All tagged southamerica

Chicha in Lima

Desert silence at the edge of light's end is both exhilarating and terrifying.  Watch the sun disappear in that place and you will know the darkness of death: the black of Day One; the space beyond singularity, outside the light of known Universe; a port-a-john at a combat outpost in the middle of Afghanistan under clouded skies and a New Moon.  Two days into a four day bus ride from Puerto Montt, Chile to Lima, Peru - with a cracked throat, perceivable layer of plaque build-up, axel-greasy hair, checked-bags under eyes - and these kinds of Jim Morrison, acid thoughts started to cross my mind as I stared into a grain of sand upon a rock in the Atacama out the bus window, sitting in my sweaty, damp seat and breathing in the stale breath and farts of 50 other people.  Most of the time a situation isn't as bad as I picture it in my head; this bus ride fell into that other category.  It was in that category of "never again." Having a full bladder while wearing a tight parachute harness in turbulence represents a similar level of agony.  Desert occupied in front and on the periphery from Santiago to Lima for three straight days.  Needless to say, arriving in Lima provided a literal breath of fresh air, a shower, and a much needed full night's sleep in a completely horizontal position.

Fire & Ice

Bariloche only served as a basecamp for our Patagonian adventures and introduced us to some of the challenges we would be facing throughout Patagonia - namely, finding cash, finding buses, finding wi-fi.  I see it now as an opportunity to practice patience; at the time I was ripping my hair out, and when the Rentalcars.com customer service representative informed me via email that our rental car was no longer available - two hours before pick-up - a frustratingly accurate proverb from Murphy crossed my mind: if it can go wrong, it will.  But it eventually worked out and we scored a set of wheels.  Getting to San Martin alone could fill the page with blue skies, summer sun, glacial lakes, sandy beaches, unsuccessful hitchhikers, and a soundtrack of suffering transmission and rattling car parts brought to you by General Motors in the form of a mid 90s Chevy Classic - our carriage for the next four days.  We arrived to San Martin three hours late, spent two hours gathering provisions from five different stores, and finally drove to the outskirts of town, down a dirt road towards a “rendezvous” with our AirBNB host, Valeria.

Kolsch Before Malbec

When you look back to yesterday you start to deduce how little you know right now.  I’m looking into the coals of a fire and at the fluttering light and I’m looking at my own time.  I can feel the heat reflecting off the fire bricks and onto my cheek as I watch the coals rapidly change in color during my mental trip back in time.  At this moment they seem to hold all the answers - or at the very least, enough to satisfy my oxygen deprived brain (I’ve been sitting here for a hot minute).  Fire is the theme in Argentina, and I will continue it now: from the fire of Asado to the brew kettles of two breweries in San Luis, Argentina, boiling the ancient wort discovered by ancestors forgotten.  

The Argentinian Smokey Medium

The circumstances that landed us in San Luis, Argentina seem completely impossible in a more organized version of the Universe.  To think that a chance click from my computer in Georgia and the consequent encounter with a couple running an AirBNB would find us a bed and friends in San Luis, Argentina and two fantastic craft brewery contacts months later seems a bit preordained - or otherwise, too good to be true.  But that's the way it happened; and if you asked me how it would turn out while I was sitting in my pajamas on my parents' couch last October, what I'd be doing in December, or if this trip would work out at all I'd stare right back with shrugged shoulders, hands turned up, pinched lips, and wide eyes.  I never could have predicted the path and could never have planned it so well.  Often you need the very basis of a plan to give you (and those around you) the confidence to step off and set foot on the journey, mission, etc; but most of the plan develops along with the information coming in, and as a result, you find a plan that better suits your current situation.  Eventually, after you've seen enough plans fail you come to this realization and still fight it every time.  I've gotten to a point where I think that Sara and I are completely out of our minds most of the time; and then there's an experience like San Luis, and we can smile at each other and reassure ourselves that we are not wrong about this.