EXCHANGE OFFICER

BRS Slight Ship Patch

On Exchange with the Armada de Chile

In 2013, I participated in the Royal Canadian Navy’s OP REGULUS and went on exchange to Chile to sail with their Navy for five months. Six freshly minted Sub Lieutenants from the RCN’s Venture training school volunteered to head south on the second rotation of officers to be sent to the South American nation. This is my enhanced report on the deployment.

Below is my original report I submitted to the Navy detailing my time aboard BRS Slight. It is not as scathing as the reports of the other officers who were on my ROTO as I wanted my message to be heard in the hopes of fixing the program for future participants sent to the Armada. But my observations along with those of the other officers never surfaced after submission. As I am no longer in the military, I can report the unvarnished opinions and impressions of my time down south.

OP REGULUS – Chile Report, July 2013

The main points from my official report were as follows:

  • The language barrier was the principal reason for the majority of challenges with this deployment. Personnel should be selected with language abilities in mind ahead of time. There should be at least one dedicated English speaker on board their Chilean ship.
  • Officers should not be farmed out to buoy tenders and hydrography vessels. The tasks that I was asked to do could have been done by a MARS III student. And although somewhat interesting, buoy tending is pretty boring to continuously watch when you have no duties.
  • There should have been more of a plan to involve me in the operations of the ship but with the language barrier and the crew being too busy with work-ups, there was not much for me to do and no one willing or able to help me.
Memento of my stay on BRS Slight

General Impressions of the Chilean Navy

While in Chile, I kept a daily log of my thoughts and activities. These points come directly from my 2013 notes.

  • The personnel, including senior officers, are somewhat childish in their behavior. This is possibly due to the Chilean culture but it continues to the Wardroom at inappropriate times. The worst case was a Sergeant asking if I slept with prostitutes and when I replied no, he accused me of being gay and having sex with the Mayordomo (the Wardroom steward).
  • The ship’s company had almost zero interest in learning anything about the RCN’s customs, procedures, methods, culture or language. I would watch their soccer games and they would have no interest in hockey.
  • I had no mentorship. If there was any sort of task for me, I would be told to do it with little or nothing in the way of explanation, guidance or resources. Of course, everything was in Spanish. “You must learn Spanish” was the phrase of choice.
  • The ship could have benefited from having a designated Cox’n. It seemed as if all the discipline ran through the Captain.
  • My crew wasn’t very detail oriented with little in the way of daily briefings. There were only small attempts to make sure I understood what was going on even when it should have been clear I wasn’t comprehending the tasking.
  • Except for about a month, there was little attempt to learn or converse at all in English. They were determined to keep me immersed in Spanish. Which was fine but without the occasional context explained to me in English, learning their language was slow and painful.
  • The Chileans were firm slaves to routine and tradition. Each meal on ship or ashore was the same depending on the day. Pollo (chicken) and fries, must be Sunday noon. Thursday dinner was their special navy meal of an Empanada de Horno, boiled potatoes, some stewing meat and re-hydrated apricots. (Our Canadian term for the fruit was old man testicles.) They took a couple of late 19th century naval heroes (Commander Arturo Prat & Sergeant Juan de Dios Aldea) and have made gods out of them, to be emulated and worshiped. They take no truck with joking or questioning their beliefs and rituals. (A ‘Pratfall’ wasn’t something to kid them about.)
  • Further to the last point, they have very short and very long memories. As for short, the Captain would absolutely spaz out on an officer for half an hour but all is forgotten by the evening. As for long, the Chileans hold grudges forever going back to the country’s formative years when they were at war with everyone else on the continent.
  • Their personnel are very hard workers but to the fault that they are somewhat proud of being away from their families and loved ones so much.
  • My crew was homophobic and mercilessly teased others who were effeminent.
  • Although my ship had no females onboard, the Navy had recently started allowing them to serve on their ships. The rumour was woman would serve aboard ships for a short period of time and after the experiment ‘failed’ would be removed.

Chilean Naval Procedures

Navigation

Below are my observations on how my assigned ship BRS Slight went about her business of navigating the Chilean waters:

The OOW would nap and let the 2OOW navigate by GPS or Radar

 

 

PI’s = Parallel Indexes, W/O = Wheel Overs

 

An example of navigating using a paper chart as they didn’t use electronic charts

Coming Alongside

Bridges of RCN ships are quiet and orderly. Chilean ships are not!

Small Boat Procedures

Some Thoughts on the Language Barrier

I put aside some time and thought into why Chilean Spanish was so difficult to learn. I was well aware that I was going to have issues and had turned down the deployment several times because of this reason. I was asked to be a last second replacement and consented to go being the good sailor that I was.

Below were what I observed to be issues for someone learning the language:

  • Chileans speak super-quick and slur their words. My term for their speech is papas purée (mashed potatos).
  • They continuously use country specific slang. In Santiago, the subway cards are ‘Byps’ because of the sound they make when passed over the scanner. Of course, the Navy has a whole language of its own with no dictionary or references.
  • They do not pronounce ‘S’s in the middle of a word, Esmeralda = Emeralda.
  • They drop whole syllables, Estribor = Tribor & Babor = Bor (Starboard & Port)
  • They also tend to mumble and every other sentence contains the term Weon. Weon has multiple uses such as fucker, dude, bro, buddy, ass, etc. The female term is Weonita.
Naval Coat of Arms

Conclusion

Due to their military structure it turned out that I hold the honour of being the oldest Subteniente that ever served with the Armada de Chile. The Chilean Admirals were quite impressed with my résumé which included being a Rescue Diver, a military pilot and now a naval officer. One of them compared me to James Bond 007. I attempted to be very politic during those meetings as I didn’t want to offend my hosts. But I believe that the RCN should have heeded the reports coming back from their officers. If you read between the lines of one OP REGULUS Chilean public report from 2015, the issues I have described, remain.

The participants knew that part of the mission was to help open up better diplomatic relations with a possible South American naval ally. I believe that making us better naval officers wasn’t as high a priority. I just think the whole program could have been run better so that the officers could have gained a better experience other than excessive drinking and sleeping with prostitutes.

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Sunrise during the approach to Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine

Of the five months I spent in Chile, I had a few days that will stick with me for the rest of my life. One of the more memorable was the day I spent in a Chilean National Park, Torres del Paine (Blue Towers).

(Link to Youtube video of Puerto Natales Creation Wall)

The vista from my Puerto Natales hotel room

The jumping off point for the park is a small tourist town of Puerto Natales. It is full of outfitter stores, guide and souvenir shops and an amazing pictorial wall depicting the Chilean version of creation. Since the town receives significant numbers of international visitors, there wasn’t an issue with communicating in English.

The southern edge of the park with the iconic Cuernos del Paine shrouded in cloud

I was fortunate to finally have a clear day for my expedition and it started with a spectacular sunrise as I drove north towards the park. As I continued my day, I lamented over the fact that I only had my Galaxy III phone to take pictures with. If I had the chance to go back, I would choose an extended stay and bring a proper camera in order to document the fantastic vistas and abundant wildlife.

Brilliant blue icebergs floating in Grey Lake

As you approach the park, you come upon a wide plain with the iconic Cuernos del Paine (Blue Horns) in the background. I headed towards Grey Lake and along the way just about drove off the gravel road I was on. I had seen the first of my gorgeous blue icebergs (hielo) of the day. There’s a glacier at the far end of the lake where large chunks of ice cleave off into the water. Apparently, the high amounts of oxygen create the brilliant blue. As the ice breaks into smaller pieces, it turns crystal clear. I saved a piece, melted it down and returned to Canada with some authentic glacier water for special occasions. When I dropped off some Chilean gifts to my Grandmother at her resthome in Creston, BC, we shared a drink. We also snuck in a drink of rhubarb liquor native to that region. Grandma appreciated it!

Guanaco silhouetted by the mountains of Torres del Paine

Further along in my explorations, I started coming across guanaco. I had been despairing that Chile had no land mammals as I had seen practically no wildlife in my travels to that point. Of course, I took several pictures of my first novel wild llama encounter! Then I saw more and more and more and finally a gigantic herd! They were not particularly afraid of me and I was able to approach the outer edge to within about 20′. They were more pissed at me than anything as a few of the animals were laying their ears back and hissing. The burnt brush was from an accidental tourist fire back in 2011.

(Link to Youtube video of my guanaco herd encounter)

Huge herd of guanaco along a hillside

After leaving the llamas behind, I continued with my explorations. I took a short hike to a famous cascada nearby. It doesn’t show in the pictures but the area is known for high winds and I was battling 40-50kt gusts for most of the day. Next, I began driving again and for the second time that day just about hit the ditch. I had spied a flash of pink out of the corner of my eye and after stopping saw a flock of flamingos! Chile actually has two varieties of the bird. Unfortunately, they were too far away for me to take a proper photo.

Salto Grande waterfall creating a familiar Arco Iris (rainbow)

As I drove down to a remote ranger station, I finally glimpsed high in the sky majestic condors soaring in the thermals. As the condor is the national bird of Chile, I was hoping to see one on my travels. Soon after, I came across another Chilean bird which caused me to slam on the brakes. Pecking at the ground, a few feet from the car was a substantial sized, flightless bird. I was afraid of it being startled, but it didn’t pay too much attention to me until I got out of the vehicle and started walking towards it. These rheas (ñandú) are not hunted and have a land speed of @40mph, so they aren’t afraid of a human on foot. The flock was another pleasant, surprising sight on top of all the others I saw that day. The last birds I came across were a small flock of Magellan geese (caiquén). The males are white and the females are brown and I was told they mate for life.

Nandú nonchalantly walking by the side of the road

I wasn’t finished with the wildlife extravaganza even when I left the park. I had stopped to take some pictures of local sheep (I noticed that their tails weren’t docked as is the practise elsewhere in the world) and I was fortunate to see a zorro (Patagonian Fox) skulking about. It might have been hunting the numerous liebre europea (European hare). I had come across two types of rabbits that day. The liebre were black and white, resembling long eared jack rabbits and the conejo looked like regular rabbits. The latter had a death wish as they kept darting in front of the car attempting to get squashed.

Magellan Geese – White male & brown females

I had a fantastic day exploring one of the wonders of the world! I highly suggest a trip to the region if you enjoy abundant wildlife, breath-taking vistas and untamed South American wilderness.

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KEYS OFFICER

An example of how dense life on a Marker Buoy can become

Criaturas Marinas Chilenas

One of the reasons I love scuba diving is the chance to see a myriad of sea creatures that are entirely unlike their land based cousins. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it underneath the water while on exchange in Chile but I was able to see several underwater species that came up for a visit.

South American Sea Lion (Lobo Marino Chusco)

A ‘Wolf’ of the sea sunning on the sidewalk

I have dove with Steller sea lions around Vancouver Island without any qualms but I would be a little hesitant to get in the water with these fellows. Although, if you’re diving and all of a sudden all the little fishies disappear, I would take that as a sign of a large predator in the area. When you look up and see an animal roughly the size of a cow casually swim by and you notice you’re all alone, maybe you should be thankful they don’t see you as food.

If you weren’t careful, you would trip on them

While I was in Talcahuano, the town still bore the scars of a tsunami from three years previous. From the Naval Base, I would walk about a mile through a ‘no man’s land’, past a long row of fish restaurants and into town. I was warned that gangs would beat up navy personnel along that route but the scariest beasts I came across were the Lobos (Wolves of the Sea) by the restaurants. They would sun on the sidewalk and hop into the dumpsters to chow down on the scraps. Considering the size of their teeth, I wouldn’t want to be drunk and stumbling back to barracks and trip over one of them late at night! Along with that hangout, dozens of the beasts lived under the jetty our ship was alongside. I didn’t envy the ship’s divers when they had to inspect the hull with those critters with them in the murky water.

The restaurant dumpsters were a popular hangout

The Sea Lions were similar in size and build to the Stellers I was familiar with but the males had an extra swath of fur down the back of their necks.

I wouldn’t want him crunching down on my leg!

Critters from the Marker Buoys

A Marker Buoy up on deck for servicing and cleaning

While I worked as a commercial diver on BC fish farms, it struck me as odd when people would go on about what ‘death’ zones they were supposed to be. Sure underneath the farms where there wasn’t much of a current was a miasma of old feed and fish feces but the bottom of the sea is mostly just muck like that everywhere. It is up near the surface where sunlight can get to living organisms is where you’ll find the most life. Basically, just stick something slightly into the water like a boat, a floating shed, floats, marker buoys, etc. and in a short time, they’ll be completely covered with sea life. Then someone like me has to dive in and physically scrap everything off or a tender ship has to pull up the buoy and service them. That was George Slight’s purpose as we sailed the pasos of Chile. Since I was bored and like the various denizens of the sea, I tried to document what came up on deck.

Caracols (Snails)

An Odontocymbiola magellanica snail from Patagonia. The foot is on the upper right.

We were in the Strait of Magellan and made a quick trip ashore to Patagonia when I came across this example of Odontocymbiola magellanica. The snail was still alive inside and I did give it a taste back onboard. It didn’t kill me but it wasn’t particularly tasty either. The shell I brought back was about 4″ long.

I am not sure what type of snails came up on the marker buoy in the picture below but I found their striations interesting. Some of them had the usual looking barnacles (picorocos) attached to their shells.

Snails, Starfish and Barnacles

Starfish (Asteroideos y Estrellas de Mar)

The varieties of purple starfish were familiar to me. I think the smaller one is a Estrella Chica (Girl Star)

Chilean Starfish

Black Sea Urchin (Erizos)

These urchins were dead or dying as their spines were falling off. The crew told me their name for them was Helice. Chilean seafood shops frequently had urchins for sale.

Mussel (Choro)

The mussel is prevalent and abundant throughout the waters of BC and as it turns out in Chile. This was what a Chilean mussel looked like.

Example of a Chilean mussel

Crab (Cangrejo)

Not sure what type of crab this little fellow was but he was feisty as they all are.

It was too bad I didn’t have a chance to scuba dive in some of the locations we sailed through. There is plenty of untamed, unexplored wilderness and seascape in the southern portions of Chile to keep an adventurer happy for decades.

I will finish this latest installment of Chilean Critters with this little tidbit. Although I didn’t see one, the Chilean slang for a boy who is all ‘handsy’ with his girl is parecer pulpo or to seem like an octopus. I must have a little octopus in me because my girlfriend accuses me of being one all the time!

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SAFETY OFFICER

Sketch of a Tonina – Strait of Magellan (Estrecho de Magallanes), 2013

Pingüinos y Toninas

As promised, this latest blog on Chilean critters will highlight the cetaceans and flightless birds I had the fortune to come across during my voyages with the mighty Chilean Navy buoy tender George Slight. I am including the penguins as they were frequently companion animals to their larger sea creatures.

Officer’s Wardroom – Isla Dawson Naval Station

Pingüino Magallánico

Although there are several species of Chilean penguins, I only came across the Magellanic version. Named after the famous explorer and his self-named Magellan Strait at the far southern end of South America, I did see a few close to a famous colony on Magdalena Island near Punta Arenas. They were swimming in the company of Toninas, a practise I had observed previously with some Bottlenose dolphins. I assume the penguins hunt with the larger animals and gather up the scraps or take advantage of the dolphin herding techniques. They also might use the larger animals as shelter from being prey themselves.

I wish I was able to get a copy of the dolphin/penguin pairing video when the ship left an anchorage near Paso Picton (49˚ 34’ S, 75˚ 20’ W). The ocean was as still as a mill pond and particularly clear. As the ship left the night’s sheltering cove, we were escorted out by a number of Bottlenosed Dolphins. In the video that one of the Chilean sailors took of the dolphins, you could see the winding bubble trail of a penguin swimming out with us alongside its friends. It was interesting that the penguin did not swim in a straight line but in more of a random, quick weaving pattern as I sketched below.

To my surprise, I saw my first penguin way to the north just outside of Talcahuano near the island where the Chilean Navy trains their sailors. We were puttering back to anchor for the night and the penguin was just lazily floating on the water in front of us. Of course, I wasn’t sure of what I was looking at on first glance but we got close enough for me to identify the bird. Along with this one, the ones near Punta Arenas, I saw one at Puerto Eden and a stuffed one in the Officer’s Wardroom at the Naval station on Isla Dawson. The stuffed penguin gave me a chance to realize that these are not the cute and cuddly creatures Disney and other animators have historically portrayed to the public. As you might be able to see in my sketch and picture, the beak has a nasty hook to it probably meant for quickly ripping out the guts of a tasty fish. The nails on the feet look lethal and are probably designed for scrabbling up steep, rocky shorelines or ice. In the CIBC commercials, they accurately portray the colouring scheme at least. Although, I notice in the latest commercials, they couldn’t refrain from adding some pink colouring to the lady penguin.  Anyways, I figure that soft, pink humans wouldn’t stand a chance swimming against a couple of enraged penguins.

Toninas

Tonina’s near Magdalena Island – Punta Arenas, Chile
Penguins were keeping these Toninas company

I saw a number of different dolphins species up and down the pasos (fjords) of Chile including Pacific white-sides and bottlenoses. I was fortunate to see some Toninas (Chilean dolphins) near Magdalean Island. The captain said they were a sign of good luck to mariners. I took pictures as best as I could but as usual, sea life is tough to photograph easily. They are also known as a Black Dolphin but that was a misnomer as they are clearly black and white.  They are rare and some of the least researched members of the dolphin family and are only located in the far south of Chile.

As we travelled further south, I noticed that black and white were the most prominent sea creature colour.

Ballenas (Whales)

Whale Sketches during the Ship’s Commission to Punta Arenas

While the ship was sailing the waters near Chiloé Island, we occasionally saw whales off in the distance. I couldn’t positively identify them but supposedly there is a colony of Blue whales in the area or they could have been humpbacks. Further to the south, I saw the occasional Orca and what I thought were Minke whales. As I was without the proper photographic equipment, I took a quick picture and sketched as best I could what I saw.

Puerto Slight – Whale carcass beached to the right of the white building

Last year, I noticed a report of Chilean whale strandings in the news. It was in an area known as Puerto Slight. This was a cove our ship entered in order to resupply the Armada’s lighthouse station located overland on the Pacific side. I didn’t have access to a small boat but I observed at least two whale carcasses on the beach. I was told the area was known for this. I had my own theories for how these creatures ended up here. On one of the nights at anchorage, I was called out to see the sea boiling with red-coloured krill. Literally, we could have taken buckets of shrimp out of the water beside the ship. So, the area was probably a popular food source for whales to be attracted to. Also, it was one of the few places anywhere up and down that area where there were actual beaches. Most of the waterways consist of fjords where the shoreline dives steeply into the water for thousands of feet. If I was an air-breathing creature, perhaps near death or sick and in need of a place to rest, Puerto Slight was the only place with beaches. They could have beached themselves by accident or maybe they just wash up there. Either way, more research needs to be done and although the area is extremely remote, there is a Naval station there for support.

Puerto Slight Whale Graveyard

For my next installment of Critters of Chile, I will focus on more Chilean Creatures of the Sea.

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PHOTOGRAPHER

Critters de Chile – Primera Parte

Continuing my narrative of 2013 Chilean adventures, this blog will be split into several parts. The sheer numbers of critters I came across in Torres del Paine and my ocean travels warrant their own essays.

Birds of Chile (Aves de Chile)

The vast majority of critters you’ll encounter in Chile are various varieties of birds. Other than in the park close to Puerto Natales in the far south, I saw very few land animals.

Andean Condor (Cóndor Andino)

The Condor is the national bird of Chile and an important symbol used in their Armada (Navy). Below is the Condor figurehead from Buque Escuela Esmeralda. Every Armada officer’s ceremonial sword has the carved head of a condor. They get a little touchy if you tease them about it looking like a chicken.

Museo Marítimo Nacional de Chile, Valdivia

Black Faced Ibis

Saw a flock of these digging for worms in a pasture.

Valdivia, Chile

Inca Tern

Cute little sea birds with moustaches.

Talcahuano, Chile

Seagulls (Gaviota Gris)

Saw plenty of seagulls up and down Chile in my travels. Here’s a couple of carvings I found at the Talcahuano Naval Base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Vulture (Jote Cabeza Negra)

As is normal in Chile, everything becomes slang. The bird itself is somewhat annoying, hangs about and is a nuisance. Jote is also slang for a man who acts like a playboy. This poor fellow was hanging out with a couple of friends and flew straight into a transformer in front of me. Zap! Stinky birds since they feed on carrion plus it barfed from being electrocuted.

Talcohuano Naval Base

Cormorants & Ducks (Patos)

Since I didn’t have a fancy camera, I would take a poor picture and sketch the bird I saw. The Cormorants had a funny little tuft of hair on their heads. The ducks flew around my ship like little kamikaze pilots.

 

Southern Giant Petrel (Petrel Gigante Antartico)

Further to the south in the Magellan Straits and around Patagonia, I saw several species of Petrel. They are large sea birds similar to an albatross. My ship had a Nature book with all the species of petrel found in Chile.

When I was still up in Puerto Montt, I saw a few robins but I observed that their red breasts were lighter in colour compared to their Canadian cousins. The further south I went, I started to notice that black and white were the predominant colours.

Next Critters of Chile Blog: Toninas y Pinguinos

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SAILOR

Sketch of George Slight sailing Los Canales de Chile

Chilean Dice and Card Games

Since it would be a nice change of pace to take a break from trolling the Facebooks for anti-Trump memes and actually connect with real people again, here are the dice and card games I learned down in Chile while on exchange with their Navy. Gather up some friends and family, some cups and dice and get your drink on!

The author takes no responsibility for dented or broken furniture

WARNING – STRONG POSSIBILITY OF FRIVOLITY & HUMAN INTERACTION

Dudo

Dudo, which means ‘I doubt you’, was the most popular dice game in George Slight’s wardroom. When we were at anchor and had nothing better to do, we would break out the cups, dice and pisco and play until 2 or 3 in the morning. The Captain would be growly the next day and guaranteed one of the young officers would be yelled at but it passed the time.

Equipment needed was minimal but it had to be sturdy. The cups are made of thick leather and you smash the up-turned cup on to the table when you shake your dice. Apologies to Grandma Melanson for the dings in her table from our Christmas dice gaming.

Leather Dice Cups from Puerto Montt, Chile

Here are a few websites that list the rules, plus some clarifications from how I learned the game.

Dudo – Wikipedia

Dudo – UK Compendia of Games

Dudo – Rules from Mazegames

The Wikipedia site has the rules that are closest to the way I learned the game with the exception that when a player is down to one die and starts the bid, the other players are not allowed to look at their ‘hands’ and must bid blind. Also, if you’re bidding Wild Aces, the progression is at least half of the last bid plus one. The progression from Aces to the other numbers is double plus one.

Vulgarity is a regular part of the colloquial Chilean vernacular. Here is a translation of terms you will hear associated with the game.

  1. Cacho or Pico – these are other names for the game, translated as ‘Shit’ & ‘Dick’. The context of Cacho is ‘That’s shit or crap’ and Pico is short for Pico en el Oyo or ‘Dick in the Eye’. They are different ways of saying ‘I’m calling your bluff’ or ‘You’re full of shit’.
  2. The Chileans would use different slang for the pictorial representation of the dice.

  • One Ace – Uno As (Ass)
  • Two Twos – Dos Tontos (Dummies)
  • Three Threes – Tres Trens (Trains)
  • Four Fours – Cuatro Cuadras (Block or Square)
  • Five Fives – Cinco Quinas (Literally a grouping of five things)
  • Six Sixes – Sies Senos (Breast nipples, like on a female dog)

Dudo Inglés

Occasionally we would play Dudo Inglés (English Dice Poker) to change things up.

Carioca

Before we really got into the drinking, especially the Piscola, we still had the mental faculties to play Carioca. It was similar to Gin Rummy.

Carioca Rules – Wikipedia

Conchesonadre

When we were blasted out of our minds on Piscola at 2 a.m. we would switch to the quick and dirty game of Cochesonadre (Motherfucker). There is no strategy but it moves fast. Perfect game for young children, drunk sailors or tipsy Acadians during Christmas get-togethers.

Salud Weons y Weonitas!

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SHORT ORDER COOK

The Quintessential Chileno Asado

Since it is summer in the southern hemisphere, here is how Chileans are enjoying the Canadian equivalent of the summer BBQ.

Up in the Great White North, BBQs have the usual menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, potato salad, coleslaw, Caesar salad, soda pop, wine, coolers and beer.

Here is the menu and order of a typical Asado with a translation of some of the terms:

Exerpt from my 2013 Chilean Journal
  • Choripáns (chorizo + pan) are mini-hot dogs usually served plain. (I will cover regular Chilean hot dogs in a future post.) They are served as an appetizer.
Choripans on the grill
  • Corte Americano are simply plain ripple chips. Mix some ketchup and mayo and that’s your dip.
Mmmmm, ketchup & mayo chip dip
  • The Carne can be chunks of beef seasoned with salt (urban Chile) or a skewered whole lamb (rural Chile). Usually the younger men present will cut the meat into smaller pieces and circulate with platters.
Lamb, beef and Pisco
Asado on Isla Dawson
Crew of Chilean ship George Slight
  • Chileans typically do not eat many vegetables and have one main salad made of peeled tomatoes, chopped onions and cilantro. The tomatoes are peeled as a sign of civility. They will make a potato salad made of cold cubed cooked potatoes, peas, carrots and mayo.
Preparing tomatoes for peeling
  • Cocktails of Pisco Sour are served to start the night.

  • Cervasas are cheap, Cristal was the beer of choice.
$10 for 12 litres of beer!
  • Once the main meal is finished, on to the Piscola! Straight up Pisco with a tiny splash of Coke. (Piscola is another example of Chilean papa puree or mashing of the language.) This distilled wine flows like devil water and will sit you on your butt.

 

 

 

 

  • Here’s the recipe for their cracker spread when you had to nibble something with your Piscola:

Asados are common through-out Chile. Since the southern part of the country experiences significant rainfall, the grills are set up indoors with venting. Natural charcoal or carbone and wood are the fuels of choice. The beef is fattier and hence tastier than the leaner North American cuts.

The grill is on a pulley system to raise and lower the meat
Weird name for the Asado shack. Chalaco is a person from El Calloa, Peru’s main seaport. Chileans hate the Peruvians. My guess is this is a dig at Peru.

Salud!

Blair is a personification of a ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of None’. He has held several careers and has all the T-shirts. Time to add the title Blogger to the list.

Blair’s Profile