Tuesday, August 16, 2011

At Home with the Chilean Frat Boys

Saturday morning started off way too early considering what had transpired the night before.  Even though I should have been tired seeing as how I went to bed at 5am— in what can only be described as one of life's cruelest ironies before turning 25— ever since becoming of that dubious, legal, drinking age, I have been unable to sleep past nine in the morning after a long night on the town.  It sucks; I am pretty sure it's your body's way of saying, "alright shithead, enough partying every night, your liver is actually going to shrivel if you keep this up after college."  Needless to say, I was tired and still feeling quite, well, drunk, from the excessive quantity of terremotos (white wine, pineapple ice cream and fernet) and piscolas (pisco and coke) we drank at the asado on Friday night.  People tell me that the name "terremoto" (literally, earthquake), comes from the fact that they leave you trembling at the knees after you drink one, let alone several.  When I awoke I also found that all that sugar from the ice cream (which by some stroke of luck for a lactard like me, was actually made from water and not milk) had left my head feeling like a terremoto as well.

Backtracking, the asado on Friday night cemented my opinion that Chileans do in fact know how to cook some damn good meat (I still love you Argentina).  It was at the house of a fellow Tio (teacher) not too far from the farm; naturally though, living on the side of the highway, it was very difficult for me to get there.  Luckily, one of the PE teachers (and basketball coach) volunteered to pick me up as he said that he was going to be dropping off my host sister anyway—or so I understood.   While it's true that he did in fact come by to pick me up, I didn't realize that he was going to be swinging by in the team van, with the rest of the team—my students—in it.  I ran out the front gate to the highway, bottle of pisco in-hand, my host sister jumped out and I jumped in; into a 15-passenger van full of sweaty 14- and 15 year-olds on their way home from a basketball tournament.  I'm not sure who was more surprised, me after seeing— and then smelling— all of them, or them after seeing me, "Tio Chip," holding a giant bottle of pisco and boarding their team van on the side of the highway.

After a little small-talk of, "so did you win?  That's great, congratulations" and "oh this bottle that I am holding, it's a gift, I won't be drinking all of it," we went our separate ways and the coach and I made our way to the asado.  We found the others out back, grill already going, and I set my bottle of pisco down on the table.  The next thing I knew, I turned around to see coach lugging what I thought was his basketball team's 5-liter water jug out in the backyard where we were.  He set it down next to my now puny-looking bottle of pisco and poured me a glass.  It was, as he explained, a bit like artesianal wine— grown at one of his friend's houses.  These were the last grapes of the harvest and thus the wine had a great sweet flavor, it was so good that I wouldn't have had a problem drinking it solo.

They emptied the whole thing into another, even bigger jar and mixed in a bottle of fernet and several tubs of pineapple ice cream.  It was super-sweet and completely over the top, but how can anything that combines wine, ice cream, and liquor not be?  It was already about 11 and the choripans were ready.  A steady stream of various cuts of beef and pork—filet, sirloin, ribs and flank—began to emerge from the low charcoal fire soon afterwards.  We stayed out there, circled around the grill—plucking a big steak from the embers on to the cutting board, cutting it, and passing it around between the five of us for several hours.  Around 2am, with all the meat gone, and the pitcher of terremotos drained, everyone started to head inside, I assumed, to call it a night.  Once again, I was wrong; I was the last one in and found everyone sitting on the couches, new glasses in hand, pouring piscolas while Pancho, whose house it was, prepared more snacks in the kitchen.  We stayed there until almost 4am, drinking, eating and chatting about everything from politics to porn (it was a gentleman's only event); my first Friday with the guys was truly awesome.

Eduardo dropped me off at home (he has a really cool old station wagon) and luckily for me, Sari (21 year old host sister) had just pulled up in her friend's car as well.  As if it wasn't enough that at 4am we both stepped out of our friends' cars on to the shoulder of the PanAmerican, neither of us had a key to the front gate (it is impossible to open the gate from the outside without a remote anyway).  Sari, who is quite petite, somehow managed to climb over the 15 foot high wall to let me in and I was off for a few hours of sleep.

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