Fiestas Patrias! Chilean Independence Day!
So since my last post I have celebrated a lot here in Chile – Sept. 18th (dieciocho) is Chilean Independence Day and so I got a day off work on Monday Sept. 19th AND my birthday was Tuesday Sept. 20th. Life has been good.
A lot of people leave Santiago for the holiday weekend (to be honest, a lot of people leave the city on the weekends throughout the year because there are so many cool places within a few hours). Independence Day here is not too unlike the 4th in the US – lots of cookouts (asados) and trips to the beach. So my diesiocho celebrations began the weekend before (naturally) with a pre-18th asado at my co-worker Paula’s house. While Brazilians and Argentinians are better known for their carnivorous eating habits, do not underestimate the Chileans! The vast amounts of carne (meat) at this asado were no joke! The food was delicious, the Chilean wine flowing, the weather warm, the outdoor backyard patio setting serene and the company wonderful. All in all, a really fun and nice night.
Fast forward through the busy week… (I managed to submit and get approval for my thesis project design!)
I had a relatively unplanned weekend which turned out really fun. Friday after getting off work early and having a small asado and cueca dancing at work (more on that to come in my GPMBA blog), I met up with a friend of a friend (shout out to Sarah to whom I owe a few friends and my place of residence!) so my gringa compadre Annie and I went with some new Chilean friends to a fonda at the Estadio Nacional. What is a fonda you ask? Well… it’s a festival, sort of. More reminded me of a fair / rodeo complete with those temporary rides that look like they can and may collapse at any moment and those games (like ring toss) that no one ever wins! The name “fonda” is only used for these festivals during September though. (I think this blog shows/explains it well) So Friday night was fun, but a word of warning for anyone who ever comes to Santiago — they have this drink that is delicious and especially prevalent this time of year called a “terremoto” — it has pineapple icecream and a sweet wine (apparently along with a plethora of different liquors… thus the reason of the name: it means “earthquake”). That’s all for the terremotos…
Saturday I got up and met a group of coworkers at the W Hotel (central meeting spot) and we went to an artisan town about 40 miles west of Santiago. Pomaire, the Clay Village, is a small, dusty town with tons of shops and lots of clay pottery. If I had a good way to get some of it home, I probably would have bought some because it’s really nice and fairly inexpensive. So we had a group of about 14 and had a long, delicious meal (I shared a parilla of more carne as well as tried one of the huge half-kilo empanadas that Pomaire is known for) then shopped before returning to Santiago. Saturday evening a group of us tried to go to a couple fondas — unsuccessfully. It was actually pretty comical how the evening progressed: First we tried to go to Chimkowe where a popular band Churizo Salvaje was playing, but it was sold out even though we only got there like an hour after it started. That is early for Chileans. So we tried to go to Parque Intercomunal for one of the biggest fondas in Santiago, only to get there as it was closing because it’s a family-oriented fonda only open during the day. So, we gave up and did the most customary Chilean Fiestas Patrias thing we could — went to the Terrace at the W Hotel! (que gringo!) It’s actually beautiful and we had some delicious food and Chilean wine there.
So along came Sunday… mas carne! haha Annie and I went to another asado at Cerro San Cristobal (remember, the giant hill to see the whole city?) with more people I met through my friend Sarah. Afterwards, we opted out of a really awesome fonda at a trendy bar called The Clinic because it had a very expensive entrance fee and instead went to a friend’s apartment where I got to watch the Falcons-Eagles game! I think I was the only one really paying attention, but it was a great game and even though my fantasy team took a loss partially because Vick got hurt and my competition had Turner who had a great game, I’ll take it for a home team win! 🙂 By Monday I was exhausted and didn’t do much during the day, however Monday evening was the Military Parade to the Escuela Militar very near my house. My roommate’s brother is in the military academy and was in the parade so Nico (who got back in town just in time) and I went to watch him march!
The rest of the week was back to work and my birthday! I was not very organized so it was a low key birthday — a nice lunch with coworkers, then drinks at one of my favorite places I’ve found so far — Bar Liguria. Wednesday was celebration part deux at Whiskey Blue bar at the W Hotel, which is also a pretty fun and cool spot.
So after a couple really fun and busy weeks, I’m taking it easy this weekend in hopes of heading to the beach — to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso — next weekend!
Enjoy the photos!