No Pee Free
It´s strange, in a country where people take such pride in having clean stores, restaurants and sidewalks, that the washrooms in almost every place are downright scary. No TP, no toilet seats, no towels, soap or often running water. You may dine in a classy joint, finish off your meal with champagne and tiramisu in the finest of environments, then excuse yourself only to be transported into a dungeon-like afterthought of a restroom. What´s interesting is that the finest cans are in gas stations, opposite to what we are used to in Canada. And, to top things off, in every public location, there is an attendant who does not keep things in order, but sits and collects pesos for the privilege of relief and expects more if you are in need of a square or two. In Chile, you cannot even enter the room without paying a turnstile guard 100 pesos to get in. The one rule: Always BYOTP.
Throwing Out Plastic
It´s hard, but when you don´t trust the taps you are destined to consume bottled water. Unfortunately, this means having to toss them out when you´re done. In the trash. No recycling exists that we´ve seen other than in private school yards. And what they do with that plastic is unknown. Paper, metal tins, glass bottles (except beer and wine), plastics of all kinds and organics all get tossed. Having grown up with the Three R´s it´s a difficult thing to get used to.
Some of the finest ice cream in the world is made in Argentina. So they say. But we´ve done a fair share of sampling and it could very well be true. Frutillas for Sandra and delicious Argentine Dulce de Leche for Dave. At the local "helados artesanal" a double portion in a waffle cone runs you about two pesos and the desert is sculpted into a tower of creamy delight. But don´t lick it with your tongue or you´ll get looked at funny - there´s a reason that tiny spoon is poking out of the top. This isn´t DQ, but small-batch, homemade goodness for those hot days and nights.
Never order fresh lemonade. Unless you like 13 lemons squeezed into a glass and served semi-warm. One huge gulp through a straw when parched is enough to kill your tastebuds for the rest of the day.