What Chile Does Best

(Note: This post will be very photo heavy as my brain and body are practically pickeled from way too much wine and BBQs over the past week)

The month started with lots of work and beautiful weather – we instituted a new rule that on the weekends we had to go to the beach at least once (even though we live about 10 minutes from the beach in town we rarely make time to go) and started inviting friends down to fish and hang in Laguna. Luckily, the beach is usually empty and as it’s Chile, there are no rules prohibiting drinks (or rowdy gringos) on the beach.

Meanwhile, all of Chile started preparations for the Chilean Independence Day ‘ Las Fiestas Patrias’. A week-long party that culminates on the 18th of September every year, Las Fiestas Patrias are basically a celebration of all that is Chile which marks the beginning of the Chilean independence process from Spain.  Every municipality and pueblo hold ‘Fondas’ where party-goers enjoy the ‘Asado Chileno’ (Barbecue) and stuff themselves with meat, wine and ‘Terremotos’, a crazy homemade wine and pineapple ice cream concoction that produces the most wicked of hangovers. Kids and adults alike dress up in folkloric Chilean garb and dance the national dance the ‘Cueca’.

A typical sight during the ‘Fiestas Patrias’ – ‘Cueca dancing.

We invited a group of friends out from Santiago to stay for the weekend before the 18th to start the festivities. Get-togethers at our place usually consist of bbqs, wine and lazing around and while that’s usually a blast, this time we decided to do something a little healthier to get our blood flowing – a hike down to Playa Las Docas. We can see the beach from our house so we thought ‘why not, it can’t be that far away!’

Two and a half hours into the hike, we almost gave up and turned around, resigned to never finding the beach. After some thought in a green pasture we found (and beers to sustain us) we opted to keep going.

We found the beach about an hour later, hung there for an hour, and turned back around. The pasta salad we ate upon ariving home never tasted so good.

The following day our old friend Pedro and his family came out to Laguna for the first time. Pedro, our ‘pituto’ helped us with everything from finding our first apartment in Santiago to letting us use his bank account to make deposits right when we first arrived almost three years ago. A ‘pituto’ (connection) is indespensible as a foreigner here in Chile and Pedro is absolutely the best of all. Reconnecting with him and his wife and finally meeting his beautiful daughter was awesome.

For the 18th itself, we spent the day relaxing at a friend’s place in Con Con.

I’m usually a non meat-eater but I couldn’t resist this spread.

As if we hadn’t OD’d on meat products and wine yet, the day after the 18th we drove on over to our friend’s farm in Laguna Verde for another bbq. After planting corn and watering tomatoes in our shared garden, we got to cooking. This time our French neighbor played chef and put a decidedly French spin to the menu – a fresh herb, dijon and garlic rub on the Argentine meat. Yum.

We’re going to have another little neighbor very very soon.

Though the entire week was totally over-indulgent, I’d have it say it was our best ‘Fiestas Patrias’ yet thanks to the loads of friends we shared it with.

Now back to work (and the gym) this week!

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