Friday, 31 October 2008


It was hard to leave New Zealand behind. It had become to feel like home. So much so, that you had the feeling that Glasgow was only a couple of hours down the road... And in one sense it was; at our last stop the wonderful Irvine family in Auckland had fed us, washed our clothes, reminded us of our table manners, been our tour guide and allowed us to sleep soundly in a proper bed. Thank you! And sorry Max for rushing off before you finished your picture. Please send it to us!
Then it was time for Scott Bakula to jump into our skins and quantum leap back in time on our way to Santiago, Chile. It took us a few days to get over the shock but then we discovered that the national dish in Chile is an empanada - a cheese pie. And boy are they tasty. Of course, there are lots of regional varieties, so we felt obliged to try quite a few. Most of the restaurant food here is based around meat and carbohydrate - not much in the way of greens, salad or really any veg at all. This is a bit of a mystery as whenever we go to a market they are stocked high with amazing veg, pulses, fruit and enough advocadoes to drown Scotland in guacamole. So what do they do with it all? They definitely don't feed any of it to tourists. Still, it hasn't detered us from searching out the best, and cheapest, meals we can.

On our first day in Santiago, we met a couple of students who told us some good places to eat, and mentioned a few good dishes to try. Unfortunately, with our Spanish being less than basic at this time, and their English reasonable but not wide in vocabulary, we went away with the impression that Chile was famous for its chocolate mice. Strange, we thought, but we should probably try some. Luckily, before we pestered too many sweetie shops, we discovered that in fact they had been talking about a pastel de choclo, or maize: a corn pie. It is also yummy - a sort of shepherds pie filled with mince, chicken, some veg if you are lucky and then topped with corn mixed with egg and sometimes cheese.

My dad has recently made an attempt to outgrow my beard and moustachio. Well, that wouldn´t be difficult. I´m not quite sure what side of the family I´ve inherited my body hair genes from but there certainly isn´t much to go round. Fortunately, where the hair does grow on my face, it grows in the right places to look okay. The closest I ever came to sideburns was the stage makeup I needed for playing Fagin at school! Kathy has mastered the art of trimming my beard with the scissors from my Swiss army knife. She takes it all very seriously. I, in return, have been allowed to practise my best Nicky Clarke impersonations and have been licenced to tame Kathy´s mullet. Kathy got a magnificent hair cut in Vietnam but the haircut you get tends to reflect the trend in the country where you are. In Vietnam they dig sexy bobs but in Chile they wear the chico mullet. It wasn´t bad, just a little bit out of proportion around the neckline. That´s hairdresser lingo-technical, in case your wondering, for the bit at the back. Swiss army scissors and comb at hand, I wrestled, captured and tamed the mullet with gusto. By the time I had finished, I was already suggesting possible hair products to suit the client´s hair condition and a follow up appointment to have a go round the front of the head. It has to be said that the client was suitably impressed!

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