As Bob Ross said: “We don’t have mistakes here, we just have happy accidents.”
I lead with a quote from the late, great Mr. Ross because our trip plans have had quite the happy accident. I’ll explain through the recipe for the glorious Chilean delicacy, the pichanga.
You start with a heaping plate full of french fries, which in Chilean Spanish is called: “we know we told you all that our goal was to ride all the way south to Ushuaia.”
On top of the fries goes a big layer of chopped up hot dogs, or “the funny thing about loosely planned travel involving 4 wingnuts like us is that when confronted with adversity, sometimes you just have to flip everything on it’s head.” Like I’ve said before, Chileans LOVE their hot dogs.
Of course you can’t just have one type of meat on there, so you heap on cubes of ham, “we found out that boats to Chaiten leave once a week”, some beef, “this week’s boat left 19 hours before we got here”, and some chicken, “none of us wanted to stay here for a week, it’s a small town and we’re already bored of it. Plus we’ve been focusing on getting to the Carretera Austral for weeks and we can’t bear to wait any longer.” If you ask me, the chicken was a little much but these pichangas are pretty epic, as you’ll see.
Naturally, there is cheese, which in Chilean is “it’s not like we planned that much, I mean, how can you plan something like this well anyway?” I love cheese, so make sure there’s a lot of it on there.
Now that doesn’t sound too bad so far, right? Well here’s where things get a bit weird. (And what, loyal readers, would life be like if you didn’t get weird from time to time?)
Let’s come out of the gate with some olives, “on Tuesday we’re taking a twenty eight hour boat ride”, and some hard boiled egg, “to Puerto Chacabuco, around where we were planning to finish riding the Carretera…”.
On top, you lay down ol’ reliable, some onions, “don’t worry, we’re still riding the Carretera Austral.” and avocado, “we couldn’t leave here without riding it, seriously people…”, but you stay weird with some chunks of bread, “we’re riding it south to north”, some pickles, “we’re not going to Ushuaia anymore”, and some cauliflower, “no joke, we’re going to ride it back up to Puerto Montt.”
So this might sound terrifying and awful, but when it’s tied together with mayo (Dan), ketchup (Derek), hot sauce (Zach), and mustard (your humble writer, Ted), it really works. The last one of these things we ate took less than ten minutes to put down. So good.
That, friends, is the elusive pichanga. In some strange way, our trip resembles one right now and I couldn’t be happier.
Update: I tried to capture a picture of our first pichanga but we were too hungry and it was gone by the time the flash went off…