Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Proud to be an American

We've grown pretty accustomed to wishing we carried any passports other than ours. So far, the only good they have done is to cost us over a thousand dollars worth of "reciprocity fees" to enter nearly every country we've visited. Thanks U.S. Government for making it so expensive for foreigners to visit us. The few of us who actually travel outside of America appreciate it.

Anyhow, during our visit to the American Embassy, old glory finally hooked us up. We felt like real VIPs surpassing the (literally) hundreds of people lined up around the building. Expecting to have to hand over my passport for a few days, we were shocked when they told us to have a seat while they took care of it. An hour later, we walked out with fresh new passport pages in hand, free of charge. The DMV could really learn something here.

Accommodations #22

Plaza Hostel
Buenos Aires, Argentina
110 Argentine Pesos (approx $29)/night

As I mentioned briefly in my previous post...

This. Place. Was. Awful. Officially the worst of all twenty two places we have stayed in on our trip so far, which I'd say is quite an accomplishment.

I would have taken photos, but looking at them would have probably given you hepatitis.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cape Town looks alot like Buenos Aires

We knew we were early for our flight. My mom was flying home the same day we were headed to South Africa, so we went to the airport with her a good four hours in advance. What we did not know, is that our flight was inexplicably delayed SIX HOURS. Who's ever heard of a flight being delayed six hours for no apparent reason?? A roundtrip cab back to the city for the day would cost 200 pesos. A bottle of good wine in the terminal's wine shop would set us back 40. We made ourselves comfortable.

After bidding farewell to my mom, we filled several hours with wireless internet, McDonald's and Malbec. Just before the currency exchange closed, we sold our last few hundred pesos for a fistfull of South African Rand. When our check in counter finally opened (at nearly 10pm) we moseyed over, anxious to finally unload our bags.

Now, I've discovered a pattern in the way that Reece and I deal with, how shall I say, unfortunate situations. Reece allows a moment to take it in, and immediately begins working on a solution. I experience a cycle of disbelief followed by denial.

When the gentleman behind the counter took a long look at my passport and informed me that I would not be permitted to board my flight, I knew there must be some sort of mistake. When he explained that South Africa requires an entire blank visa page in one's passort in order to enter the country (which I no longer have), I was certain there was a way I could get around this. And when he went on to warn that if I DID take the flight I would be arrested upon arrival in Cape Town, my brain ceased to function entirely.

It took me a good five minutes, while Reece discussed our options with the kind man, before I acknowledged that we'd really just spent six hours at the airport for nothing. That it was now very late to try to find a hostel. And that - SHIT - we'd just rid ourselves of every last peso we had. You're probably be thinking, "But surely there must be an ATM machine at the airport, right?" Yes my friends. However, much like back home, the end of the month means empty bank accounts (Reece's financial advisor issues us "paychecks" every two weeks).

Lucky for us, I had one or two good ideas before we left the US. One of which was to open a separate account with a couple hundred dollars in it for extreme emergencies. Since Chase ATM cards have a Mastercard logo, I figured it'd be smart to have a B of A Visa card as back-up, in case certain countries only accept one or the other. Or, you know, in case we ever exchanged all of our money for a currency belonging to a country I'm not allowed into. Either way.

Anyhow. The bad news is, our cab back to the city was outrageously overpriced and the hostel we got stuck in was awful. The good news is, our US passports finally did us some good (as opposed to merely requiring us to pay outrageous reciprocity fees in every country we visit). We were able to bypass the TREMENDOUS line at the embassy, there was no charge to add pages to my passport, and they took care of it on the spot while we waited.

Now it's three more days in BA, before Cape Town Attempt Round 2. Wish us luck.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Accommodations #21

Fancy Shmancy Apartment
Buenos Aires, Argentina
?? Pesos (approx $82)/night

Moms don't stay in hostels. So when mom travels thousands of miles to visit us, we don't stay in hostels either!

This two bedroom, two bathroom beauty was our home for a week in Buenos Aires. And it's the first place we have stayed in that truly feels like a home. In fact, it's bigger than any apartment we've ever had. We'd almost forgotten how nice it is to eat a bowl of cereal on the couch in front of a flat screen TV.

Well over our budget, for cerain. But a steal compared to staying in a hotel. It's gonna take some effort to get our travel momentum going after a relaxing, luxurious week here.

Living area

Dining area


View from our balcony

Bedroom #1

Bathroom #1

Bedroom #2

Bathroom #2

Please note one's ability to shit and shower at the same time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Argentina has really introduced us to some enlightening music.

First it was Ricardo Arjona on our bus to Iguazu Falls.

Next it was live tango music, compliments of a 26 piece orchestra in a free theater in Buenos Aires. (I wish I could post the video, it was all kinds of awesome. But the file is WAY too large.)

Finally, it's this little ditty. How can you resist pretty girls eating flowers and then farting butterflies??

Julieta Venegas - Bien O Mal (Official Music Video) - The best home videos are here

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some people (perhaps those not of Mexican descent) may not understand the overwhelming need for Mexican food. It is a constant craving. A desire that cannot (unlike, say, pizza) be satisfied with BAD Mexican food. Living without it for three months has been both challenging and sad.

In Chile, we actually found a supermarket once that carried tortillas. Tortillas AND taco seasoning! It was one of my highlights of this trip. Cooking so-so Mexican food in our hostel almost hits the spot, but the longing continues.

Upon our arrival to Buenos Aires, I read about a little spot by the name of California Burrito Company. The guidebook promised succulent meats and spicy salsas. They even put the word "tortillas" in italics (that means it's authentic). Visions of guacamole and sour cream danced in my head.

I was determined to visit there on our very first day, despite the pouring rain we'd been greeted with. Well, as with all things travel, it was much more difficult to get there than we had anticipated. And the rain was, as it goes without saying, horrendous. We arrived completely soaked and ferociously starving.

This story does not even need an ending. Let's just say, I was not pleased.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mom's here!!

And you know what that means... We have hit the motherload!

Pun intended.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mendoza, Argentina

Some wine. A bit of wine. And a little wine.

For photos of Mendoza, click HERE.

Accomodation #20

Winca's Aparts
Mendoza, Argentina
120 Argentinian Pesos (approx $31)/night

For our visit to Mendoza, we decided to fancy it up and rent our own apartment. Well, I use the term "fancy" loosely. A bed full of ants and a bathroom that smells like the sewer may not be luxurious to some. But, having our own little kitchen and multiple decks for al fresco dining is pretty much where it's at.

We realized, despite the ant bites, that this place really is all anybody needs. Once we got settled it felt quite homey. Moving forward, we are definitely thinking more apartments and less hostels.

Somehow, the photos make it look much more sparkly than it really was. Must be the birthday flowers on the table.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

You want to hear a ridiculous travel story?

I’ll tell you a fucking ridiculous travel story.

It’s no secret that Reece and I love wine. And of all the wines we enjoy, the one we love most is Renacer. It is a wine whose relationship with us began long before we even tasted it, when we spotted it on a menu in a small San Francisco restaurant. Our curiosity was piqued, and the sommelier felt passionately about what we suspected – This was a delicious bottle of wine. Also, sadly, too expensive to justify purchasing. Months later on our anniversary, I surprised Reece with a visit to the same restaurant, a table reserved for us with the coveted bottle prominently displayed. And for xmas, what would I order online but a selection of their wines delivered to our door. (The finest bottle, their reserve blend, was eventually enjoyed months later on the rooftop of an RV during an insane dust storm at Burning Man.)

Anyhow. From the moment we started planning this trip, we knew we had to come to Mendoza and visit Bodega Renacer. We looked longingly at their website and imagined the day we would step foot into the image on the screen. We fantasized about a lazy afternoon spent sipping fine wines on their sunny terrace. We were certain that the winemaker himself would come out to greet us, so flattered by the distance we had traveled that he’d insist on sending us home with a free bottle. Butterflies and rainbows, this is a day we have been looking forward to our entire trip.

We arrived in Mendoza the day before my birthday. I had just two wishes to celebrate my special day: a visit to Renacer, and a fancy three course lunch with wine pairings.

Now let me just tell you a bit about the wine tasting scene in Mendoza. There are two main towns that have a concentration of enough wineries that people are able to partake in self guided tours. For clarity, let’s call one “Easy Town”, and the other “Impossible Town”. In Impossible Town, the bike rentals and the tastings cost twice the price as in Easy Town. In Impossible Town, it is required that you have a precise reservation at each winery you visit, and they take these times VERY seriously. In Impossible Town, the map is not only “not to scale” but apparently upside down and inverted, cause the majority of the vineyards on it are too far away, even if they appear to be on the way to the one your bike rental guy is pushing.

Why, you might ask, would anybody in their right mind visit Impossible Town? Cause that is where Renacer is, of course.

We rose bright and early for our big day. We walked 12 long blocks to the proper stop. We waited a frustrating half hour. We crammed ourselves into the sardine-packed bus. An hour and a half later, the “30 minute trip” had ended, and we walked up the street to pick up our bikes.

Now that you are aware of how Impossible Town works, you can imagine how difficult my request for a Renacer visit PLUS a winery lunch would be. The bike guy made call after call, each new reservation he was able to secure conflicting somehow with something we already had scheduled. In the shuffle, our reservation at Renacer was lost. The poor guy begged and pleaded on our behalf, explained how far we had come and how important this visit was to us, but they would not budge. After two hours of sitting in this guy’s office trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of appointments, we were ready to throw in the towel. Who knew wine tasting could be so freaking stressful?? Our priority in coming here was of course to visit Renacer, and the best they could do was get us in the following morning. We decided what was left of our day would be best spent in Easy Town enjoying some relaxing, appointment-free wine tasting.

In an attempt to get to my “ridiculous travel story” already (believe it or not, we aren’t there yet), I’ll skip the details and just say we had an awesome day, met lots of people, and took advantage of the “free wine for customers” at Easy Town’s bike rental facility late into the evening. When our 7:00am alarm signaled it was time to begin day two, needless to say we were in no shape to do anything of the sort.

On day three, we rise even earlier, determined to get a jump start on our mission. It’s drizzling a bit but we aren’t concerned, as Mendoza is blessed with 360 days of sunshine per year. Today is the big event, and I plan to dress the part (as best as I can, living out of a backpack). I pull out my dainty white button down shirt (for the first time on this trip). I pair it with shorts and sandals. I do my hair. I even dust off my make-up kit for a little color.

On our walk to the bus stop, it starts raining. Like, really raining. A LOT. As we stand, unsheltered, waiting for the bus, the downpour becomes downright torrential. We discuss what morons we are for not bringing raincoats. We do, however, still have a sarong in our backpack from a previous picnic attempt, which has become a very useful shawl in the whole “dainty white shirt” situation.

During the bus ride, we watch the sky and try to predict how soon the rain will disperse. “I see blue skies in that direction.” “Oh yeah, it’s totally clearing up.” As we get further from the city center, the streets become flooded and the bus slows to a crawl, splashing waves of muddy rainwater as high as the windows. We start to wonder what the hell we are doing out here. We must really love this wine.

At this point, we would have nixed the bike thing altogether and figured out a four-wheeled form of transportation. But we had already canceled on the guy once, we thought he was expecting us again, and after all the work he’d done I felt obligated to fulfill our rental agreement. We arrived just in time, and while something was strangely lost in communication and he was NOT expecting us, he was miraculously able to get us another Renacer reservation. In twenty minutes.

We raced through the paperwork, hopped on our bikes and pedaled away furiously. After all the runaround we’d been through with them and the miraculous last minute accommodation, the last thing we wanted to do was be late. Struggling with my gears and completely out of breath, I pedaled against the rain in hot pursuit of our destination. We laughed at how crazy we were. We yelled at passing cars as they splashed puddles on us. We hoped that they would still let us in soaking wet.

When the puddles on the street got too large, I opted to ride on the dirt path to the right of the road. Having attended USCB, I know that riding your bike through a muddy puddle equals a brown stripe up your back. And I certainly did not want to soil my outfit. At one point I became surrounded by thick pools of mud, and had to make my way back onto the pavement. I got off my bike and surveyed my surroundings. Between myself the street was a rushing river of rainwater, about three feet across. I chose a spot that appeared most narrow, and attempted to secure my footing for a jump. As soon as I placed my foot in front of me I felt it begin to sink, and my first thought was “Oh shit, my shoes are going to get completely soaked!” Before I could finish forming that thought, the feeling of earth disappeared from under me and I was chest deep in a trench of muddy gutter water. Shocked and horrified, I began screaming for Reece as I sank further into the swamp.

By the time he saved me from certain death by poo water, my bike had sunk completely. He grabbed it by the back tire and yanked it out to safety, covered in mud and roots and god-knows-what. By this point I am a crying, filthy and shaking mess. Completely drenched. Shorts coated in mud. Leaves stuck to my legs. And three cars pulled over alongside the road to see if I was okay.

Out of one car emerged a little old Argentinian woman, rattling off in frantic Spanish about me getting sick in the cold rain. She tore off her oversized wool cardigan and insisted that I take it. My attempts to politely decline were met with grandmotherly hugs and kisses and an absolute unwillingness to take no for an answer. I accepted gratefully.

Reece, doing his best to conceal his laughter, acknowledges that it’s about time to give up and go home. Hell no! We didn’t come this far to turn around. Truthfully, I wanted to get to a bathroom to wash off ASAP, and the thought of sitting in a crowded bus for an hour before doing so totally freaked me out. So, back on the bike I go.

We arrive at Renacer, a disheveled and exhausted mess. Sophisticated couples are getting out of chauffeured town cars in their Sunday best. We tell one of the guides briefly what happened, and he shows me to the restroom. Each step leaves a muddy imprint on their white marble floors. I lock the door behind me, and practically take a bath in the bidet. I wash my clothes in the sink, and then spend twenty minutes trying to clean up the mud splattered all over their pristine bathroom. I can hear Reece outside of the door making nervous small talk with the guide. I am more thankful than ever for the sarong, as there is no putting my soaked shorts back on. And what will I wear on underneath? Clearly, Reece’s boxer briefs. Now that is a true gentleman.

I emerge from the bathroom and join the tour just as they sit down to begin the winemaking demonstration and tasting. There I was, after a year of anticipation, in the exclusive tasting room of Bodega Renacer. Wearing a giant old lady sweater, a Brazilian flag sarong, and my boyfriend’s underwear. Folks, I have taken classy to a whole new level.

So, you may be wondering how the wine was. In a word, disappointing. The few varietals they poured were ones we had tried before. The premier bottle that we came for was completely sold out until next season. And the hostess had no interest in how far we’d come or what we had been through to get there, as it was an unwelcome distracted from her own story about her winemaking boyfriend. We left with a Renacer bag that held not a free bottle of fantastic Malbec, but rather my mud-caked shoes (that were so kindly taken from me before I ventured any further into the establishment).

Oh, you thought the story ended here? One would think so. But no, there’s more.

The appointment woman comes in at the end of our tasting, and lets us know there is somebody outside waiting for us. Turns out our bike rental guy had come to escort us to our next appointment, worried we may not find our way in the rain. We tell him the story, and on the ride into town even attempt to show him where it happened. Reece points excitedly towards the steadily growing rapids... "Hugo, that's where it happened, right there...!!" Without hesitation, Hugo rides his bike right for it, and face first directly into it. Apparently he thought Reece was saying, "Let's go this way!!" I was convinced he did it on purpose, to be funny and make me feel better. But as the poor kid salvaged his own bike from the canal, it was clear the nose dive was an unexpected for him as it was for us.

Ah, traveling. Stories like this... that's why we do it.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I would rather have a meal with this guy than with Ronald any day.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Woke up to this.

Took care of some important errands (yes, even care-free world travelers occasionally have to run errands).

And now we're planning the Big Day O' Wine celebrations that will ensue tomorrow. We take our preparations very seriously.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Patagonia, Argentina

Snow capped mountains. Bottles of wine. Waterfalls. Wind. Irish coffees. Rain. Steaks. Glaciers. Boats. Whiskey on the (glacial) rocks. Crampons.

For photos of our Patagonian experience, click HERE.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Accommodations #19

Albergue Mochilero Hostel
El Calafate, Arentina
120 Argentinian Pesos (approx $31)/night

Aside from the fact that the receptionist was a SERIOUS bitch, they gave away our reservation which we had made (in person) days in advance, and the other patrons were fantastically loud and obnoxious, we enjoyed our stay here.

Pretty much as generic as they come, but clean and WiFi enabled with a comfy bed and private bathroom. It's also always an extra treat when we have additional beds to sprawl all of our stuff out on.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Estepa Resto & Bar

It's not very often you have a meal that's good enough to write home to mom about. In our 2.5 months of travel, four dining experiences stand out to us above all others. When eating out just about every day, I think that's a pretty special destinction. So, I've decided it's time to start writing home about them.

The first two, I would say, are quite unexpected.

- Thai food in Cusco, Peru. You didn't see that one coming, did you? I don't even remember the name of the restaurant. But the steamed dumplings and musaman curry with coconut rice were absolutely to die for.

- Indian food in La Paz, Bolivia. Even stranger, no? I'm pretty sure the restaurant was called Star of India. It was run by a British guy, so you know it's gonna be good. Best saag paneer I have ever hd the pleasure of tasting. Out of this world chicken tikka masala. The naan and raita were pretty average, but my socks had already been knocked off so who cares.

- Our third noteworthy meal was the Brazilian steakhouse experience in Rio. Which I've already described in mouth watering detail.

- And most recently, El Chalten, Argentina makes our list with Estepa Resto & Bar. The eight hour hike that presceded this meal may have whet our appetites, but holy molehill it was delicious. The onion cream soup with a giant mound of freshly baked bread could have stood on it's own, but the entrees to follow are what really stole my heart. A malbec soaked filet mignon. Pumpkin sorrentinos (giant raviolis) with four cheese sauce (yes, blue cheese was one of them). The two went so perfectly together that I wanted to approach every arriving party and advise them that there is no need to look at the menu, THIS is what they must order.

Pair that with superb and affordable Patagonian wine... YUMMMMMMMMM. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Accommodations #18

Albergue lo de Trivi
El Chalten, Argentina
130 Argentinian Pesos (approx $34)/night

El Chalten is a tiny little town. Only last year they finished paving the road from El Calafate, and I can imagine how it's going to explode in the years to come. Just in the time since my travel guides were published, the town has installed its very first ATM machine, multiplied its internet facilities fivefold (it's still provided via satellite and is too slow and expensive to actually bother using), and paved it's main street.

There are tons of opportunities there for someone who may want to open a 'tiny mountain town' sort of business. A good bar with good beer, a massage place, some sort of spa/sauna/jaccuzi facility... There are all kinds of things it lacks which we imagine would be hugely successful there. The town only came into existence in 1985, and construction is taking place on every corner. It was really neat to visit at the brink of what's to come, and I'd love to see how different it is in five years.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about the place we stayed. It was lovely. The father (one of only 600 people who reside in El Chalten year round) and two sons who ran the place were lovely. Here it is.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Wind like you have never seen, heard, or felt in your life (unless perhaps you have been in a hurricane, which I have not). Wind that whips your face raw. Wind that will knock you right over (truly), if you don't crouch low and stand your ground. Wind that (several times) made me want to quit, turn around and find the nearest shelter.

El Chalten boasts the title of "National Trekking Capital". People come from around the globe to this tiny town in Patagonia to conquer the many hikes it has to offer. And it couldn't be easier to develop an itinerary. They hand you a map when you arrive, trailheads start right in town, and there are no park entrance fees. Just zip up your jacket (and hat and gloves and glasses) and go.

During our four days there, Reece and I hiked a total of FORTY miles (two fairly easy 2-3 mile days, and two monster 17-20 mile days). I didn't know I had that many miles in me.

The second day, we challenged ourselves to the beast that is Laguna de los Tres, found at the top of a 3400 meter, snow-capped mountain called Fitz Roy. The last half mile of our five hour ascent was straight uphill, up boulders rather, rocks tumbling beneath each wobbly footstep and fierce winds threatening to toss you off the side of the mountain at any time. It was excruciating. And the reward at the top, along with an incredible turquoise-blue lake and breathtaking views, was the lack of any hillside to protect you from the worst the wind has to offer. Just standing still, every muscle in my body ached as I braced myself against the power of it. It was unreal.

On the way down, it began drizzling, so we forewent our picnic lunch and made our way as quickly as possible over the most dangerous section and into the relative protection of the forrest a mile below. After eating, our feet hurt unlike anything I've ever experienced, and we still had about three hours of hiking ahead of us. I can honestly say that Fitx Roy was more difficult, physically, than any single day on the Inca Trail.

Am I glad we did it? Absolutely.

If I knew how hard it would to be, would I still have done it? Absolutely not.

Yet, that didn't stop me from doing the second most strenuous hike (Cerro Torres) two days later...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Peanut Butter

Is the world's most perfect food. It's sweet. It's salty. It's packed with protien. And perhaps of all of it's favorable attributes, the very best is that it requires no refrigeration.

Peanut butter, you are a traveler's best friend.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Speaking of buses

One thing I forgot to mention, is 30 hour buses also pull over every now and then, in order for the drivers to bang around on things behind and under the bus. No biggie, it gives us a chance to stretch our legs and check out the sunset.

On the way to Patagonia, we encountered this formerly alive creature on the side of the road. Can anybody identify what the hell it is?? It has horns. I'm scared.

Maybe these additional bones found nearby will help you solve the mystery.

I have one thing to say...

...about 30 hour bus rides. They aren't that bad. Honestly!! I would take a 30 hour bus ride over a flight one third that length any day.

We have come to appreciate overland travel in general. No lines, no security hassles, no luggage issues, no taking your shoes off (until you are kicking back in relaxation). As opposed to a typically pricey cab ride to an airport, you can take a leisurly stroll to the bus terminal that's usually right in town. There's a bathroom on the bus of course. And movies, lots of movies. We watched Avatar on the way here, in fact. Hot water to make tea and cup o' noodles. And the attendant comes around every now and then with sodas and snacks and pillows and blankets.

The most important thing that a bus has over a plane (if you book yourself a "cama" ticket), is that your seat is practically as comfortable as a Lazy Boy. There are few things I enjoy more than a deep recline.

On the overnight trip from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, we've learned there is a "First Class" option. We are anxiously looking forward to fine food and wine, WiFi, and a FULLY 180 DEGREE RECLINING SEAT!! Take THAT "2-hour flight".

Monday, March 8, 2010

San Carlos de Bariloche

At first, we weren't nuts about Bariloche. We thought that Puerto Varas, across the border (and the Andes) was very similar yet more charming.

However, once we hit the pavement on our mountain bikes, we learned what all the hype was about. I would love to devote an entire trip to exploring the lake district. It is absolutely gorgeous.

For photos, click HERE.

Accommodations #17

La Justina Hostel
Bariloche, Argentina
100 Argentinian Pesos (approx $26)/night

The reviews of this place warned us. The bathrooms would be dirty. The commom areas could be noisy. It was a five block hike up-hill from the center of town.

We booked it anyway, cause it was one of the few places in pricey Bariloche that had any respect for our budget. The pictures looked cute, so I decided to ignore the naysayers and go with my gut.

I could not have been more pleased. Either they've hired a new cleaning staff recently, or the previous guests are whiners. The house was a pleasant enough ten minute walk from the main road. It was cute and intimate and our room had everything we could ask for. The shared bathroom was right next to our door, and certainly met my cleanliness expectations after 2+ months of traveling. The free breakfast included tasty homemade cakes and jam. And they have a friendly dog, who absolutely refused to look at me for any photos.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Is it some big secret that mountain biking is fucking HARD?! Why didn't anybody ever fill me in on it??

Our visit to Bariloche was a quick one, so we wanted to get out and cover as much ground as possible. With Reece just getting over the same bug I had in Pucón, we decided to take the ground-covering sight seeing "easy" with a bike ride through the lake district town.

Boy were we mistaken. Half the time was spent huffing, puffing, and walking our bikes up each increasingly steep hill. The other half of the time (for me at least) was spent screeching my brakes with hand numbing intensity while flying down trencherous mountain roads.

Luckily, the weather and scenery was absolutely, jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Like most places we've visited, I would have loved to spend much more time there.

Fondue Part Duex

What better way to follow various breads and fruit dipped in a creamy pot of melting cheese in Chile, than with beef cooked in a boiling pot and dipped in various savory sauces in Argentina??