Posts Tagged With: Peru

For Americans Considering A Move to Canada (If Donald Trump Becomes President)

If you are praying that Donald Trump isn't elected President of the United States and your prayers fail, no need to move to Canada. Come join these folks in Bangkok, Thailand, and pray he doesn't turn the world upside down

If you are praying that Donald Trump isn’t elected President of the United States and your prayers fail, no need to move to Canada. Come join these folks in Bangkok, Thailand, and pray for the world. Maybe make and offering. ūüôā

 

So much talk from Americans about leaving the United States should Donald Trump become president. Canada appears to be where all these disgruntled Americans will be headed en masse, aiming straight for the northern border where hopefully “The Donald” will be too distracted building his “Great Wall” on the southern border and waging war with the world that he won’t notice the grand exodus to the north.

Canadians, of course, are not relishing this notion of Americans flocking like ants across the border to spend the next four years. They’d rather their pesky cousins stay home. Such is the relationship between Americans and Canadians. It’s best described as siblings who care about each other but can only stand the sight of each other for so much time. At least that’s the point of view of many Canadians. Have you listened to Canadian talk radio lately? ūüôā

My fellow Americans, ¬†there are hundreds of countries in this world, be more adventurous! Canada is the lazy way out and so Vietnam-era. If you are going to leave the good old U.S. of A. for four years, at least try to live it up! Canada is safe harbor. Try the expanse of the ocean, a desert’s endless stretch, a mountain full of hope, a placid beach or big waves. Plop down in a developing country and maybe do your bit to help it develop. Teach English. Learn a different culture, another language. Injoy. That’s not a misspelling: Injoy. Let joy come from within. And unleash it. Forget Canada! Make this hiatus worth your while. And use it to let the rest of the world know we’re not all like Donald Trump. Not sold? Okay, how about this: It’s freakin’ freezing in ¬†Canada. You might as well move to Alaska. At least you’d still be in the U.S.A. and not run the risk of returning to the U.S. attaching “eh” to the end of every sentence.

“how’d you like that ice cream, eh?”

Having traveled to more than 100 countries in the course of my lifetime, I’m in a good position to offer alternatives to Canada to all Americans considering escaping the U.S. while “The Donald” is wrecking it and making an even bigger mess of the world.

I’ve spent weeks and in some cases months in these places. I know them firsthand. They’ve been carefully chosen to satisfy all types of individuals and lifestyles. And they’re all better infinitely better than twiddling your thumb while you’re freezing your butt off in Canada. Did you know it snows in Canada even in the summer? Okay, no it doesn’t, that was a last-ditch effort to have you choose, say, Singapore. Never been there, but I hear it’s nice.

And alright, maybe none of these offerings are better than Canada, but you will certainly be better off choosing one of them if you want those four years to go by fast. Remember time flies when you’re having fun.

Besides, since you’ll be away for at least four years, unless “The Donald” is impeach within the first week in office for something he said or more likely did, location is everything. All these alternative countries to Canada have also been chosen based on neighboring countries. So if you by chance get bored with the country you’re in, you can travel to neighboring countries to mix things up, get back your mojo.

Alright, let’s do this. Here are my 10 alternatives countries for Americans ready to move to Canada to escape President Trump.

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  1. Medellin, Colombia: The weather is always perfect, the it’s the home of Botero, the beer is cheap, the food is great, the city has a nice vibe, the people are super friendly and welcoming and the party zone is one of the best in all of South America. Okay, I hear the groans: Isn’t Colombia dangerous? Doesn’t Medellin have a drug cartel named after it? Wasn’t this the kingdom of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar? Won’t I get shot or blown to bits upon arrival? No, yes, yes, no. Let me say this for the record. Colombia is not the same country you heard or read about on the news. Yes, there are still pockets of danger, but you know where they are and you have no business going there unless you know somebody who lives there or you are going to score some coke – highly not recommended! Stay within bounds of the city, ask locals, hang with locals, they know the deal. Medellin also has great shopping malls. Word of caution to the wannabe players: if you see a stunning woman – there are many – well put together, built of shall we say, some plastic, in a nightclub or bar, do not approach. Stand back and observe first. Make sure she’s not there with her sugar daddy kingpin, otherwise you will find yourself in a world of hurting. You’ve been warned, player. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia

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  2. Z√ľrich, Switzerland: I once traveled from the United States to Z√ľrich just to buy a watch I saw in a magazine. The watch was not yet available in the U.S. Yes, those were the days I could hop on a plane on a whim and go anywhere my heart desired. After my mission was accomplished, I stuck around Z√ľrich for a few days and fell in love with the city. Diverse, friendly, hip, happening, great vibes. I hear you still groaning: It’s damn expensive! Yes, Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries on Earth. While there I tried not to pay attention to my bill. But one day, I took a peek at how much one beer I was drinking cost, and almost fell off my bar stool: $10 for one beer! What had I just ordered, brew imported from the ends of the Earth? Anyway, Switzerland is an amazingly beautiful country, especially if you love the outdoors. And those Alps! You can’t beat them for scenic beauty. It’s a small country, so it’s easy to get around. Great place to spend for years. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: ¬†Austria, France, Italy, Germany

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  3. Cuenca, Ecuador: Worried about your inability to speak Spanish? Don’t worry, there are so many “gringos” living here that English is the unofficial second language. Just about every turn I took in Cuenca I bumped into Americans speaking English or very bad Spanish. Most of them are retirees. Who knew that Cuenca was such a big draw for U.S. retirees? They live well here on their pensions. And because there are so many Americans, many businesses have clerks on hand that speak English. I didn’t particularly care for this side of Cuenca. After all, I had left the United States and I felt like I was on an unending tour with so many Americans around. On the positive, you won’t have any shortage of people ready and able to give you tips and directions in English. Beyond this, Cuenca is a cool city, with Inca ruins and great restaurants. It has a nightlife as well. Lots of hostels full of backpackers. I enjoyed Cuenca. You will, too. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Peru, Colombia, Galapagos

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  4. ¬†Wroclaw, Poland: Yes, there’s Warsaw, the capital and financial center. And Krakow. And even Gdansk, which I absolutely loved, especially its Old Town in winter. But Wroclaw, once part of Germany, is such a cool town, with its centuries old buildings that the Germans spared during World War II. Its town squares and bars and restaurants, the city teems with people from all around the world. Not a bad place to spend your next four years. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Norway

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  5. Lagos, Portugal: You’d rather spend the next four years forgetting Donald Trump even exists? This is your great escape. Breathtaking beaches, mild winters, sizzling summers that attract party people looking for fun, but also families on holiday. Lagos is it! The town shuts down in winter, with a few businesses remaining open year-round, but come March the place begins to come alive. Careful here. You might become one of those people who came to Lagos for a weekend visit and stayed 10 years and counting. Which might be a good thing should Trump get reelected to a second 4-year term. You must go to Nah Nah Bah restaurant if you love burgers. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Spain, Morocco, Italy

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  6. Santorini, Greece: Athens has the antiquities but it lacks a soul and it definitely lacks friendly people. Worst experience I’ve had anywhere. But get out of Athens and get to the islands and it’s night and day. The people outside of Athens are super friendly, welcoming and helpful. Santorini is amazing, overlooking the bluest waters of the Mediterranean. With Greece’s recent economic woes, things are even cheaper. Greece is all about relaxing and “The Donald” will be far from your mind on Santorini, as you sit on one of its narrow streets sipping coffee in the morning or beer at night. Or beer in the morning and coffee at night. Santorini is where I intend some day to drop out of society and chill for the rest of my days. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, Israel

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  7. Vilcabamba, Ecuador: Ecuador, again. Such as small country with so much. By the way, I also LOVED Montanita. If you are a hippie or you just want to know what it’s like to be a hippie, Vilcabamba and Montanita are for you. Vilcabamba is where the Inca royalty came to play and relax. It was their retreat. Lots of trails to explore. The pace in Vilcabamba is extremely slow, so if its wild excitement you are looking for, look elsewhere. then again, it’s a great place to tune out from what “The Donald” is doing to the rest of the world, like ending it. Oh yah, like Cuenca, you will come across a fair share of Americans and Canadians, so you won’t feel bad about skipping Canada. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Chile

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  8. Bangkok, Thailand: If hot tropical weather, dirt cheap living, spicy food, best street food ever is what you need, look no further than Bangkok. This is a good place to sort of drop out and escape four years of Donald Trump. Enough here to hold your attention. Best way to get around is by riverboat. Lots of temples and Buddhas everywhere. Many similarities to China except freer, more open society. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, China

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  9. Berlin, Germany: So much history, a rich art scene, Berlin is popping. It’s my favorite city in Germany, although Cologne and Hamburg are cool, too. Check out the remnants of the Berlin Wall. Check out the public toilet that is now a burger joint. Just check it out. Every turn you take in Berlin will remind you of why you left the U.S. – “The Donald”, of course. Say no to fascism, right? Drawback: You will have to learn German. Oh, you might be able to get away with not speaking German for a while, but not for four years. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Denmark, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Poland

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  10. Fiji: The ultimate middle digit to “The Donald” – a tropical island where you can lounge in a hammock by the ocean, live in a wooden house built over the ocean, eating fresh seafood all day and drinking coconut milk. Indulge with tropical cocktails. Walk around topless all the time. Be king or queen in paradise. Live it up. You can check after four years to see if “The Donald” will be handed four more years in the White House. And if that’s the case, smile as you contemplate staying on 4 more years! Yes! Four more years. Life is good. NEIGHBORS TO VISIT: Hopefully none

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Weekend in Iquique

Tonight I go on a road trip with Chileans. We are driving to Iquique, a port city on the Pacific coast founded in the 16th Century. It is a city beloved by Chileans. They say it has the nicest beaches and the best nightlife of any city in the country. The people there, I’m also told, have a very happy disposition. The good weather has something to do with that.

Iquique, located west of the Atacama Desert, draws scores of visitors also because of its duty free zone, one of the largest in South America, almost one square mile of warehouse shopping. It also boasts great restaurants, bars and the aforementioned nightlife.

But Iquique is also a beach town. Surfer dudes abound. Quite a bit of activity in this city of more than 200,000 people, which was once part of Peru until Chile took it away in the late 1800s during the Pacific War that saw Bolivia and Peru allied against Chile. Chile proved militarily superior and took land and cities that belonged to both. For Peruvians especially, the war was an indignity because Iquique was home to many of their national heroes. Now, the city is firmly and unquestionably Chilean, even if Peruvians to this day still lament the loss.

Other than what I have been told, I’m not sure what I will find in Iquique. In my travels, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by places I didn’t think I would like and disappointed by others for which I had high expectations. I have a good feeling about Iquique. We’ll see.

No matter what, I will be spending my time there with Chilean friends I’ve made during my month in the country, and so that alone should make it enjoyable. Two of them actually live in Iquique. So seeing the city with them will be fantastic.

Pictures of hopefully a fantastic four-day weekend in Iquique – Monday is a national holiday – to come.

 

 

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Peru and Chile In Food Fight

"The Cause" of so much hate?

Chile and Peru are at war again.

The war between the two countries this time is not about political differences or control of mineral-rich territories. This one is a war of words about food – and at its core national pride – that emerged and has grown nasty in the past week. And it’s Chile this time around that is coming out on the losing end, one might say taking heat and trying to get out of the kitchen – fast!

The fight started with a promotional video released by Chile to showcase Chilean dishes and food products¬†to a Russian market.¬†With neighbor Peru known worldwide as a gastronomic powerhouse, Chile has been trying to step out of the shadow and improve its culinary image. In the video, titled “Flavors of Chile,” Chilean chef Christopher Carpentier prepares several dishes with ingredients he touts as Chilean. One of the dishes known as La Causa – The Cause – and a cocktail known worldwide as the Pisco Sour, are presented in the video. Never once in the video does Carpentier say the dish and cocktail originated in Chile, but the fact they are presented in a video labeled “Flavors of Chile” sets off Peruvians, who have a longstanding beef with Chile for taking Peruvian – and Bolivian – land and occupying the two countries following the War of the Pacific. In that war, with Peru and Bolivia allied, Chile won and took copper and other mineral-rich territories. Peru lost whole cities and Bolivia lost several cities, too, including its access to the Pacific Ocean. Since that war fought in the 1800s and subsequent Chilean occupation, Peru and Chile have had cold diplomatic relations. Chileans recognize that many Peruvians don’t like Chileans, and it all goes back centuries. So when Peruvians see anything that smacks of something being taken from them by Chile, they get defensive.

Peruvians – with Peruvian chefs and food experts leading the charge via social and mainstream media – immediately accused Chile of trying to steal yet another thing from Peru, this time their longstanding traditional Peruvian dish and Pisco cocktail.

A sour note

Peruvians are indignant that Chile would promote to the rest of the world the drink and the dish as Chilean when in fact both were originated in Peru. The demand that Chile pull the video came almost instantly, and the Peruvian media wasted no time going out on the streets to ask people what they thought of Chile’s latest foible.

For the record, there is no dispute that the dish – made from mashed potatoes and garnished with seafood or other toppings – originated in Peru. There is debate, however, as to the origins of the Pisco sour. Peru maintains the cocktail was created in Peru, which has a port town named Pisco. Tour guides in Lima, Peru, will point out the place – Morris’ Bar – where the Pisco sour was supposedly invented.

Chileans – with Carpentier going before television cameras – shot back across the border that the video was showing a “fusion” of foods and flavors in Chile, not necessarily touting the dishes as purely or originally Chilean. Carpentier issued an apology of sorts, stating he wasn’t out to mislead anyone. But for the Peruvians, it wasn’t enough. Some still went after the Chilean chef with fervor and gusto. One of those Peruvians leading on that front in the cross-border food fight was none other than restaurateur and Peruvian cuisine expert Isabela Alvarez.

Alvarez went to the media to share a bit of inside knowledge about Carpentier. She said some three years ago he came to her for work. She offered him an internship in her restaurant,¬†El Se√Īor√≠o de Sulco, where Carpentier, she says, learned the ins and outs of Peruvian cuisine. She said he became fascinated with Peruvian cooking and especially fond of La Causa.

“He¬†knew¬†the origin¬†of these dishes,¬†which he learned¬†to do in¬†our country,” she told the Peruvian press, adding that it was not by ignorance or accident that he had prepared the dishes for the video. She then went on to rip Carpentier apart, calling him “irresponsible.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Peruvian Society of Gastronomy, Mariano Valderrama, threw himself in the middle of the fight. He said La Causa is undeniably Peruvian and of that¬†there can be no¬†argument because the dish¬†is¬†strongly linked¬†to the cause of Peru’s national independence. He told Peruvian press that however “it was gratifying to know¬†that the¬†Chilean¬†chefs¬†take¬†our plates¬†and help us¬†to spread throughout the¬†world.”

Valderrama explained that the name of the dish comes from a Quechua word and that the dish was prepared to sell and raise funds for the patriots who sought to liberate Peru from Spain.

In the video Carpentier also takes a stab at preparing ceviche, which is a dish found in many Latin American countries, but a dish nevertheless for which Peru gets high marks as the country that knows how to make a killer ceviche.

Valderrama told the Peruvian media that although ceviche is prepared in¬†many countries, especially¬†those located¬†to the Pacific, in Peru ¬†it’s a tradition and done well.

Peruvian press has not let up – perhaps out to further embarrass Chile – by doing man on the streets interviews on the subject – stirring the pot.

The infamous video now lives on YouTube.

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