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Catching Some Rays

Cordoba, ArgentinaIt’s been way too long since I’ve caught any waves, sand and sun simultaneously (I think it was last in January). Being so long ago and so close to an ocean in Valparaíso I couldn’t allow this streak continue. Valparaíso itself is no beach town; just a lot of freighters unloading cargo but ten [...]

Cordoba, Argentina

It’s been way too long since I’ve caught any waves, sand and sun simultaneously (I think it was last in January). Being so long ago and so close to an ocean in Valparaíso I couldn’t allow this streak continue. Valparaíso itself is no beach town; just a lot of freighters unloading cargo but ten minutes to the north puts you in Viña del Mar aka The Riviera of Chile. I prefer my beaches a little more secluded so Alan and I went further north to Horcon. Today the town holds many shacks that double as seafood restaurants as well as a large hippie population.


The hippie village provided secluded beaches and a cheap house just after peak season. On Monday I had a whole beach just for myself. A little reading, recharging the solar batteries and my first run since Mexico – 30 minutes of laps up and down the beach. There was a brief dip in the water but the Humboldt current that passes along the coast from the south makes for some chilly waters.

Propina-Happy Baggage Handlers
After a day in the beach it was time to head back to Argentina. Originally, there was going to be a brief stop in Santigao, but then, why? Sure, it’s a capital but it’s just another large city and my first stop in Argentina was Cordoba; another large city. In fact, the second largest in Argentina. Skipping Santiago I arrived back in Mendoza for a connection to Cordoba.

In Argentina and Chile the buses are incredibly nice but one annoyance are the baggage handlers who do nothing more than load and unload your bag on the bus. They then ask for a tip on a service that could easily be handled by myself. If I have the standard few pesos they ask for I’ll hand it over. If not… sorry. I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure I have $0.25 – $0.50 in pesos to give you. I simply don’t think of it before hand. When I crossed into Argentina from Chile I had larger Chilean and Argentinian notes so I had no 2 peso note to give the guy when I got off the bus to transfer in Mendoza. A surly look was given and I walked away thinking no more of it.

Ten minutes later I was boarding my bus for Cordoba and the same baggage handler was loading bags onto the new bus. See where this is going? I told him sorry but I don’t have any small Argentinean notes since I came from Chile. Annoyed, he said Chilean money was just as good.

“Sorry,” I replied, “I only have a 5,000 peso note(about $10).” Which I surely wasn’t going to give as a tip.

Somewhat understanding he put my bags on board but not quite as gently as the others. Alan on the other hand made no such efforts at reconciliation. His bags sat by the wheel well until he told the guy to put his bags on board. The baggage handler realized that he had no other option but to do his job thry them on. Alan and the Baggage handler walked away surly.

I think there is something I’m not understanding in the profuse amount of tipping that goes on. Every time I turn around someone has an outstretched hand looking for a tip for a ‘service’ they provided me that I never asked for. Great, you put my bag on the bus. I never asked you to so leave me alone.

Some Cultural Observations

  • While close together there is a much greater percentage of the population in Chile marking higher on the Gordo scale. One hostel owner said it was from the bread in Chile using lard as a main ingredient. I’m not sure if that’s the only reason but I’ll say it probably attributes to the problem.
  • Dulce de Leche is not just insanely popular in Argentina. Chileans love it just as much. What am I going to do when I can no longer find this stuff?
  • News Flash to Argentinians and Chileans – One slice of ham and one slice of cheese on a massive roll does not constitute a sandwich. Dry, dry, dry and bland, bland, bland.
  • How does Spanish sound so much more suave in Argentina and so…garbled in Chile when the two countries share a massive border with one another?
  • Fernet. Why is it so popular in Argentina? It’s so disgusting and I’ll never understand why people thought it was a good idea to drink the stuff.
  • I’ve never seen a country with so many bidet’s….Argentina tries so hard to be part of Europe but it will always be stuck on the bottom of South America.
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Filed under: Argentina, Chile, Cubicle Ditcher, Random Thoughts

About the Author:

Sam Langley left a comfortable and profitable job with an insurance company in the USA to travel the world. He has been going for years, and has not stopped yet. Keep up with his travels on his blog at Cubicle Ditcher. has written 147 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.