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Life in Chile

Just experienced a very short and sharp earthquake. I think. Quake sites haven't recorded it to validate my impression but I don't know what else it could be.

I just had my second hummingbird sighting in two days. Possibly the same hummingbird. Yesterday I was out sunning and saw it close up, visiting flowers. Just now I was attending to my cooking, and could see it through the kitchen window. Also, hear it, I think, or its wing changes, or something, like "chick, chick" every half second.

Back in Boston, I'd been eating canned black beans and salsa a lot. The only canned beans here are refried, which, meh. They do have dried black beans, though, so I explored cooking them. The Web told me that the traditional soaking advice is highly disputed, so I tried an experiment: one batch soaked overnight (but no water change), one batch boiled straight. The former ended up bland and overcooked, probably because I boiled them for the same amount as the latter. The latter seemed to come out fine. Soaking might reduce the cooking time, but 2-2.5 hours when I'm around the house anyway is no big deal, with the big batches I'm making and having eaten by the other adults.

Relatedly, they can go bad; I threw out the remains of the last batch after noting it smelled sour and there were possible white flecks developing. I'd added that batch to the remains of the previous batch, or two, so the oldest beans would have had some time to ferment. Don't do that, I guess.

The salsa here is meh, more like a hot watery slurry than the pico de gallo texture I like. Chilean pebre is like the latter, but I only see it in restaurants, not stores.

I saw real orange juice -- vs. added sugar "orange nectar" -- for the first time here last year. More of it this time.

I tried making hamburger. Problem: while I know that grass-fed beef is healthier and happier for the cow, and healthier for me, I find I do like the fatty cornfed beef, especially for that. I've made really good burgers with 20% fat beef. US beef is generally 20, 15, or 7% fat. Chilean beef, imported from Argentina, is 8%, 5%, or 3% beef; the fattiest grind here is like the fattest conventional grind back home. If there's a way to make a good burger out of 8% fat beef, I don't know it. I've switched to cooking lots of longaniza or chorizo (Chilean, not Mexican) sausages instead. G2 really appreciates it. You know, she's old enough to cook her own, though not to have the money to buy them.

(This is my problem with vegetarian fake meat. They made do a great job these days of replicating the protein side of things, but it's the animal fat that's at least half the experience for me.)

Speaking of kids, I thought to ask what Chilean parenting style is like. G and G2 tell me the upper middle class parents are at least as protective and helicopter-ing as modern US ones. Scared to let kids out of their sight, overbundling them in 10 C winter temperatures, etc.

I traditionally injure myself somehow every year here, giving me an excuse to be boring; this year it was pulling a back muscle. I don't know if it was from terrible posture at times, especially trying to curl up with my laptop in bed despite sufficient pillow or wall backing, or doing lots of push-ups.

I've played a few games of Compounded; it's a neat little chemistry themed game. I'm not sure you'd learn much chemistry from it, but it was fun.

Productivity... I should be working on job prep and hunt; in practice, redoing my Duolingo tree -- I need it, I basically stopped after this summer's travels -- and writing some fanfic have been my productive/creative things. Yes, I've gone from lots of ideas in my head to actually putting words out. And re-reading parts of Sunshine or other books to study the authorial crafts I want to emulate.

Ah, one of the sites updated; magnitude 4.6 [now 4.3] offshore Coquimbo, which is basically here. Also a 3.5 in the area an hour before that. Hope those aren't pre-shocks.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/412306.html#comments


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2015 01:42 am (UTC)
Weird - I was in Chile at the same time, didn't feel a thing.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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