Corrugated City

Tuesday 17 July 2007

Gus-Ta Thai Restaurant

The night before leaving for the Colchagua Valley, we were invited out by an American friend who is on a 2 year secondment with the US Navy in Chile. We'll call him "Mike" (because that's his name). Mike's a good source of information about various things. For example, we find out how it's common practice for boats to dump their raw sewage directly into the Valpo harbour (including some Chilean Naval boats). We also find out how lazy and incompetent the Chilean Navy is, compared to her US equivalent (but not compared to her Latin American neighbours). Security is almost non-existent, discipline is lacking and the officers are just on the gravy train, living an easy life. And woe behold anyone who upsets that train...Mike was recently reprimanded because he finished what was supposed to be 3 months work in a day and a half. He's been told he's not going to be given any more work because he makes the local officers look bad. As you can imagine, he's not a happy camper and is now bored out of his mind. Only a year and a half to go...

And the worst of it all is that he has to live in Viña de Mar. Mike likes Valpo and wants to live there. The US Embassy says he can't. The reasoning? Everyone in Valpo knows when the Navy is out having a laugh on the high seas and so it'd be easy for burglars to rob his house. Hmmmm...

So we went to a Thai restaurant in Viña. The restaurant is owned by an expat Canadian mining specialist so it's not just a Chilean Thai attempt. Overall, the food was pretty decent. The starter was really good-all deep fried prawn/crab toast, spring rolls, chicken and beef satay and a little salad-y thing. The main courses were also fairly good, although not very authentic. The green curry had a nice flavour but the consistency of the curry was a bit strange, almost like it had been watered down and the red curry was the same. You can order the food as hot as you like although the maximum "10" was still no more than a slightly spicy chickken korma in an Indian in England. Still, it tasted quite good and wasn't too expensive. In all, including a couple of beers, the starter and the main course it cost around 10,000 pesos (us$20) a head.

Gus-ta is on 4 Poniente and 6 Norte (Viña has weird street names that confuse the hell out everyone until you're on the ground walking around-then they make some sort of sense). Slightly recommended, especially for the starters.

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