Road Trip To Patagonia

This is an excerpt from an original post published at The Ends Of The Earth BLOG to read the entire post check out the link and follow to chefs turned expat in Patagonia.

YELLOW MEANS GO

While I slept, Cory went exploring. The next morning, he couldn’t wait to get me in the passenger seat. I quickly learned why the grab bar located above your head in an automobile is loving referred to as “the oh, shit handle.” As I gasped and nearly peed my pants, Cory navigated the streets of Buenos Aires, laughing the whole time. Allow me to paint a picture. This is one of the largest cities in the world. Millions of cars are zipping in and out of your lane without a blinker. Stop signs? Where they do exist, they are there as a polite suggestion. If an inch of room exists between you and the car in front of you expect another moving vehicle to soon occupy that space. All of this chaos happens in a matter of seconds…yet it works. As soon as you think you have properly assessed the traffic situation you arrive at a traffic light.

This is the half time show. Take a deep breath and prepare for round dos. For your viewing pleasure, roadside street performers and hustlers are willing to entertain you for a few pesos. There is not much time to watch the rabble because you are not in fact at a stop light, you are in a drag race. Before the light turns green, it turns yellow. Yellow means GO! People here are very gratuitous with their horns, so I suggest you move unless you want to take a lesson in Spanish swearing. As hazardous as this may all seem, it was a part of the adventure. Our compact meandered back alleyways meant for a single car that miraculously fit three and on to the food!

FOLLOW YOUR NOSE

We quickly discarded the notion of using a GPS to navigate the streets. A hidden talent of chefs, especially two ravenous ones, is the power of our noses. We can and will find good food within a small radius. Our united sniffers led us down a cobblestone road where bakers crossed the street delivering hot pan casero to the local bistros. The people bustled about the city, yet no one seemed to be in a hurry. Then, we found it. A small sign simply labeled “coffee” signaled the entrance to an other worldly Latin style bizarre.

Once inside, we knew the meat gods had smiled gracefully upon us. It was like discovery zone for chefs. The smell of curing salami and moldy cheese permeated the air, making our mouths water. We didn’t even know where to begin. We couldn’t remove our eyes from the Ferrari of all espresso machines directly in front of us. Also, we heard English being spoken by the barista behind the machine. It seemed an obvious beginning. Our next stop was to feed the need screaming from the holes in our bellies. We knew overindulgence was very likely, so came hungry. We began with an appetizer of our first authentic cordero empanadas served from a rickety stall. The first bite of crispy pastry quickly changed into a mouth gasam of succulent lamb and a hint of picante. Research at its finest.

THE ROAD TO PERMANENT RESIDENCY

Food diversification in South Argentina is a moot point. Also, we had almost a weeks worth of travel ahead of us in our compact put-put mobile. This was the food that was to sustain us. We were increasingly aware that roadside fast food options are non-existent on the scenic Ruta 40. Time was of the essence. We had calculated only 4 days to travel from the nation’s capital to the hippie capital of the world, El Bolson. In our initial oh, so well planned out time line, we had forgotten another important detail. We had not allotted ample time in the capital. Half a day was all we had granted ourselves to spend in one of the largest cities on the planet. Buenos Aires is a vibrant city. It is called the Paris of Latin America. I find that fitting.

As per usual, Cory and I were behind schedule. We were set to arrive at our next Airbnb in a few short hours. It was 7 hours away. Needless to say, our time management as a couple needs help. In an effort to prioritize, we got in the car and began traveling. But you see… there were several incredibly important stops still to make. True, we didn’t know they were important until we saw them. But stop we must. The food gods demanded it. This was to be the beginning of an almost month long addiction to tasting every bakery that was easy on the eyes. If this was our college initiation, we were determined to do the freshmen 15 justice. We sped through historic districts, looking for promising bakeries and must stop foodie hubs on our way out of that city. The tourist attractions would be left for another day. Suddenly, it dawned on us. We were not tourists. We were not only on our way to #theendsoftheearth , but also on the road to permanent residency. {to be continued…}