I visited Santiago, Chile for the first time twelve years ago as the gateway to my first South American adventure. American Airlines was running a promotion that gave a free international round-trip ticket anywhere in the world that the airline flew in exchange for buying a round-trip ticket to Florida and California. I did a weekend trip with my roommate Nick to Fort Lauderdale and then I must have visited my sister in California (because she’s the only person I knew in California at the time). When redeeming, I chose the destination that American flew furthest away from Boston, Massachusetts where I was living which turned out to be Santiago. I spent a few days exploring Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina del Mar and the Cajon del Maipo — of which Santiago I found the least interesting; I didn’t see much personality in it. I continued elsewhere throughout Chile and Argentina having decided there was nothing I need come back for in Santiago. I did return though and this time around, though it was just for 11 days, it felt like a lot longer. Nothing much has changed including my rather offensive opinion that Santiago doesn’t have much going for it from a travelling gringo perspective. It’s […]
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Rapa Nui

by Reid Peryam· April 22, 2016· in Oceania, Travel· 0 comments
Isla de Pascua (AKA Easter Island or Rapa Nui in the native language) has been a travel destination of mine ever since I was young. The large, mysterious moai statues are the most iconic and unique artifacts I have ever seen. Adding to the splendor is the surprising lack of tourists and a fascinating, intact native culture. When you step off of the plane it feels as though you are entering a really interesting, special place so isolated from anywhere else. The geography and climate of the island is also unique — dry, temperate with palm trees, grasses and rocky coastline. The color of the ocean — beautiful. A deep, dark royal cobalt that perhaps must only occur in such isolated parts of the south pacific — no debris, dirt grass or beach muddies it. To me it mirrors the mystery and intrigue of the island it surrounds. It is really easy to imagine how life existed 500 hundred years previously owing to how undeveloped the island is and accessible to exploration. I spent four days on Rapa Nui exploring in a rental car I shared with a French Canadian and Argentine couple I met at the bed and breakfast […]
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Bolivia is one of those places that had succeeded in escaping my conceptualization. As such I wanted to visit. Back in December on a cold night in Seoul Korea, I was flipping channels on TV and came across a Korean television program featuring Bolivia. The hosts of the show demonstrated the diverse geography spanning the entire country as well as ethnicity, history (modern and ancient, even pre-Inca) and cultures. They visited deserts, lakes, mountains; the showcased diversity blew my mind and immediately I made mental preparations to visit once I was in South America. It was a great decision. Bolivia is the rugged, authentic and low-touristed South American destination adventurists crave. There is no shortage of adventures in the Bolivian Amazon jungle, national forests, salt flats, deserts, mountains. History intellectuals will love learning of historic roots and stories. To me Bolivia has come to represent a Northern variation Patagonia. The city that I spent 13 days in, La Paz, is co-captial of the country and houses the executive and legislative branches of the government. It is also 4,000 meters above sea level (more than doubling Denver, Colorado’s brag of “The Mile High City”) — this is the Two Mile High City or at least […]
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Montevideo was a nice come down from the paradise of Buenos Aires and Palermo. Less glamorous, a little dodgy (I witnessed a knife fight and a purse snatching on the same day) but with a funky-cool vibe and interesting neighborhoods all the same. There’s a hipster-friendly mix of graffiti and desolation among the buildings comprising Old Town — the neighborhood looks like the set of Omega Man — a post-apocalyptic wasteland featuring trees growing from the sides of buildings that seem like a few decades back they were rather nice. A handsomely-masoned  building for the Bank of Uruguay sits across the street from an abandoned parking lot (?) lined with street art. There’s even a beautiful church with a single side of exposed brick beneath a snowy white paint that has the effect of a decaying underbelly. The neighborhood dogs are photogenic. But Monte has a more modern and charming side as well and a shore called the Rambla that locals stroll down or alongside in the sand. After Southeast Asia the beaches aren’t so grand – but in opposition to the knifey dark side of Old Town they are no less appealing. Even further North, up the coast of Uruguay from […]
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Ahh Mendoza. Malbec, steak, olive oil and endless, rolling hills of scenic views of the Andes. I wouldn’t know — I spend 5 days in Mendoza city which is, let me tell you, not nearly as cool as the surrounding countryside, villas, estancias or wineries. Such is the price I choose to pay while working during my travelling (instead of travelling to be on vacation). That being said I still had a really fun, adventurous time looking at stuff. My typical modus operandi when landing in a new place involves “hey I wonder what thing on the map is. I better go look at it.” I’ll get side tracked four or five times, probably lost and hungry. Eventually I’ll get to the destination either to be underwhelmed or excited about something else to venture to. I also end up discovering and solving a lot of micro mysteries. I think of them as micro mysteries because they are insignificant and only really mysteries to someone such as myself who has no idea what is going on or why something is happening. Para exemplo : “Why is there a line 100 people long outside of this store that looks sort of like a tiny […]
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I visited Córdoba because I had no idea what I would find there. Places like this are my favorite (cp Bucharest, Belgrade, Ljulbljana). I spend four days over a weekend here in Argentina’s second largest city after Buenos Aires, exploring and conceptualizing. I found something a little different from other destinations I’ve so far cataloged across Europe and Asia. As in Buenos Aires the spaces, blocks and buildings are broad instead of tall (ancho, no alto) but less so pronounced in Cordoba than in BA. Since the largest universities in Argentina are in Córdoba, you see a lot of young people when walking through town. This gives it an energetic, diverse personality. On a stroll through a park I witnessed a rock climbing class, runners, BMX mountain bikers, Crossfitters and even a guy doing some pretty advanced static jumps with his mountain bike. Crazy! So much for my previous inclination that Argentinians have a predisposition to be lazy. Just as in Buenos Aires, Córdoba has great night life, restaurants and venues on par with any cool neighborhood in the United States. Also as in Palermo it is easy to forget you are not in the United States at times. Especially with being able to speak Spanish, the […]
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South American summer has been a welcome change from 4 months in Asia. Ubiquitous beef has been an appreciated perk and during the month of February I’ve managed to average over one steak a day. My favorite cut is the bief de chorizo aka sirloin. An under appreciated cut in my opinion overshadowed by the more celebrated tenderloin, filet mignon or ribeye. Cheaper, with more fat and flavor (even if less tender) — a cheaper to boot. What’s not to love? Along with the beef I did my best to savor Malbec at every opportunity and did a 4 day trip to Mendoza to find it at its most authentic, local origin (and also McDonald’s). I spent most of the month of February living in Palermo, Buenos Aires, a posh neighborhood with restaurants, cafes and gringo tourists. There is a lot of graffiti and ‘street art’ and it’s not always entirely clear which is which. I started learning Spanish for the first time in my life. Five friends and I were together in a class with our sexy Argentinian teacher, Mariela, with classes twice a week. Surprisingly I love learning Spanish and hope to continue my learning during the next four months here in […]
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The transition from Asia to South America afforded a new personal record for flight time – 40 hours of travel time spanning 4 flights : Tokyo->Hong Kong, Hong Kong -> New York, New York->Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo->Rio; it would have been a little shorter but my flight from New York to Rio was cancelled. Surprisingly it wasn’t so bad – the white noise of an airplane cabin is perfect for working (until your laptop battery expires). I had never been to Brazil before and in order to visit I had to venture to the Brazilian consulate in Nagoya, Japan, pay $220 and fill out some paper work. The visa is good for the next 10 years so I am excited to make further use of it. One thing I learned in my short trip to Rio is just how immense Brazil is (200 million people and a land area comparable to the United States); many varied ethnicities and regional cultures as well as geographies. My short 5 days in Rio served as an aperitif to the rest of Brazil. I stayed in Ipanema, between Leblon and Copacabana for most of my time. The last night I moved to an AirBnb in […]
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Kyoto, Japan

by Reid Peryam· January 31, 2016· in Asia, Travel· 0 comments
Japan was the destination I have been most excited for over the past year. I’ve never been and from this American’s perspective everything about it seemed modern, unique and interesting. Kyoto contradicted my expectations. This city is hundreds of years older than the United States of America and based more on tradition more than the glitzy, crazy and humorous depictions publicized by western media. In fact I’ll go so far as to say things here in Kyoto are sort of Vanilla but I’ll stipulate that vanilla is one of my favorite flavors. The culture here is subdued, passive and extremely introverted. The city itself is far from the hyper-modern society I had (unfairly) expected (in ironic contrast to Seoul) — and really hangs its hat on the impressive array of historic monuments, temples, gardens and sites surrounding it. They are certainly wonderful to behold. I have never been to a place whose architecture is so strikingly, naturally beautiful, distinct and also unique within its style. This is a place where OCD can be at peace — the historical styles are classic and beautifully aesthetic. It is easily the most photogenic of destinations I have ever visited. I can stand or sit and simply stare at […]
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Tokyo, Japan

by Reid Peryam· January 31, 2016· in Asia, Travel· 0 comments
In stark contrast to traditional Kyoto is modern, bustling Tokyo which embodies all of the western stereotypes of modern Japanese culture. Pachinko parlors, slot machines, video games, omnipresent karaoke, Godzilla — all here. When my friend Kevin and I ventured to Tokyo for five days though our favorite thing ended up being a small jazz bar called JBS (Jazz, Blues, Soul) operated by an older gentleman named Mr. Kobyashi. He serves top shelf Japanese whiskey for $4 dollars (comparable to a 16- 18 year old stateside). It only holds 10 people — most of the space is made to accommodate a very impressive vinyl record collection (10,000+) of jazz, blues and soul. We asked Mr. Kobyashi if there is an album he doesn’t own. He says “Two Headed Freap” by Ronnie Foster. We spend the subsequent day attempting to locate it in used vinyl stores in different neighborhoods around Tokyo to no avail. When I return to Tokyo next I will be bringing a copy of Two Headed Freap for Mr. Kobyashi.        
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