Chile – Peanut butter, stop signs and cheek kisses

Posted by on March 4, 2011

After three months in Argentina and less than two weeks in Chile I’m not exactly an expert on either country.  But, I’m going to pretend I am and tell you all the differences I’ve seen so far.

Wine – the wine is good and cheap in both places.  Argentina was all about malbec.   Chile is all about cabernet sauvignon.  Luckily, we like both…a lot.

Cheek kiss – In Argentina they cheek kissed all the time, everyone men and women.   Jeff was never completely comfortable cheek kissing other  men, but after three months he got used to it.  He did it enough that it became automatic.

On our second night in Chile we ran into our taxi driver from the day before in a gas station.   He kissed me hello, chatted and he cheek kissed me goodbye.    Then a week later we were signing our lease in La Serena.  As he was leaving Claudio, our rental agent cheek kissed me.  He shook Jeff’s hand and Jeff automatically cheek kissed him.   It was totally normal, our Argentinian landlord was constantly cheek kissing Jeff.

Claudio pulled back, laughed and quickly explained to Jeff that in Chile men only cheek kiss women, not other men.   Jeff was embarrassed, Claudio amused and I almost died laughing.

Stop signs and lights – Chile has them, Argentina doesn’t.    After three months I still never knew how to cross the streets in the big city of Buenos Aires to the smallest little town, I just sort of waited for traffic to clear, said a little prayer and ran across.  In Chile there are actual stop signs and lights, and even walk signs.

Butter – Both countries eat a lot of bread. In Argentina they do not eat it with butter, at least not in restaurants.  They serve it with different kinds of saucy spreads which are good. But, if I’m going to ruin my diet with a bunch of carbs, I like to include fat grams as well.

Yum, butter, and also that other stuff.

Money – you need it in both countries. In Chile you need more of it. Chile is much more expensive than Argentina, at least as a tourist.   But even more crazy is the exchange rate.  Argentinian pescos are 4 to one US dollar.   That got a little confusing, but even I was able to figure that out without a calculator.  Chilean pesos are  480 to one US dollar.  That is something I can’t do in my head. I can barely do it on a calculator.

10,000 pesos? I'm rich...oh wait, no I'm not, that's only $20 US dollars.

Peanut butter and granola bars – You can get a surprising amount of US type things  in Argentina and Chile – oatmeal, cereal, granola, potato chips, etc.  But some things you just couldn’t get in Argentina. Peanut butter was one.  US style granola bars were another.   This brand has an entire display in the grocery store with all kinds of US type products.

Empanadas – They have them in both countries, but  they are very large in Chile.  The first time we had them in Chile we ordered 5, the normal amount we used to order in Salta.   The waitress must have been laughing her ass off when she prepared them. Five empanadas is enough for a family of 4. They are huge.

Meat and seafood – This is obvious, but the meat in Argentina is amazing. The sea food and fish in Chile is amazing.

They still have weird looking mannequins like in Argentina.

This I think was a one off.  I haven’t seen this anywhere else in Chile or Argentina.

fanciest public toilet ever