Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brasil: Fun, Friendly, and Dangerous

What Brasil has to offer
I arrived in Brasil a little more than a year ago, and the first thing I noticed is how everyone lives behind a 10-foot high wall or fence. Most of these walls also have electric fences or barbed wire on top, with cameras attached to the outer walls of the houses and bars fixed around the windows. "This place looks like a prison," I thought to myself. "But why?"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Motels in South America

A typical "All-American Motel"
(Image from
In South America the motels are specific places for folks to go and have sex. This isn't a sleaze thing; it's culturally important because people in South America don't move out of the house until they're married, and that sometimes doesn't happen until about 40 years old. It is an absolutely bizarre concept for North Americans to not move out at the age of 18, but it's phenomenally common in South America. Knowing this, it is understandable why these motels exist, because who wants to bring the girl from the bar home to mom?

However, in a completely different context, I was talking with some friends the other day and I joked that one of them, who was struggling to find summer work, could get a job at his father's motel (the North American kind - i.e. - non-sexual) and he looked at me with one eyebrow cocked and asked, "What would my father have anything to do with a motel?" I was confused, until the others laughed at the notion of my friend's father running brothel. This led me to wonder aloud, "Why would you think that first and not about the standard sleep-while-travelling kind?"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Transportation in Santiago and Chile

The Baquedano Metro station, the busiest in the Santiago
system, located at Plaza Italia
Chile has an excellent transportation infrastructure. Use it instead of renting a car and you'll save lots of money, waste only a little more time, and probably end up enjoying your travelling experiences more. Below are alternatives for getting around Chile in general with tips on getting around Santiago noted below that.

Getting Around Chile


Chile is a long and thin country. While in some places one can get from the sea to the border with Argentina in about three hours, it could take over a week to get from the border with Peru in the north to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego. Obviously flying is the quickest way to get from one place to the next over large distances, but South Americans in general, and Chileans are no different, tend to take buses instead due to their relative value over planes. Also, departure and arrival times make busing convenient as well. And let's be clear, the quality of buses in Chile blow North American and European buses out of the water. It's not even close, folks. For US$40 one can take an overnight bus from Santiago to Pucon and eat and sleep better than with a first class ticket on a plane. Yes, it's a nine-hour ride, but if it leaves at 11pm and arrives 8am and you slept in a seat better than a bed in a hostel then does it really matter? For some, it might, but trust me when I say that it is easy to get a good night's sleep on these buses and it will save a lot of money, too.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dancing in Buenos Aires

Thinking about Argentina
Having come to Chile to write for six months, I was faced with the common 90-day limit on being in the country that everyone else faces without permission to stay longer. My original plan was to take the bus east, over the Andes and past the magnificent Aconcagua, to Mendoza to renew my tourist visa. This was a cheap, quick, and easy way to accomplish this feat, but as I met friends here in Chile, and as we talked about the must-see cultural places in South America, and as we did this I realized that I wasn't going to visit the northern part of the continent, I soon came to the conclusion that I really wanted to go to Buenos Aires instead.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dreamy Uruguay

Beauty and the Beach
When we first stepped out of the bus terminal in Montevideo, and after we had walked along the green-painted sidewalk comically noted for tourists, when we got out to Rambla Franklin D. Roosevelt in search of a cab that would take us to the Tres Cruces bus terminal a couple of miles away, we were happy that we had decided to skip the capital of Uruguay in favor of the white sandy beaches of Punta del Este up north.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

South American Women (so far)

  1. Uruguay
  2. Argentina
  3. Chile
I have only been to three countries, and I've heard many things about the women in Columbia and Brasil, too, so maybe this list will change, but for now this is how it stands in my eyes (which may not be important to anyone except me). I will be in Brasil soon, so I'll get a chance to do update this in a few months (First published in March 2011).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why flying Jet Blue is a dangerous proposition

Look, everyone has issues with airlines, and when it comes to bad weather, airlines screw passengers all the time. Most carriers, however, work with other airlines and try to get you to your destination. Jet Blue, however, does not, and here is my story. (there are airline complaint links listed below) (bloggers note: photos are not indicative of the actual day's weather noted below).