All posts filed under: Chile

All Around The World

While on Easter Island, we drove our rented ATV up the steep slopes of Rano Kau, a volcano near the main town of Hanga Roa. We came around a bend and eyed a dude ahead of us, running at a quick clip. Blake pulled up beside him. “Sir, are you okay? Is someone chasing you? Are you in distress?” He looked confused, and only at that point did we realize he was running by choice—jogging, if you will. It takes all kinds. We, meanwhile, strictly limited our running to once a location in order to bring you our trip in roughly 90 seconds:

Rapa Nui: Come for the Heads, Stay for the Everything Else

We’ve gushed a bit about Rapa Nui (better known as Easter Island, but we’re not down with slave names) in previous posts, but allow us to continue unabated. We loved Rapa Nui. Of all the places we’ve been thus far, it’s the place we’re both happiest we included on our itinerary. A quick detour: Some of you might be wondering about the logistics of our trip, a topic about which MacKenzie is happy to digress at length but, like, email her if you’re interested so it’s not that thing where two people at a dinner party talk about the TV show that only they watch. Suffice to say that we’re traveling on a ‘round-the-world ticket offered by the OneWorld alliance. The fare is based on the country where you start and the number of continents visited (in our case, four), and from there the only “extras” are taxes and fees imposed by various countries and airlines. So it’s essentially the same price to fly from Santiago to Buenos Aires as it is to fly from …

The UPDATED Best Restaurants in the World: A Definitive Ranking by Blake MacKay, Master of English Literature and Professional Expert

(JK. But not about the Masters part.) I am on a four-and-a-half month, ’round-the-world “honeymoon” with my wife, hence this very blog. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry in New York City for seven years and when I travel, I care about nothing more than my meals. Below are the top ten restaurants I visited in the first three months of my trip, up through the end of our time in South America. (See the first installment here.) I will update again when Spain and Turkey inevitably squeeze out two-thirds of this list. See snapshots at @wearethemacks and @blakewmackay on Instagram and hit me up at heywearethemacks@gmail.com.) 1. Huen Muan Jai (Chiang Mai, Thailand—formerly #1): It’s been three months since we set off on our trip and two months since we were in Chiang Mai, and still no dining experience (emphasis on the dining experience, as opposed to a single dish or bite of food) has left as much of an impression on my culinary imagination as Huen Muan Jai. Its #1 ranking is undoubtedly …

3/ka toru from Easter Island/Rapa Nui

Scene-setter: We’re going with the movies we watched on the plane to Easter Island, which sounds lazy, but stay with us. All the moai (the statutes with the big heads) on the island have their backs to the ocean save for the seven that stand at Ahu Akivi, a site on the northwest of the island. According to origin myth, these figures represent the first explorers from the islands of Hiva who were sent by their chief to find other lands fit to inhabit. They face the sea, waiting for their people to join them—which is basically the plot of Interstellar, so there you have it. The other film we watched was Birdman, which was the name of an annual religious rite of the Rapa Nui peoples around the 18th century. Every spring, at the start of sooty tern mating season (sooty tern is a bird), each tribe on the island would send a representative to the ceremonial village of Orongo. There, the competitors would climb down a cliff and swim through shark-infested waters to …

MACKS Approved: Santiago, Chile

Check the full map here. 1. Fuente Alemana: Things were going great at this old school sandwich spot; we had managed to secure seats at the counter and order two frosty schop (draft) beers. And then somewhere along the line the “compartir” in our sandwich order was either not heard or ignored, and we found ourselves facing two loaded, enormous, not inexpensive pork sandwiches instead of one. These things measured around eight inches in diameter. MacKenzie loved hers—which meant she was able to put away maybe a quarter of the sandwich. Blake was sorta grossed out by the avocado-and-mayo glopiness. 2. 99 Restaurante: The sleeper hit of our time in Santiago. We heard about 99 from a chef friend-of-a-friend living in Valparaiso and popped in on our last night for the smaller of the two tasting menus. We ended up with nine plates of very well executed, delicious, inventive food and a shared wine pairing for around $90 USD total. Plus, the babe who was running the kitchen looked like Johnny Depp and he now …

3/tres from Santiago

Scene-setter: You don’t normally associate Roberto Bolaño with “beach read,” but his novellas Distant Star and By Night in Chile are both quickies that you can knock out in one sitting. In addition to being the type of well-crafted, boundary-pushing (By Night in Chile is essentially one 150-page-long paragraph) writing you’d expect of Bolaño, they also give you a crash course in recent Chilean political history. We read Distant Star aloud on the drive from Napier, New Zealand, to the Auckland Airport, where we caught our flight to Santiago, and that was a good move. Pound-the-table recommendation: There is a restaurant in Santiago that people—people including Anthony Bourdain, apparently—talk about. It’s called El Hoyo, and it’s one of those “if you want an authentic Chilean experience…” places. There were cuts of meat the size of an adult human head (zero exaggeration) and a house “cocktail” that’s made of white wine, pineapple juice, and sherbert. But, the mashed potatoes. THE. MASHED. POTATOES. We realized after we ordered that there was also a picante version and not …

3/tres from Valparaíso

Scene-setter: You can and should tour Pablo Neruda’s Valparaíso residence, La Sebastiana, which features stunning views of the whole city. Shall we say his interior design tastes were eclectic? Here’s a poem he wrote about Valpo: “Ode to Valparaíso,” by Pablo Neruda, translated by Sarah Watwood Valparaíso, how absurd you are, what a lunatic, crazy port, what a head – rolling hills, disheveled, you never finished combing your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you, death has awoken you, in your nightshirt, in your long johns, flecked with color, naked, with a name tattooed on your stomach, wearing a hat, the earthquake seized you, running crazed, you tore apart your fingernails, your water and stones moved of their own accord, the streets, the sea, the night, you have been sleeping in the earth, tired of your voyages, and the land, furious, threw up its waves more tempestuous than a storm at sea, the dust covered your eyes, the flames burnt your shoes, the firm bankers’ houses quaked like wounded …