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The Fleeting Qualities of Time, Beauty and Good Chocolate

The Fleeting Qualities of Time, Beauty and Good Chocolate

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Published by Andi Scanlan

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Published by: Andi Scanlan on May 04, 2012
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08/03/2014

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Andi ScanlanSayantani DasguptaEnglish 293Essay 126 September 2011
The fleeting qualities of time, beauty and good chocolate
We’re laughing. Overwhelmed, awestruck, and disbelieving. Angelene glances atme with a mischievous look. We carefully pull out the chocolates that we hadmeticulously selected from the wonderland of Mamuschka Chocolateria. Standing like a beacon on the corner, its colors obnoxiously alive juxtaposed against the cold grey near-winter of the rest of town, the chocolate shop had drawn us like a magnet. Above the twocheerily lit displays flanking the doorway was a row of slowly turning Russian dolls. Itmade me forget for a moment that we were in Patagonia; in my mind we had just slippedinto the warmth and escaped those bitter St. Petersburg winds. Within the red lacqueredwalls of the chocolate shop we each had chosen three tiny chocolates to carry with us onthe short afternoon hike.My teeth first break the dark chocolate with an audible snap, letting the richnesssink in, savoring the sharp bite of raw, bitter cocoa melded to the light touch of sweetmilk, melting it there on my tongue. Too quickly, the last sliver has disappeared. Next isdulce de leche and milk chocolate, the obvious choice for Argentina, where the worddessert (and the words candy, breakfast and snack, for that matter) is practicallyinterchangeable with “dulce de leche.” It is a delicious, tooth-achingly sweet milk-caramel that oozes out of the jar equally deliciously whether onto bread, ice cream,chocolate, or (most often for me) just a spoon. Although its finest incarnation stillremains its appearance atop that chocolate, eaten atop the mountain we had just scaled.
 
 Nearly groaning with pleasure from the delicious chocolate and the correspondinglydelicious scenery all around us, I pull out my third piece of chocolate. My pièce derésistance.“Angelene. Quick,” I grin, “take a picture, you’re never going to see this again.” Iraise it to my mouth, excessively pleased with my own cleverness. Sandwiched by awhisper of dark chocolate, the mint green center is delicately riddled by a few small pockets of air: a testament to its handcrafted background. I take a bite and squeal withtriumph, “Andi, in the Andes Mountains, eating an Andes candy! Too perfect!” It meltsin an instant. The shutter sounds in the midst of my laughter.I still recall the details. The picture comes alive with them. The grey and black speckled rocks, settled in the coarse sand that remains of their predecessors create a pleasant scratchy scuffing noise against the toes of my borrowed hiking boots. I bury mytoes in the sand and dig around with my hands. Even the sand feels more sandy here, theearth smells older. It sees this view everyday and is no longer impressed.It is a civilized wilderness, this one. A chairlift hums in the background along thehiking path, evidence of tourists with less calories and more money to burn than us. Andthe sun is everywhere. It bounces off the lakes that stretch out in front of us and off thecrystals in the rocks. The rays beat down and warm every inch of me. My back is hotwhile my cheeks are cold and pink from the hint of winter chill. That sun glints off everything, a sunbeam is captured on the film, I’m not alone in the frame.I love my messy hair. Hostelling for 3 days already has me feeling dirty and travelworn. I am a creature of plush terrycloth and hot showers, of hair dryers and mascara; I

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