I believe that it is safe to say that the 18th of September and all of the associated brouhaha (with tip of the hat to the Beastie Boys and bonus points to you if you know what song I'm talking about) is finally over. Which makes sense given that it's the 21st of the month already. But when the fiestas patrias mega day of the 18th falls on a Friday, se alargan las fiestas (the party gets drawn out).
Traditionally, the 18th is the day you spend with family, playing games, and with the famous trompo (spinning top which you pull a string to make go), and drinking whatever it is you drink, and the 19th is more of a freeforall, with more family, friends, or ven a trot down to Parque O'Higgins for the Military Parade, or parada militar.
For those of you that don't know, and were thinking of makng fun of the last name O'Higgins, and wondering how it would be pronounced in Chile, don't because he's a national hero (General Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins), and o-jiyins, where j is that sound like in Chanukkah). Parque O'Higgins itself is not a lush, beautiful place filled with turtledoves and sweet smells. It's an urban park with a place to race-skate, a lagoon in which to go pedal boating, and giant parade grounds that's paved and turns into a flea market on the weekends, and lots of spots to have picnics in while you fight off the stray dogs and make sure to leave your trash behind. At least that's my experience of the park. Quinta Normal is another park that's slightly closer to me, somewhat smaller, and maybe a bit less trash-filled, but it didn't have the parada militar, so off we went to Parque O'Higgins, along with several tens of thousands of our closest friends. And by we, of course I also mean Margaret from Cachando Chile, because if I'm on a on a photo safari, there's a great chance that it's because we've made a plan to go somewhere. And so we had. And so we went.
There were pretty things:
and groundbreaking things:
this is, I believe, the largest group of women to march in the parade. Predictably, one of the comments I got on flickr was "nice legs." Which just goes to show you how far we've come.
Here's Michele Bachelet, the first female president of Chile, and she's saying hi to you right there.
This one on flickr I have titled swimming prohibited, diving in headfirst apparently ok
things that terrify me:
things that terrify me even more:
and a sweet girl who couldn't decide if she should smile or not when she passed me by on this spiffy pink bike that would make my niece want to come to Chile if she saw it, just so she could ride it, too. But she'd wear a pink helmet as well, of course.
We saw tons more stuff, of course, and it's impossible to condense a day into just a few pictures, and I didn't even show you the kites, or the trees or the kite-eating trees or the mountains or the flags, or the families or the crowds. But don't worry, you can catch them all here in the flickr album I've created just for this occasion.