Chile – Peanut butter, stop signs and cheek kisses

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

10 thoughts on “Chile – Peanut butter, stop signs and cheek kisses”

  1. Is Jeff kissing the man in Chile funnier than him wearing a women’s skirt in Asia? Miss you guys!

    1. That’s a hard one. if I could get him to accidently cheek kiss a man while wearing a sarong I would have enough to laugh about for the rest of my life. If only I could have video taped the look on Claudio’s face.

  2. Your blogs are very informative. We enjoy reading each one and eagerly await the
    next one. Great pix and your wit is superb. You are a talented writer!
    Enjoy each day. R & G

  3. Another tour de force blog entry! I laughed out loud when I got to the mannequins. Mary Ann’s favorite was the cheek kissing. We both agree that the photos are spectacular! Keep up the excellent blogging!

  4. That brand of “Great Value” granola bars and peanut butter looks exactly like the house brand that WalMart carries! Also, I spotted Yerba Mate on the bottom shelf of Fresh Market. I never would have known what that was before your excellent experience in Argentina. It was very expensive–like $7 dollars for a small bag.
    Great blog!

    1. I wonder if it’s not the exact same stuff, all the labels are in English and the prices are as if it was imported. A can of diced tomatoes was $5. Not sure why I bought 3 cans instead of just chopping up fresh tomatoes. Habit I guess. My mate habit is going to get expensive in the US.

  5. The one off really killed me. Though, hard to beat the cheek kissing incident. Poor Jeff. It’s hard to keep up!

    1. It was the most decorated toilet I think I’ve ever seen, very impressive. It’s so much easier being a woman in a cheek kissing culture, I just kiss no matter what.

  6. I am an expat now living in Chile. If you are in the Villarrica area hit me up on email. The link on my name is to an article on how I offended several young Chilean women by not immediately kissing them. About the money, just double the primary part of the bill, so 10,000 becomes 10X2 and you will be close. My problem is I still feel like I am only spending 10 USD. So I really have to watch it.

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