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Happy Hour & Dunkin’ Donuts

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Here’s one of the things I love about Chile, or maybe more accurately, one of things I love about myself in Chile: being completely okay with not having any idea what is going on.  I thought about this on Friday.  Lucy, an Australian who worked as a guide for the Foundation’s eco-tourist operations last summer and generously hosted me in Santiago, had told me she was planning a “happy hour” on Friday.  Now, English words in Spanish are usually particularly hard to decode, so that all I knew, as I left the apartment with José, Lucy’s Chilean boyfriend, is that I was in the hands of good people, having a good time, and the rest didn’t matter too much.

Good pizza, good pisco sour, good price!

José and Lucy.

Felipe (works in Fundacion company side of things), Daniela (social programs coordinator for Fundacion, in Palena once a month, this time I got to see her on her home turf!), and me.  [Note: we did go dancing later, though not quite enough to satisfy this little palenense.  Hopefully I’ll get some more in this week.]

My last day in Santiago, I was unable to track down the Parque por la Paz that Lonely Planet had told me about, though it did get me to a different, poorer neighboorhood than I would have otherwise come along.  The houses looked a lot like the outskirts of Palena, with tin roofs, generally rickety, dogs and trash outside.  All the people I asked for directions were kind, though utterly confused at what I was doing there and what I was looking for.

Therefore, Plan B: Dunkin’ Donuts.  Now, I’d had a great lunch earlier at a hippie vegetarian restaurant.  I’ve gotten more comfortable about eating in restaurants alone — I was reading somewhere recently that what’s hard about eating out alone isn’t being alone, it’s being seen alone, and I completely agree.  Anyway, for me the biggest drawback is you only order one thing, so you can’t taste other people’s meals.  But I did enjoy the “Nuevo México burrito“, which is more what I would call an enchilada, and wonderful.  And the mint lemonade reminded me of Haymarket, in Northampton.

So after a lunch of my comfort food, I found myself craving another American food I rarely consume in the US.  It must have been the enticing advertisements:

Here they are offering a “Capitán América” special, but the special inside had to do with the Chilean national soccer team (for the Copa America), including (at least in photos) donuts iced with the words “Chile” and “gol!”.  The donuts for sale inside where entirely filled, frosted, or both (including Boston Creme, with that name in English).  When I asked about chocolate glazed donuts, and the woman said they were out, but at least she understood my question; when I asked for unsweetened iced coffee, she brought out the manager.

You mean a Coolata?
No, just coffee, without the flavor.
Well, coffee is hot.
You have no iced coffee?
We can mix coffee with ice milk.
Can you put in ice?
Well, the ice is sweet.
The ice is sweet?!

Don’t worry, we were both laughing, him at this crazy gringa with her strange order, and me at the fact that this is Dunkin Donuts, I know for a fact this is something on the menu, except it turns out… not in Chile.  And of course, as a former coffee-shop employee myself, I understand what it’s like to have to deal with an annoying customer who wants some complicated customized drink that makes no sense and betrays an underlying illiteracy in coffee beverages — it’s just that what I’m asking for is iced coffee, people!  This country is even more addicted to sugar than the US (Coke, Fanta, Sprite…).  In the end, the concoction they gave me was sweet (though I’m sure less so than normal), and, unsatisfied, I got myself ice cream on the way back to Lucy and José’s, conveniently taking advantage of the otoño – invierno promoción [fall-winter special] of free whipped cream on the two-flavor size.  I chose cappuchino mousse and chocolate bitter.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    Sunday, July 24, 2011 11:47 pm

    Jealous! You’ve got Dunkin’ Donuts in Chile and we can’t even get it here in Arkansas? poo!

    • Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:15 pm

      Oh no! By the way Alison, I know it’s my turn to send you a letter, right? Coming soon, I swear!

  2. Jane Woodman permalink
    Monday, July 25, 2011 6:42 am

    mmm. Love all the adventures, the confusions, your willingness to go with the flow (not much choice really!) and, of course all the food talk. The bitter chocolate ice cream sounds like the same flavor we had in Buenos Aires, my personal favorite:) Have fun little Gringa xo

  3. David Russell permalink
    Monday, July 25, 2011 8:47 am

    I echo the comments of the previous writer. 🙂 Your posts are interesting always, and good luck! xoxo

  4. Eliza permalink
    Monday, July 25, 2011 7:51 pm

    Love these posts Margaret! The Dunkin Donuts story was too funny.

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