A Travellerspoint blog

Argentina.. A Vegetarian Nightmare

Where the Carnivores Thrive

Warning: If you are sensitive to eating meat, looking at meat, or any regular people who eat meat, then this is not the post for you. In fact, you won't find anything green in this post.

Also due to the nature of this post and the photos in it, I was delayed in finishing this post for about 2 months since every time I would start writing, I would get hungry all of the sudden. I had to control the writing of this post as I have already gained 10 pounds since trying to start this post back in April. And yes, I am eating now as I type.

The last country in my South America adventure was Argentina, the land of meat and naps. After an exhausting escape from the land of death, this was a welcome break, although I was soon overwhelmed by the amount of people and traffic of the sprawling Buenos Aires.

(Click on the photos for bigger version and even more photos!)

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When I feel overwhelmed or stressed, I turn to food. What other place is better than an all you can eat Chinese buffet after suffering from starvation in the jungle? (Let's face it, the only good buffets is the Chinese kind.) In addition of the slow roasted pork, Hunan chicken, and pepper beef (surprisingly they have authentic more Chinese cuisines than typical American place due to a significant amount of Chinese population there), they have the local traditional food of parrilla, which is plain bbq of meats of all types. For a measly $7 (or $5 due to the black market exchange rates, if you have cold hard USD on you) I could eat as much meat as I could. Like all Asians, I immediately went for the most expensive meats they had, skipping any other cheap fillers such as fruits, vegetables and carbs (with the exception of rice).

To tell you the truth I couldn't remembered much from that day as I soon fell asleep during siesta. Although only I didn't wake up until the next day and found that from others who described to me that I had a food overdose (similar to how people act and forget about events after drinking too much).

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Waking up from a meat filled food coma, I felt the after effects of a food hangover. Which feels pretty similar to a regular hangover, except all the pain is concentrated in your stomach. As a hangover is due to the imbalance of ions in your body due to the processing, and now lacking of alcohol, the feeling can be diminished by drinking more alcohol. So following those professional given advice from a random stranger, I applied it to curing my food hangover by finding the nearest food stall that I could find. And guess what, it worked.

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Walking down the street I felt something has changed, no longer there were the towering skyscrapers and noisy traffic, it was replaced by a mountainous backdrop with a breathtaking =P view. Then I realized somehow after the food coma I ended up in El Calefate, the capital of outdoor hiking in Argentinian Patagonia. But even with its remoteness and in such a small town there are still plenty of parilla to go around.

Remember those two talking llamas that I encountered back in Peru? I think I have found their cousins resting next to a hot fire, albeit with slightly less fur. Too bad, only if they knew their final fate, they might not have been so eager to go to the city.

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Of course, staring at those stretched out lean meats made the inside of mouth uncontrollably moist (I am salivating now as I type) and I had to gave into my inner meat eating demons. I immediately ran into restaurant and ordered an entire plate of meat. And that's all I ordered. I didn't even order water as I was already over hydrated by my own saliva by then. The meat tasted extremely rich, just like its price, which cost $30 due to being a tourist town and the fact the next independent meat source is well over 200 km away.

Sure I did other things in Argentina, like hiking on a glacier and riding boat under Iguazu falls, but nothing can be compared to even just staring at that plate of meat right now....

Overall my trip throughout South America was fantastic. It filled with intelligible spanglish, breath taking views, many encounters with death, and meat eating glory. Certainly a land I would come back and re-experience each of those aspects at a more leisurely pace after when I get my 1 week vacation upgrade after working at the same place for 5 more years.

But as for now, I am hungry again, brb...

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Posted by btang 06/05/2014 10:43 Archived in Argentina Tagged glacier waterfall argentina chicken bbq meat iguazu beef patagonia pork sausage lamb parrilla no_vegiterians no_vegans omg_i_am_so_hungry_right_now Comments (0)

The land of death in Bolivia, Part 2

What about in a mine? Or eaten alive in the jungle?

Did you know that by mentioning the word "naked" in my previous blog post title, the view count shot up by more than 1500% compared to the entry before that one? Maybe I should do that more for some sensational blogging. Anyways, back to Bolivia...

(Click on the photos for bigger version and even more photos!)

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As I awoken from the haze, I found myself half naked in complete darkness. I should have known that the hot showers at the end of the desert was too good to be true. Suddenly, a match lid up and I struggled to make out the blurry figure that stood before me. It turns out, in order to conserve their battery pack in the tunnels, the miners at Potosi operate in complete darkness for a good portion of their 14 hour days. The mining city used to be known as the richest city in the world due to the silver in its mines, but the Spaniards made sure that wasn't the case anymore. Anyways, an average miner has an life expectancy of 40 years, I didn't last 40min before my breath was taken away due to claustrophobia and lack of oxygen (one of the highest mines in the world at more than 4000 m, 13000 ft).

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Stumbling out of the mines (plus an 8 hour bus ride and a 2 hour plane ride) I found myself in the basin of the Amazon rainforest. At 32C (90F) and 90+% humidity, boy was it hot and humid. No matter how scantily I dress, I sweat a good 250ml (8.4oz) every hour when walking with the pack (yes, I am a human fire hydrant), which was a problem because I would need to bring about 3L (100oz) of water just for a single day/night hike or I would've died of dehydration... in the rainforest no less. So 3 days amounted to 9L (9kg or 20 lbs worth) of water! But luckily another hiker had a water filtration device and I was saved from death from once again.

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One thing you have to watch out for are the fire ants crawling all over the place. These little buggers' sting can pack quite a punch. Their sting actually contains a neurotoxin that paralyzes the prey before ripping them to smaller pieces alive and carried back to the nest. For bigger prey like me, a single sting would just result a sharp, fiery pain for about an hour (or two if you have sensitive skin like me, I keep them well lotioned everyday), but with enough stings I would end up lying on the ground, unable to move, getting nibbled down to the bones... *shudders*

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If the dangers of jungles weren't dangerous enough, some people actually jump off of cliffs onto a tree branch just for a selfie, like this guy did back in 2007. I guess some people will do anything for a few more likes on a facebook profile pictures.

Overall, I escaped death 5 times during my trip throughout Bolivia and it has certainly been a memorable experience. Would I recommend the trip to other people who are afraid for their life and even leaving their own towns? Of course, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Would I do it again? Nope.

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Posted by btang 03/28/2014 20:40 Archived in Bolivia Tagged rainforest jungle mines amazon bolivia potosí south_america silver madidi Comments (0)

Polar what?

I guess you have never been naked in Alaska

sunny -50 °C

OK I have to take a break and address some current events. So apparently in the past few weeks many people, who have never ran around in the snow naked before, freaked out about how cold it was outside. All the commotions in the media vaguely reminded me of The Day After Tomorrow:

"Sir! The polar vortex is upon us! "
"We will have to declare national emergency! We must move everyone south of Indiana! With exception of people in Chicago"
"Yes Sir! We will communicate the order right away! ... wait, why not people from Chicago?"
"Because they think they are tough and can survive any cold weather."

...

"Sir! Reports from the south indicates people are freaking out over white stuff floating in the air!"
"What?! Are we under attack? Is it nuclear fallout??"
"No sir, it's just now."
..facepalm..
"Sir, it is creating massive traffic jams, we can't move any people north of Indiana southward."
"Oh god help us."

(Click on the photos for bigger version and even more photos!)

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For those who never been to Alaska in the middle of January, it is the coldest place on Earth. Once you reach -50C (-60F) your body can no longer detect the difference below that, even if you are naked. The thermometer pictured above proves that there are no temperature below -50C, even the temperature range on the Traverllerspoint blog entry posting proves this.

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It is so cold that even the malamutes starts to howl at night. Actually, they howl because we started doing it, some of the people tried to sleep was not too pleased, but it was a pretty cool sight nonetheless. Although the cold does slow the dogs quite a bit; the same 3 hour journey that took us in the warmer morning to sled, took us almost 5 hours to come back. I had to sing them motivational and upbeat songs to keep them going. I am now a professional singer.

Also to note, malamutes are not the same as huskies. They are built like an ox that can pull ridiculous amount of weight for equally ridiculous amount of time compared their more energetic cousins who are built more like a small race horse. Also, when they jump on you, you will feel quite a big difference.

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Due to some sort of sorcery, the photo above is actually the mid day sun. Not that I am complaining, as it gives the golden light (think photography people) all day long, even it's only 4 hours. There was also a strange halo around the sun, as known as sun dog, which is similar to rainbows, instead of refractions from water dropplets, the colors comes from the orientations of the ice crystals and it is much cooler.... get it? cooler?.... ok I'm done.

Just one last caution, when you dog sled, you do not stop the whole team if any of them needs to go to the bathroom. However, it is highly advisable, from personal experience, that you slow down, so you don't end up with a face full of dog exhausts.

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Posted by btang 02/10/2014 20:52 Archived in USA Tagged snow alaska dogs sled cold northern_lights husky dog_sledding sun_dog malamute Comments (0)

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