey.  What is Pisco? Wikipedia tells me it is a distilled grape, so perhaps we need to replant our vineyard at home!  Just an idle thought.