San Carlos de Bariloche

Growing up in Maputo-Mozambique I recall series of commercials on CNN where they would show a landscape and flash possible location names on it which would then all be wrong and it would turn out to be a small town you’d never heard of before and the tagline was something like “CNN is everywhere”. The reason I recall these ads so well is because one of them depicted a gorgeous lake with snow-covered mountains/volcanoes on the background that wasn’t the Swiss Alps or Mount Fuji, instead it was Osorno-Chile, the town where my father was born. Continue reading

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Bariloche: Chocolate heaven or, as I like to call it, a clue to Willy Wonka’s whereabouts

1- Chocolate, some people believe, rules the world. I’m not one of them… Though I often tell people I would gladly sell my soul to the devil for good chocolate mousse. And I mean REAL chocolate mousse, home-made, with raw eggs. I’d rather get salmonella that have one of those store-bought imitations.

2 – One of my all time favourite movies is “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. The original one with Gene Wilder not the remake with Johnny Depp. Yes, I did read Charlie and the chocolate factory and I did like it but I have to say this is one of those few times (if not only one) when I like the movie more than the book!

All of the above prove that I have no ulterior motives and allow me to ascertain that Willy Wonka resides somewhere near San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina. Continue reading

Mendoza, Then and Now

The first time I went to Mendoza I was 7 months old and teething. I mention the teething because a normal side effect of a baby’s teething is they cry a lot and they have diarrhea. And well, all my life I’ve heard the story of how my parents were trying to have lunch at a restaurant in Mendoza but I wouldn’t stop crying, my father was holding me and walking up and down seeing if I calmed down when all of a sudden a thick warm gooey brown substance exploded from my diapers and all over his shirt and onto the floor…. Yeah, that’s right 7 month old me had a case of explosive diarrhea that the diapers couldn’t contain and it happened in the middle of a restaurant!!! I can only imagine my parent’s distress and embarrassment.

Although, as my parents always tell me the argentine love babies and instead of being even mildly disgusted or angry by the situation they all (other customers and the staff) proceeded to reassure my parents that it was quite alright, not to worry, that those things happened, and they ushered my dad with me to a bathroom to change me and even provided a clean shirt so my dad could change!!! Anyway, after all the cleaning and diaper changing I of course fell asleep which allowed my parents and other customers to finally sit down calmly and enjoy their meal. But wait, the story doesn’t end there, the staff at the restaurant not only turned off their music but they asked the vendors outside to keep it down because the baby was sleeping!!! My dad says that they would do so for any baby, that the Argentines just really love children. I think they were just afraid to wake me up and have me start crying all over again!

The second time I went to Mendoza  I was 32, on a road trip with my cousin, and thankfully my experience was quite different (can you imagine if it hadn’t been?). Continue reading

Surviving and enjoying a 3000kms-in-6-days road trip with only two major stops included.

Trying out every possible sitting position; admiring the view; in-depth discussions on topics varying from the economic crisis in Argentina to the zombie craze that has taken over the world in the last few years; and singing along to random radio station songs; That’s how I spent the 3000 kms road trip I undertook on the last week of 2014.

Continue reading