Saturday, July 31, 2010

things that are different

Powdered Milk
We're a powdered milk household, for economic reasons. I'd only used powdered milk on Outward Bound before. It's weird that you add water to powder and it turns into fat, and you can choose whether you get a creamy syrup, or something like skim milk. Big secret: even starting with a slurry, the only way to get rid of all the lumps is to strain them out.

Dogs With Testicles
People don't sterilize the animals here. There's growing acknowledgement of a problem, though, since Valparaiso has 320,000 people and 80,000 dogs, many or most of which live on the street (though usually fed and cared for by the neighborhood). It finally struck me after a few weeks that almost all the animals I see in the States are neutered, and I'm just not used to seeing dogs with testicles.

Used Toilet Paper Receptacles
I did get used to this in Mexico. Whatever the reason, almost no buildings have plumbing that can successfully flush toilet paper. Used toilet paper goes into a (hopefully covered) bin next to the toilet.

Simple Food
Chile often feels like a land without spices. One time Steve made guacamole, and Aurora said, "It's good, huh?". I said, "Yes, but it needs red pepper," and she said, "Red?! There's black and white." There's garlic, onion, the dimensionless South American hot pepper aji, sometimes oregano, maybe basil if you're someplace fancy. The tradeoff is that the ingredients are typically of good quality, because they're providing all the flavor. (Well, maybe not all: Oscar uses a lot of soup mixes for a base.)

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