The return of the carnivorous vegetarian

Santiago Travel Blog

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Those of you who followed my blog in Spain read many of my accidental meat eating tales. When traveling outside the U.S., as many of you may know, it is not exactly common to follow a vegetarian or sometimes even pescatarian diet. I have been trying to be more adventurous and open-minded about my eating habits (as I strongly feel that one of the principle ways to experience a culture is through its food), so I have decided to try anything that is authentically Chilean (within reason, of course).

Last night, a few friends and I ventured around the Providencia neighborhood (the very nice area where we are staying) and found an Argentinean barbecue. Well, it was a good thing that I had decided to be adventurous because Argentinean food is beef, pork, more beef, more pork, and blood sausage.

But it actually was yummy. We had a huge salad with avocado slices on top (Chileans loooove their avocado, and therefore I love Chileans), rice, beef and chorizo to share. The beef was actually really good and reminded me of the birthday dinners I always used to love until I was about 12 and thought too much about what I was eating. The chorizo (served more rare than the Spanish kind I have tried before) was a little much for me, but overall I was satisfied and proud of myself for being adventurous. I generally like everything that is relatively edible, minus the occasionally frightening meat. This was also after I have eaten mainly just fish, fish, avocado, and more fish for the last few days. Therefore I am a happy girl.

I'm not yet sure what's for dinner tonight, but I'm dying to try congrio (a type of fish that resembles eel, about which Chileans absolutely rave) and reineta, a halibut-like fish that is also a Chilean signature.
Caldillo de Congrio (eel-like fish soup with tomato broth)
I also have yet to try the "italiano," a hot dog with avocado, mayo and tomato, named so because it is the colors of the Italian flag. I'll let you know what I think.

Other than eat, I've done fun things like visit the Catholic University, go on a photo scavenger hunt of the city with members of my group and explore the Andes Mountains. Yesterday we took a bus to a small town southwest of Santiago called San José de Maipo, an Andean town. We found little shops along the way and then stopped at a mountain resort called Cascada de las Animas (Waterfall of the Spirits), where we could do fun things like walk through the woods, see waterfalls and go horseback riding. I chose horseback riding, which was definitely a worthwhile experience. A few of us paid for a one-hour horse ride up a mountain, but apparently our guides misunderstood us because they took us on a two-hour nerve-racking ride up a huge mountain and back down again. There were beautiful views and laughs all around, especially since I, as the shortest one, got the runt horse, a little guy named Pinpón (named after some puppet, the guide told me). It was a great time but we all freaked out a little on the way back down, since our horses would trip on everything on the little windy roads, and rocks fell down to the abyss as they walked, which very well could have led to our death. But all ended well, even though we weren't so sure for a while, and I am so glad I got to have that experience. The Andes are just breath-taking, by the way. They look like a little kid's drawing of mountains with the jagged edges that just look like a bunch of "M"s. When I look out my hotel room window, I see a foggy, urban city with the faint outline of dark, menacing mountains in the background that almost look fake. It's just amazing.

Throughout the next week, we will visit El Mercurio, one of Chile's major newspapers; Paula, a magazine comparable to Vanity Fair; CNN Santiago, which just opened a little over a year ago; Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, towns on the coast; and one of the country's premier vineyards for a tour and wine tasting. Yayyyy. :)
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Caldillo de Congrio (eel-like fish…
Caldillo de Congrio (eel-like fis…
photo by: Bluetraveler