Okay. So September 18th and 19th in Chile are called Fiestas Patrias or el Dieciocho (Spanish for 'eighteen'). The 18th marks the beginning of Chilean War of Independence (from Spain) and the 19th is el Día de las Glorias del Ejército which celebrates the military. Many people choose to celebrate the Fiestas Patrias by going to a fonda. And that is exactly what I did. Fondas are temporary venues, usually large tents (not the camping type) where Chilean food and drinks are served. Some are free and others have cover charges. Parque O'Higgins has some of the largest fondas in all of Chile.
So today Josh, his friend Cristian, and I met at Parque O'Higgins to get our fonda on. Be prepared for a bombardment of pictures.
This was outside the park, by the metro. Already tons of people. Though of course, this photo doesn't do it justice.
Many children and their families gathered in the field to fly kites. Of course it was a bit overcast and you really can't see all the kites.
It was a bit windy so some kites ended up in the kite grave yard.
Today there was a military parade celebrating the Armed Forces of Chile. There were an insane number of people trying to watch. Every time I was in a spot to see like a sliver of the parade, a parent would put their small child on their shoulders and completely block my view. I eventually gave up and just put my camera in the air and hoped for a decent shot.
Some smart people climbed the nearby trees to get a better look.
This is what I was actually able to see during the parade. Oh, the joys of being 5 foot 3.
Okay, so this next guy was quite entertaining. He was visibly drunk and stumbling around all over the place. Then he fell. And decided just to chill out on the ground in between all these people. After break time was over, he got up and almost got into a fight with a group of people (he tried to take their soda).
Next came the airplanes. Those other specks in the sky are kites.
After the planes and the parade we started to make our way into the park to find the fondas. But first we stumbled upon this little guy. I think the tassels really bring out the color in his eyes.
Everywhere you turned vendors were selling alcohol. There are a few popular Chilean drinks. The first is a terremoto (literally 'earthquake' in Spanish). A terremoto is on the list of things I don't ever want to try because I'm too damn picky. Anyway, a terremoto is made with wine and pineapple ice cream. Here's Cristian and his terremoto.
Other popular drinks are wine, pisco, and chicha. Chicha is a very (sickeningly) sweet wine. These vendors were selling wine from some incredibly large barrels.
Some people took drinking a little too far. This poor fellow obviously drank too much. He decided to stop and take a nap right in the middle of the main pathway.
So up until now, based on my pictures, you really can't fathom how many people were celebrating today at Parque O'higgins. So here you go, in all its panic-attack inducing glory.
All those people sure do produce a whole lot of trash. I guess the organizers had the right intentions.
However I think I saw about three trash cans. So people did this instead:
This next guy was just hanging out in the middle of everything. Not sure exactly what Jesus has to do with the independence of Chile, but whatever! Cristian gave him some coins to strike this pose.
These next pictures make the vegetarian side of me cry just a little bit. Chileans really love their meat. If the stalls weren't selling alcohol they were selling meat. And lots of it.
Choripán is super popular. Its name is a portmanteau of its ingredients: grilled chorizo and pan (bread). Everywhere you looked they were selling choripanes. Other popular options were anticuchos (grilled beef kebabs), something that looked like chicken, and empanadas.
This stall was one we saw on our way out. They were selling something called sándwich de potito. Want to know what one of the main ingredients is? Intestines. It looked almost as horrible as it sounds.
As everyone was starting to get hungry we looked for a place to eat. I think we tried to get into four fondas before we finally found this one. The others were either out of food (seriously!) or there were no tables.
Here's Josh, me and Cristian getting our fill of empanadas and anticuchos (I passed on those).
There is a saying here in Chile: Los viejos querían pasar agosto. It has to do with the weather. And old people. August is a weird month, as it's the end of winter and the start of spring. So you get that strange inconsistent weather that causes many people to get sick. So the old folks want August to pass without getting some life-threatening cold (or something like that, I don't really remember how my coworker explained it).
So anyway, there was a point to that. I saw this little cartoon floating around on Facebook.
You should know that vacas are cows, Septiembre is September (you probably could have figured that one out yourselves) and seeing how Fiestas Patrias are in September lots of cows get eaten.