Friday, September 26, 2014

It's All About the Red, White and Blue in Chile, too!!!!

Hey all,

Sorry about missing last week.  As I mentioned, our internet was down and it was just fixed on Wednesday.  Apparently there was something disconnected down in the bowels of the hotel and it took forever for them to find it.

But they did, and now we're up and going again.  I can get online AND upload pics for the blog, which is what prevented me before.

Anyway, today's blog is about the really interesting time we had during the Chilean Independence Day holidays that take place on September 18th and 19th.  Actually, this country is sooooo into their independence activities, they sometimes start on Monday and go through the whole of the week!

This year's holiday fell on a Thursday and Friday, so that made it even better for the locals.  Many of them wound up with a four day weekend.  Cirque didn't even bother trying to put on shows on the 18th and 19th.  Everyone is so busy out celebrating, they knew no one would come to the performance!!!!!

Awesome for us because we had the two days off and we had a wonderful time seeing everything.  It was very different in some ways than what we do in the USA, but in other ways, it was a lot the same.  The celebrations may have been dissimilar, but the family get togethers--picnics and BBQs in the park--they were very much the same.  People hanging together and enjoying the day.

Thursday the 18th is the actual Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day) celebration.  This day celebrates the beginning of the war that freed Chile from Spanish rule.  You can read the particulars HERE.  Like we do in the states, there are festivities, parades and celebrations all over town.  Here is Santiago, you could find a party in almost every park in the city.  We went to two of them.  One on each day.

Thursday's park was where they was this HUGE exhibition, rodeo, arts and crafts fair, carnival and enough wonderful food and drink, you never wanted to leave.  We went because I was curious about what a Chilean rodeo was like (see HERE for info on that), but we stayed because that was just a part of the fun!  But it's easier to show you than tell you, so here are some pics of our day.

 The main reason I wanted to go to this park celebration was the rodeo.  Since I used to do some myself, I was curious as to what the Chilean's did.  And I discovered it's very different than ours.  Read the above Wikipedia info on it.  Here two riders guide the steer.  The horses are just amazing.  And the skill...I was very impressed.

This shows you some of the different chamantos (ponchos) the Huasos (cowboys) wear.  Each pair of riders wore the same colors. 

A lot of the crowd wore the traditional outfits and dancing broke out in different places.  It was a lot of fun to watch.

They also had a stage where they did a bunch of folk dancing.  The crowd was insane, but we enjoyed watching what we could.

Did I mention the amazing food?  Check these pics out...

A side of beef over an open fire.  Totally YUM!!!

 Of course once it's cooked, they make these brochettes.  Meat, peppers, bread and sausage.  They are huge and delicious.

And for desert, you can have your pic of sweets.  A huge assortment of candy...

Or, freshly made churros. With powdered sugar or stuffed with dulce leche.  Both so very good!!!

One of the performances.  The dance of the condor. 

Jonathon just liked the girls.  LOL

And finally, at the carnival, remember the old standard ring toss?  Well they do it right here in Chile.  Here they toss for alcohol!  Awesome!!!!

Then on Friday, we went to a different park.  O'Higgens, where they also had a festival, but because September 19th is what we would call Armed Forces day, they had several hours of military parades and displays.  And I have to say it was pretty impressive.  They had fly-overs by just about every kind of plane you can imagine.  Paratroopers that landed in the field before the actual parade started and then line upon line of every kind of soldier you can imagine.  And not just Chilean, either.  There were soldiers from other countries and even the UN.  There were military machines, calvery troops and even canines and their handlers.  It was pretty cool.

This park was were everyone flew their kites, which is another thing EVERYONE does on this holiday.  Seriously, I've never seen so many kites in the air.  And in the trees.  Remember the kite eating trees of Charlie Brown's cartoons?  Well, they are alive and well in Santiago, Chile.

But, again, so much easier to show you than write about it.  Here are some of the fun things we saw on this part of the holiday.

The entrance to the exhibition area.  Bright and colorful.

Music went on all day long.  This band, called Tikitiklip, showed native legends on the video while they sang the accompanying songs.  Very cool performance.

Food and wine Chilean style.

One of the traditional drinks here in Chile and a new favorite.  The Terremoto (earthquake).  Sweet white wine (or some vendors offered red), poured over pineapple ice cream/sherbet, then topped with grenadine.  Add a floater of vodka or tequila if you want.  Delicious!!!!!!

Part of the airshow.  Really beautiful to see all the planes in the air.

As I mentioned.  Lots of kids and kites.  These pics don't do it justice.  The sky was FILLED with kites.

Since I'm a dog lover, I enjoyed watching this part of the parade.  I was surprised when I didn't see dobermans and rottweilers.  Mostly German shepherds, Retrievers and Labradors.

There were at least a dozen horse brigades on parade.  The animals were so very beautiful and the riders so proud.

One of the many, many units on parade here.  There were over 150 different commands for the public to see and appreciate.

And of course, what's a parade without a band?  There were several here all playing traditional music for the holiday.

Even the UN showed off their stuff.  These vehicles were something right out of the movies.

A look at the huge crowd that filled the park.  And this was only on the grass.  Trying to get through the food vendors to the exit was crazy!

So you can see, it was a busy and totally fun two day holiday.  I love seeing how other cultures celebrate and this was one of the best we've done.  We had a blast, so much fun in fact, we came home and told everyone else about it so they could go out and do it themselves!  LOL

I may miss the USA, but at least here in Chile, I was able to have a taste of what I remember doing on our own 4th of July holiday.  They may celebrate it a bit differently down here, but I promise you, the fun, pride and respect for their past is very much the same.

Until next week...

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

Thanks for sharing this CJ! I do enjoy reading and seeing your adventures!

Ray said...

What a beautiful elaborate celebration.
South Americans and Europeans know how to celebrate. Other than mass produced spectacles we don't have anything like it in the US. At least we don't anyplace I have been.

O'Higgins is a name I heard everywhere I went. Interesting that he is celebrated as a hero of the Revolution, but as he tried to bring in reforms as the countries leader he had fewer and fewer friends in high places offending the church, landowners and business owners. How many of our revered heroes are tarnished if you know the real story?

CJ England said...

You're welcome, Phylis. I love sharing. It's like getting to experience it twice!

CJ England said...

I think you're right, Ray. I'm not sure many of our "heroes" would stand up to that type of scrutiny. Most are just regular people trying to do the best they can.

It's the power hungry ones that are so painful to learn about. I've seen plenty of them in my travels and it breaks my heart every time.