This email is coming to you from Madrid, Spain. Steph and I just finished a week in Portugal with two of our best friends. We started in Lisbon, went up north to the seriously beautiful Schist villages, then to Costa Nova, and finally back down to Lisbon.
Sadly a gnarly bout of food poisoning took me out for the first few days, and then the wheels just came off the bus for me. As of writing this, I'm just now starting to feel like a human again. Such is travel, I suppose.
This week I offer you a long overdue essay from my time in Chile. I must admit that prior to going to Chile, I was woefully ignorant of most of its history. And being someone who is largely food-motivated, my expectations of the country did not quite match my experience traveling around it. What I did learn is that Chile is a complicated place, and any preconceived notions you have of it are probably wrong.
Two of our weeks in Chile were spent on the coast in Valparaíso. There we were fortunate enough to meet some chefs who were extremely kind and made some extremely damn good food. Vegan food. But more than anything, their food and restaurant felt important for so many reasons.
Writing this has been a long time coming. If I were to introspect a bit, I think I've been stuck writing this one because I think the story is really, really fascinating and even more crucial. So I had doubts in my ability to do the story and the people justice. Even still, I'm not quite sure I nailed it.
Below is an excerpt from my essay. Click the link to read the rest.
In Chile, progress might have to come from the chefs
It was the most rain the city had seen in weeks, maybe months. It was unrelenting, but so was my hunger.
Braving the downpour, we make our way up and down the network of hills on which the city of Valparaíso, Chile, is built. Just about every street is lined with houses painted in blue, yellow, and red pastels. Cerro Alegre ("happy hill" in English) is a particularly vibrant neighborhood that not even a deluge could dull.
Soaking wet, we eventually found refuge under the small awning of a potential lunch spot. Sadly, El Peral was closed, so we stood under the awning keeping dry while evaluating our options. We weren't alone; a friendly dog also seemed to be waiting out the rain with us, though mostly unfazed by our presence.
Suddenly the door behind us opens. The owner of El Peral steps out, calling for Lupo, his dog. Both startled and amused by our existence, Bruno invites us in to wait out the rain.
That's all for this week.